Ethan Allen Institute


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About Us

    The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont's free-market public policy research and education organization - a "think tank" for issues affecting Vermonters.

    Founded in 1993, it is one of some 56 similar but independent state-level, free-market-oriented public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

Listen to our Audio Introduction                   Plus:
 Staff and Board of Directors
 Advisory Council
 How You Can Help
 EAI Tenth Anniversary Interview (pdf)
Vermont Business Magazine, November 2003

    What We Stand For

    Life in Vermont has changed a great deal since the stirring days of the 1770s, but the principles of government adopted by the Vermonters of Ethan Allen's day continue to be enshrined in the Vermont Constitution - America's oldest, still in force since 1786. Among these principles are -

    Liberty - freedom from coercion and tyranny, freedom to contract and exchange, and the opportunity to choose one's own path toward individual growth and dignity, consistent with the need to preserve the liberties of others.

    Property - the great human right upon which is founded our free economic system and which, widely distributed and jealously protected, secures the independence of the people.

    Community - the importance of preserving Vermont's democratically-governed communities, characterized by shared traditions and values, compassion for the needy, and the opportunity for all to fully participate as contributing citizens.

    Frugality - economy in public expenditure, by government ever mindful of the burdens imposed on its taxpayers, and efficient in the use of human and material resources.

    Our Mission

    The mission of the Institute is to influence public policy in Vermont by helping its people to better understand and put into practice the fundamentals of a free society: individual liberty, private property, competitive free enterprise, limited government, strong local communities, personal responsibility, and expanded opportunity for human endeavor.

    What We Focus On

    The Institute's areas of interest include -

    Vermont's economic future, particularly the vitality and diversity of its competitive free enterprise sector.
    The fiscal practices and condition of state government - taxation, spending, and borrowing.
    State and local regulatory practices, and their effect on the economy and the rights of the people.
    The improvement of education for all Vermont children, and particularly the expansion of competition and choice for all.
    The preservation of free, accountable, democratic government, where public decisions are made at the level as close as possible to the people themselves.
    The strengthening of Vermont community and family life, and the protection of local government from burdensome and costly mandates.
    Respect for Vermont's constitution and opposition to judicial activism.

    How We Advance Our Ideas

    The Institute advocates for its principles and stimulates public debate by -

  • Publishing biweekly commentaries on current issues in many Vermont daily and weekly newspapers
  • Presenting occasional commentaries on Vermont Public Radio
  • Offering useful new public policy ideas:
    • Vermont Medisave
    • Educational Freedom District
    • Citizen Initiative
    • Private Property Protection Act
    • Expanding Parental Choice in Education
  • Hosting Common Sense Radio with Rob Roper weekdays at 11:00 on WDEV
  • Sponsoring the Energy Education Project (
  • Hosting the Vermont Transparency site (
  • Issuing timely, useful and dependable reports on current state issues, and impartial analyses of key legislative proposals
  • Sponsoring Legislative Roundtables in the State House, to illuminate current issues for legislators.
  • Publishing an informative newsletter for members, also circulated to media and key opinion leaders
  • Sponsoring conferences and debates on current issues
  • Encouraging public understanding and debate through media and speaking appearances
  • Serving as a catalyst and clearing house for like-minded organizations
  • Maintaining an Internet web page with Institute commentaries and proposals, and links to similar organizations around the country
  • How We Are Organized

    The Ethan Allen Institute is a independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization governed by an 8-member board of directors, and its programs are reviewed by an Advisory Council composed of Vermonters from many walks of life.

     Rob Roper is the President. He is a long time marketing and advertising writer and consultant, and for the past year has hosted EAI’s Common Sense Radio program on Radio Vermont.

    John McClaughry is vice president. He founded the Institute in 1993 and served as its President until August 2009. He is a former member of the Vermont House and Senate and was Senior Policy Advisor in President Reagan's White House.

    The Institute is a 501(c)(3) educational organization, contributions to which are tax deductible for individuals and corporations.

    The Institute does not solicit or accept funds from governments, or engage in legislative lobbying or political campaigns.

    How You Can Help

    Click HERE to find out how you can join or support the Institute.