JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Century Foundation’s creation was announced this week by Gregg Keller, principal at Atlas Strategies. The group is a Missouri-based 501c4 public policy organization — political nonprofit group — that will be dedicated to advancing free-market initiatives in state government to help ensure the health of our state’s economy throughout the 21st century.
“I was having dinner with two of my great friends and two of Missouri and the country’s top free market political professionals: Rich Chrismer and Jim Gwinner,” Keller said. “We were commenting, specifically, on how it’s simply beyond belief that a state as conservative as Missouri would even consider expanding a program like Obamacare in our state. It’s a horrible program that’s kicked millions of Americans off their health care and the financial implications of expanding Obamacare have been dire in other states. Yet Obamacare expansion came dangerously close to becoming a reality last cycle and now our opponents are taking another run at it. We thought that we could add a common sense, free market voice to the conversation and that’s what we’re doing.”
Mike Hafner and Holly Gogel will be joining Keller at the Missouri Century Foundation.
“One of our team members who we’re most excited about is our head of Government Relations, Mike Hafner, who’s been a fixture in Missouri public policy for years,” Keller said. “Mike will be at the Capitol advocating with policy makers and their staff on the issues we care most about in 2015: stopping Obamacare expansion, protecting Missourians’ rights to assemble and associate and reforming public sector unions.”
“In addition to Board members Rich Chrismer and Jim Gwinner and head of GR Mike Hafner, we’re joined at MCF by our Policy Analyst, Holly Gogel,” Keller continued. “Holly is a former legislative director in the Capitol and a Mizzou law grad. Holly will be working with our team to ensure that our research materials and background papers are an accurate reflection of how dangerous, for example, expanding Obamacare will be to our state. She’s a rising star and one of the sharpest young lawyers conservatives have in this state and we’re lucky to have her.”
Keller told The Missouri Times that MCF is already fielding requests from groups in other states and nationally to weigh in on various issues.
“We’re telling those folks that we are focused like a laser in 2015 on advocating on issues in the Missouri legislature like Obamacare expansion,” Keller said. “While it’s flattering that our opinions are being sought on other issues, we’re going to be very disciplined about what we decide to engage on.”
Keller’s background is in campaigns and political consulting, and he says the organization will not allow him to lose focus at Atlas Strategies.
“The level of staff talent at MCF is as high as any statewide campaign, and I’ve worked on a few of those,” Keller said. “So I’ll spend a lot of time on MCF but still have time to work on other projects, political and corporate. Atlas Strategy’s first year was extremely successful, crafting winning strategies for our corporate and political clients. I’m looking forward to the company continuing to grow.”
Keller has formerly served as the Executive Director of the American Conservative Union, National Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, National Coalitions Director on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, campaign manager on the U.S. Senate campaign of Sen. Jim Talent
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.