AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation announced the launch of the Booker T. Washington Initiative, to be led by Lt. Col. Allen West (U.S. Army, retired), a former Congressman and well-known conservative activist. The Initiative will work to advance solutions for some of the nation’s most intractable problems, many of which affect underserved communities at disproportionate levels.

“The Texas Public Policy Foundation is proposing to redefine the debate on poverty, wellbeing, and opportunity,” said Executive Vice President Kevin Roberts. “We believe there is an approach that can truly end the cycle of poverty by first debunking the idea that taxation, government programs, and invasive policy solutions help our nation’s poor to escape their burdens. And then promote good policies that start with the principles fostered by Booker T. Washington.  We are thrilled to have Lt. Col. Allen West spearhead this initiative and bring to it the attention it deserves.”

The Booker T. Washington Initiative will focus on six policy areas:
– Education freedom, so all Americans can build their careers.
– Regulatory reform, so all Americans can build their dreams.
– Tax and welfare reform, so all Americans can live with dignity.
– Energy freedom, so all Americans can power their lives.
– Criminal-justice reform, so all Americans can live in safety and security.
– And healthcare reform, so all Americans can obtain the care they need and deserve.

“Booker T. Washington is a personal hero of mine,” said West. “When he founded the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (today known as Tuskegee University), he taught his students lessons from more than just books. He taught the principles of education, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance, and he prepared his students to enter the workforce and earn their own way.  Those principles are even more relevant today and can be applied to improve nearly any challenge our underserved communities face.”

In the spirit of Booker T. Washington, one of America’s great activists for a well-educated citizenry, free enterprise, and self-sufficiency, this project uses detailed data analysis to uncover what really causes prosperity and its opposite: poverty.  This work will lead the way in the national conversation with the goal of inspiring a new wave of major state and national reforms that seek to reduce barriers to success and open new paths to prosperity.