Available Soon: Request your printed copies of the Idaho Freedom Index mailed to you!
Request Your Copies
Note to Dustin: This is currently only visible to logged in users for testing.
Click Me!

About

Our Mission

IFF's mission is to defeat Marxism and socialism by building a culture of liberty around America's founding principles so that Idahoans can prosper.

Our Story

The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s roots can be traced to 1977, when Ralph Smeed and Maurice Clements started the Center for the Study of Market Alternatives (CSMA) in Caldwell. CSMA was years ahead of its time. National organizations existed to promote liberty, but there really were no state-based think tanks working to educate state and local public servants and citizens about free markets and the principles of liberty. In Idaho, CSMA filled the void. Many of Idaho’s political luminaries, including former U.S. Sen. Steve Symms, Northwest Liberty Academy Director Elizabeth Hodge and Foundation for Economic Education President Larry Reed point to Ralph, Maurice and CSMA as playing a pivotal role in their beliefs.

In 2008, Ralph Smeed and Maurice Clements reached out to Wayne Hoffman about starting a new state-focused, free-market think tank dedicated to Idaho issues. At that point, every state in the country had a free market think tank except for Idaho. Ralph and Maurice described their vision for the organization as one that would provide policymakers with free-market solutions and hold those same officials accountable for expanding government.

Coincidently, Idaho native Heather Lauer was also working on a plan to start a think tank in the Gem State. Heather had reached out to Norm Semanko, who connected Wayne and Heather. Together, Wayne and Heather put together the organizational blueprint and the funding to start what became the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which officially launched in January 2009.

The Freedom Foundation quickly developed a reputation as an accurate, independent source for liberty-minded policy innovation and as a tireless watchdog against government waste and marketplace intervention. Three months after its founding, IFF had provided the intellectual ammunition to stop a well-greased effort to raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. By August 2009, IFF had launched a government transparency website, and two months later it began producing original journalism, which eventually became IdahoReporter.com.

IFF’s work has been credited with saving taxpayers millions of dollars, eliminating failed government programs and holding politicians accountable like never before in the history of the state.

What We Believe

What if Idaho were the single best state in the nation to live, raise a family, start a business, hold a job and go to school? What if Idaho’s taxes and regulations were so low that our state attracted employers and employees from throughout the country without special incentives and corporate welfare that hurt entrepreneurs? What if our state helped lead our country back toward prosperity, by embracing free market ideas and reducing reliance on a bankrupt federal government?

Answering those questions is at the center of what Idaho Freedom Foundation is about. The Idaho Freedom Foundation exists to advance the conservative principles — limited government, free markets and self-reliance — that made our country the envy of the world. Unfortunately, special interests have grown in influence in our state, encouraging city, county and state government officials to reject conservative principles. Instead, these special interests advance policies that have resulted in higher taxes, more regulation, and more dependency on Washington, D.C. We aim to turn that around through the advancement of principles that help promote a vibrant, prosperous and free life for all Idahoans.

Idaho Freedom Foundation gives a voice to the voiceless, the people who don’t have the means, the time or the wherewithal to take on the special interests, which include labor unions, the government bureaucracy or businesses that seek a handout. We hold lawmakers accountable when they say one thing and do another, when they promise conservative leadership but then vote to expand government, support special interests or make it harder for Idahoans to get ahead and stay ahead.

Imagine what would happen if Idaho were to have the lowest taxes, the best schools, the least regulatory burden and the least dependency on the federal government of any other state? Imagine what might happen if local people, who know and love Idaho the most, were in charge of our public lands. What if, instead of adding people to government welfare rolls and entitlement programs, Idaho’s charities, churches and communities pitched in to help lift people from poverty?

Our research, journalism, education and advocacy dovetail to help Idaho policymakers make better decisions, rooted in conservative principles, so that Idahoans will be better off.

Our Team

Ron Nate

President

Ron Nate

Ron Nate is a husband, father, professor, Christian, and a warrior for liberty.  He graduated from the University of Utah in 1991 with a B.S. in Economics, and from the University of Connecticut in 1998 with an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics.  After three years at Ohio University-Eastern, he joined the faculty at BYU-Idaho and is building on a 21-year career.  Ron served in the Idaho House of Representatives for two terms from 2014-2018 and again in 2021-22, and now he joins the IFF team, starting June 2022.

