Leadership

Wayne Hoffman
President
208-258-2280 ext. 211

Wayne Hoffman has been at the helm of Idaho Freedom Foundation since the organization launched in January 2009. Wayne is considered one Idaho’s most influential figures in politics and public policy and an expert on an array of issues facing local, state and federal governments.

Hoffman has spent three decades writing about and analyzing the laws and regulations that impact individuals, families and businesses. Wayne writes a weekly column, found in newspapers and on websites throughout Idaho, and is often invited to speak on complex issues including taxation, health care, criminal justice and education. His commentaries have also been published by national publications including the Wall Street Journal and Watchdog.org.

As a journalist, Wayne won many prestigious awards for investigative and political reporting. After leaving the news business in 2005, Wayne managed public affairs and communications for two Idaho agencies, wrote speeches for and developed the policies for several successful political campaigns. For two years, he ran the communications operations for a member of Congress.Wayne has two children and lives in Nampa.

Email: [email protected]

Fred Birnbaum
Vice President
208-258-2280 ext. 218

Fred Birnbaum joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation as vice president and chief operating officer after working 25 years in the paper and packaging industry.

Most recently he served as director of business and financial analysis for Packaging Corporation of America (formerly Boise Inc.) and has lived in Boise since 2000. His experience in industry includes roles in finance, operations, project management and factory management.

Fred served in the U.S. Army as a communication staff officer and platoon leader and worked briefly for US Senator John Glenn, as a Military Affairs Fellow, following his Army career

He received his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Email: [email protected]

Staff

Phil Haunschild
Policy Researcher
208-258-2280 ext. 215

Phil Haunschild began working with the Idaho Freedom Foundation in the New Year as an analyst for the Freedom Index.

In 2017, he graduated from Northwest Nazarene University with a degree in International Studies and Financial Economics.

Phil was born in Alaska, however, he spent his childhood in the Philippines where he developed his interest in politics, international relations, and the functions of government. In his pursuit of a greater understanding of government and policy, Phil has just recently returned from a four-month trip to the Middle East where he spent much of his time researching the impact that the local government, as well as international governments, have had on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Phil loves to spend his time off enjoying the outdoor opportunities Idaho has to offer, whether it is skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, along with others.

Dustin Hurst
Communication Director
208-258-2280 ext. 213

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

He attended college at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene and Boise State University in Boise. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, with a minor in Political Science.

Before joining IdahoReporter.com, Dustin worked as a social media coordinator and reporter for Watchdog.org, a national news publication. His work there was featured or recognized by Fox News, Human Events, Reason.com, TownHall.com, Public Sector Inc. HotAir and The Daily Caller, among others.

Dustin lives in Boise with his wife and two wonderful kids.

His work at IFF has been featured by Reason, the Foundation for Economic Education, Fox News and other outlets.

Email: [email protected]

Janae Wilkerson
Assistant to the President
208-258-2280 ext. 216

Janae started working for the Idaho Freedom Foundation in late 2017 as the assistant to the president. She graduated with honors from Northwest Nazarene University in 2017, with a degree in English and a minor in philosophy.

 

Janae is a member of the International English Honors Society, and she often donates her writing skills to various nonprofits organizations. Janae loves working with and writing to express ideas, and she’s thrilled to join IFF. In her spare time, you can find her reading, singing, or writing stories.

Amber Highburger
Office Manager
208-258-2280 ext. 217

Enthusiastically, Amber Highburger came to work with Idaho Freedom Foundation late in 2017. She recently moved to the Boise area and had the privilege of serving as an attache for the Idaho State Senate during the 64th Annual Legislative Session.

Amber graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. She had the opportunity to study the California Prison system, and during a week-long trip she toured eight maximum-security prisons, ending with San Quentin in San Francisco.

Married with two boys, Amber loves spending time with her family and going camping, but when she is with her friends her favorite thing to do is host high tea!

Kurt Weber
Editor

During his career, Kurt Weber has worked with a number of state, national and international liberty-promoting organizations. His more than 80 published commentaries have appeared in, among others, the Houston Post, Oregonian and Orange County Register (Calif.). He has written more than 150 radio commentaries.

