PRI Advances Free Market Policy Victories in Challenging, Turbulent Year


This year has been a challenging one for our nation – and a particularly turbulent time in PRI’s home state of California.

2020 ushered in weeks of rioting and protesting, devastating wildfires, pandemic restrictions and draconian lockdowns, a worsening homelessness crisis, and unaccountable social services.

We saw a continued exodus out of the state by individuals and businesses of all stripes who are fed up with Sacramento. And state leaders just cast about for people to blame, even as they doubled down on crippling new regulations on businesses and social engineering policies.

Some wonder if the sun of opportunity and prosperity is setting on California for good. I don’t think so. I still have tremendous hope that we can reclaim the American Dream.

PRI was instrumental in educating voters on key issues that appeared on the November ballot in the Golden State. As a result of our efforts, we saw voters preserve liberty and economic opportunity at the ballot box. They upheld worker freedom by passing Proposition 22, defended equal opportunity by rejecting Proposition 16, and blocked Prop. 15 which would have created a split-roll property tax scheme that would discourage business investment.

At the national level, our scholars were influential in promoting policies designed to stimulate economic growth, promote individual freedom and choice, and encourage competition in health care, education, and the economy. Our newly established Center for Medical Economics and Innovation was ahead of the curve in sounding the alarm over a rigid regulatory environment that hampered our nation’s response to COVID-19.

PRI’s communications team ensured that our message was delivered to a wide and influential audience through aggressive marketing campaigns; social media outreach; virtual events; and media commentary, including op-eds, radio, and television interviews.

Below are highlights of what we’ve accomplished in 2020:

  • Nearly 2,000 online and print media citations of PRI’s work
  • Over 1.5 million hits to
  • 815 op-eds by PRI scholars published in media outlets nationwide
  • More than 200 radio and television interviews by PRI scholars
  • Nearly two dozen online and in-person events in a time of global pandemic

If you haven’t had a chance yet to contribute to PRI’s Reclaiming the American Dream Campaign, it’s not too late. Your tax-deductible gift made by December 31 will help us enter 2020 in a strong financial position and—more importantly—propel PRI’s efforts in 2021 to advance workable, market-driven policy solutions in California and across the nation.

My colleagues and I firmly believe there’s a new dawn of freedom and opportunity on the horizon for our state. We are grateful to all of our supporters for their investment in our mission.

Ben Smithwick is the Pacific Research Institute’s vice president of development.


Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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