LI Grad of the Week: President of New Mexico think tank

August 8, 2011, Arlington, VA—Paul Gessing, president of New Mexico’s free market think tank—the Rio Grande Foundation—is the Leadership Institute’s Graduate of the Week.
“LI has been a big part of my success within the free market/conservative movement,” Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing said. “LI gives some of the best training in politics, public policy, and campaigns of anyone (regardless of ideology) in the nation.”

The Rio Grande Foundation is “a research institute dedicated to increasing liberty and prosperity for all of New Mexico's citizens. We do this by informing New Mexicans of the importance of individual freedom, limited government, and economic opportunity,” their website says.

A native from Ohio, Paul moved to the Washington, D.C. area to work in public policy in 1997.  He recalls, “I was a liberal when I came to DC, but through self-reflection and a lucky connection with a Ron Paul staffer, [I] became much more liberty-minded.”

Paul spent most of his professional career in DC working in government affairs at the National Taxpayers Union; however, after 8.5 years in DC he was ready to move on.  “There happened to be a think tank leadership opening in New Mexico, which I took since I had significant family in the Albuquerque area,” Paul said.

Paul has attended 6 trainings at the Leadership Institute. They include: Internet Activist Workshop; On-Camera Television Workshop; Public Speaking Workshop 2; Public Speaking Workshop; Grassroots Communications Workshop; and another Public Speaking Workshop in 2004.

When asked how LI trainings have helped him, Paul said, “I’ve always been a good writer and have never struggled putting ideas on paper, but public speaking and on-camera speaking were never my strengths.  I learned how to be much more poised and use [LI] techniques to make my points stronger. These techniques helped me interview for my current job and help me very day as I attempt to communicate the message of liberty to a New Mexico audience.”

“The Leadership Institute is the granddaddy of conservative training organizations,” Paul said. “If you ever want to run for office, work for a political campaign, volunteer for a candidate, or want to maximize your effectiveness in working with a political party, be sure to attend [one of their trainings].”

We welcome Paul Gessing as LI’s Grad of the Week!  Thank you for all you do to defend liberty in New Mexico. If you would like to learn public speaking and TV techniques like Paul, visit our schedule of upcoming trainings.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at