Kurt earned dual degrees and honors in finance and public administration from Western Michigan University. He holds a masters degree in international relations from Thomas Jefferson’s university, the University of Virginia. During his college days he was a student activist, a newspaper columnist and ran for city council.

A vagabond at heart, Kurt has traveled in all 50 states and more than 40 countries. He has lived in New York City, Washington, DC, Germany, Buenos Aires and Guatemala. A motorcycle and roller coaster enthusiast, he jumps from planes time to time.

Policy advisers

Dr. John M. Livingston
Special Adviser on Medical Policy

Dr. John M. Livingston serves as the Special Adviser on Medical Policy to the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Livingston, a Boise resident, performed general and trauma surgery for more than 35 years, including 12 in the U.S. Navy and 25 Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. 

He attended medical school at Ohio State University and interned at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. He performed trauma surgery at Norfolk General Hospital and pediatric trauma surgery at the University of Florida. He also performed trauma surgery at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and served as a staff surgeon at a naval hospital in Kelfavic, Iceland.

Gov. Butch Otter appointed Dr. Livingston to the Your Health Idaho oversight board in April 2013.

Board of Directors

Brent Regan

Brent Regan is the founder and president of Regan Designs, specializing in designing electromechanical products for medical, aerospace, defense, marine and automotive industries. He holds 11 U.S. patents for medical devices.

An advocate of the free market, Regan has testified in favor of free market health care. He also initiated the North Idaho Conservative Resolution against the federally mandated health insurance exchanges.

He has successfully assisted in organizing and opposing Local Improvement Districts in Kootenai County; sponsored legal efforts to protect neighbors’ property from illegal commercial land use; conceived, sponsored and was the master of ceremonies for the Conservative Candidate Forum prior to the 2012 primary; and developed a caucus sign-in procedure and volunteer training for the Kootenai County Republican Caucus.

“Leisure” activities have included building and competing in automobile endurance road racing including 24 hours of Daytona (first in class (GTU), third in class (GTP)); six hours of Riverside (third in class); four-hour Sears Point Endurance Race (overall winner, twice); 24 hours of Nelson Ledges (third overall); and three seasons of campaigning 3 fighting robots in the Battlebots series aired nationally on Comedy Central.

Regan has lived in Idaho since 1999. He is married with three children.

Dr. Loel Fenwick

Dr. Loel Fenwick invented the family-centered birthing room system and the birthing bed that are now standard in America and throughout the world.

He founded The Borning Corporation. Borning was the leading provider of facility planning, operational training, equipment and services for contemporary maternity care until the company was acquired by the Hill-Rom company.

Loel founded The Cybele Society, a professional education organization of obstetricians, nurse managers and health care administrators that led the nationwide change to family-centered, single-room maternity programs.

Loel is the chairman of Phillips+Fenwick, a maternity care operation and consulting company that has designed and implemented maternity care programs in with more 400 hospital in the US, Canada, Europe and China.

Dar Symms

Dar Symms is the president and a co-owner of Symms Fruit Ranch, one of Idaho’s oldest and longest-operating fruit growers.He joined the family operation in 1994.

Prior to that, he graduated from the University of Idaho’s law school in 1991, and worked at a Boise law firm.

He is a member of the Idaho Bar Association.

At Symms Fruit Ranch, Dar manages and oversees all packing, marketing to Latin America, human resources and finances.

He is married and has two children. In his spare time, Dar enjoys, travel, golf, hunting, hiking, skiing and fishing.

He joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation board to hold policy makers accountable, and to encourage the government to do less and not more.

Vicki Keen

Vicki Keen is a liberty-loving native Idahoan and ardent supporter of IFF.

Ms. Keen has been instrumental in raising awareness of the issues faced by the citizens of Idaho and has become a voice in her community for goals which are shared by IFF- advancing conservative principles, protection of individual freedoms, holding government accountable, and ushering back prosperity through free market solutions.

Prior to her civic and philanthropic endeavors, Keen enjoyed 30 years with a local Irrigation District office.  She is most proud to be a devoted wife, mother and grandmother to her family.

A supporter of the Idaho Freedom Foundation for many years, she is honored to become a member of the Board and to help champion the causes that protect Idahoans from the over-reaching arm of big government.

Ms. Keen and her husband live in Boise, as do their three children and six grandchildren.  Her hobbies include golf, skiing, hiking, and traveling.