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August 24, 2009

Rick Bornemann to Head Ethan Allen Institute

The Ethan Allen Institute, long associated with former news commentator and former legislator John McClaughry, has a new president and chief executive officer.

RIck Bornemann, a former utilities executive and lobbyist, will take the helm of the 16-year-old free market think tank next month, according to a release from the institute this afternoon.

Earlier this year McClaughry announced he would step down as the organization's chief, but plans to remain on as vice president.

Bornemann was born and raised in Connecticut and is an economics graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts. He returns to New England after a 25-year career in the nation’s capital.

Beginning  as a legislative aide to an Oregon Congressman, he served as a legislative  affairs representative for what is now the Nuclear Energy Institute. He became a vice president of United Illuminating (a Connecticut public utility), and then of Kansas City Southern Industries (a Midwestern railway holding company). He was most recently a strategist and lobbyist for Government Strategies Inc., a Washington government relations firm, according to the EAI release.

During his career in Washington, Bornemann specialized in business, tax and regulatory issues, with a special focus on economic development, transportation and energy.

“I’m delighted to have been selected to lead EAI to a higher level of  activity and influence, as well as to return to my native New England," said Bornemann in the statement. “Vermont is a state of great beauty, a high quality of life, and good people. If we can couple those assets with sound public policies that lead to  greater economic opportunity and prosperity, it can become a model for the nation."

EAI board chairman James Gatti said Bornemann's appointment is exciting for the organization.

"The Board is excited to have found a new CEO who is principled, experienced and enthusiastic about advancing our mission of educating Vermonters to better understand the fundamentals of a free society," said Gatti.

EAI founder and current president McClaughry will continue indefinitely in the post of vice president.

“Rick Bornemann will be a great  asset to EAI and to the state of Vermont. Bringing him on board as an energetic new leader will make the institute ever more influential in our state’s policy  debates," said McClaughry.

Bornemann, 53, has several special interests including antique British sports cars and theater.

He plans to meet EAI’s members at meetings around the state in the coming months.

McClaughry told Seven Days earlier this year that his retirement from EAI has been in the works for some time. In fact, he first approached the institute’s board with the idea three years ago. He hoped to make an announcement by the end of 2007.

At the time, they interviewed several candidates, but opted not to offer the job to any of them. They relaunched a national search this year.

They whittled the applicant pool down to four finalists — three from out of state and one from in state. In May, the board chose Bornemann.

Note to Rick: Vermont already is a model for the nation.

Must be a slow news cycle for this press release to get so much attention. Big whup.

Verrryy slow news cycle—nothing to cover but tea parties, Ethan Allen and Westboro Baptist Church folks. Don't you know August is the cruelest month for reporters? Ha!

Speaking for myself, posting a short item on the announcement was only a mere folo to the story I wrote several weeks ago about John McClaughry's "retirement".

Though, I will admit it did get more attention that I expected.

Shay - You could have told us a little something about the connections. Anything we should know about the congressman he worked for? Or the Nuclear Energy Institute, United Illuminating, or Kansas City Southern Industries? And who are / were the clients at Government Strategies, Inc.?

I really don't care about his interest in antique British sports cars but the other stuff may be important.

Doug. You're right. I'm working on it. Unfortunately, this hit while I'm on deadline and have less time to do research. More to come. Good stuff, too. Thanks.

Rick Bornemann is a criminal. He was fined by the SEC for illegally funneling funds to Tom Delay. Rick, get the fook out of Vermont, you right wing flake!

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