He is married to Maria Nate and they have four awesome children: Maddie, Sam, Anna, and Eleanor.  Ron enjoys traveling, backpacking, skiing, chocolate, goats, and watching his teams win (BYU, New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox).

Alli Megal

Vice President

Alli Megal

Alli has enjoyed working with the Idaho Freedom Foundation since July 2018 when she started as the office manager. Later she went on to become the Operations & Development Manager and is excited to embark on her newest role as Vice President.

Alli is passionate about freedom and is dedicated to the IFF mission.

She has two amazing daughters and three wonderful grandchildren. Her hobbies include drawing, writing, cooking, and spending time outdoors swimming, kayaking, and riding her bicycle. She resides in Meridian with her shorkie dog, Max.

Fred Birnbaum

Legislative Affairs Director

Fred Birnbaum

Fred Birnbaum joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation in 2014 as vice president and chief operating officer after working 25 years in the paper and packaging industry.

Fred now serves as the IFF's Legislative Affairs Director and guides the Foundation's policy efforts.

Before joining IFF, he served as director of business and financial analysis for Packaging Corporation of America, formerly Boise Inc. 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.

Niklas Kleinworth

Policy Director

Niklas Kleinworth

As a Policy Analyst for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, Niklas Kleinworth is a strong advocate for public policy solutions that place America first, are fiscally efficient, limit government, and expand the free market. He provides legislative analyses and research on topics ranging from healthcare to fiscal policy and state budgeting. He is a graduate from the University of Idaho with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in pre-health professions studies.

Niklas started at the Idaho Freedom Foundation as a policy research intern in the summer of 2021.  He brings skills from prior internships at the University of Idaho and the United States Senate where his research focused on healthcare, education, and economic policy.  His work has been featured by outlets like the Lars Larson Program and Bitcoin Magazine.

Niklas currently resides in Boise, Idaho with his loving wife, Emily.  He most enjoys spending his free time with her while touring the Gem State, hiking, mountain biking, and trap shooting together.

Tyler Burton

Communications Coordinator

Tyler Burton

Tyler, a proud Idahoan from Boise, embodies a deep love for his state, his faith, and his unique way of life. Known for his signature suspenders and hat, he stands out in any crowd.

Starting with contract audio and video production, Tyler now serves as the communications coordinator for the IFF, leveraging his passion and expertise to promote traditional values, freedom, fiscal responsibility, and education choice. Managing social media, producing multimedia content, and providing technical support, he ensures the Foundation's message resonates.

Beyond his professional life, Tyler shares his passion for Idaho through his podcast and YouTube channel, offering insights into its culture and places. When not immersed in Idaho-related endeavors, he enjoys fishing, dancing, studying scripture, and cherishing time with loved ones.

Fun Fact: Tyler's distinctive style extends beyond attire; he collects working typewriters, aspiring to own one from each major brand.

Amber Adams

Office Manager

Amber Adams

Amber has a passion to keep Idaho conservative and prosperous while supporting individual liberty. This desire is what drove her to the Gem state in 2016.

After graduating from San Diego State University, she put her career on hold to start a family. Her preference was to stay home to raise and homeschool her two boys.

In 2018, she temporarily left Idaho to help family. Amber is excited to return to IFF, as she will be managing the office and helping to keep the foundation running like a well-oiled machine.

Running, camping, spending time with her boys, hanging out with friends, and going on long walks are just a few of Amber’s hobbies outside of work. She also loves to travel and explore new places.

Fun Fact: In her travels around the U.S., Amber began visiting each state's Capitol building. She searches for a unique Christmas ornament to bring home as a special token to remember the state she visits. Her goal is to visit all 50 state’s Capitol buildings by her 50th birthday!

Board of Directors

Brent Regan

Chair
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.

Brent Regan

Chair
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.

Bryan Smith

Vice Chair
Bryan Smith is an Idaho Falls attorney who has practiced law for over 30 years. Smith has also owned several small businesses in Southeast Idaho. Smith graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree having studied English, and Smith graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1989. Smith fully supports the mission of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Smith also promotes advancing in all arenas free-market principles, limited government where possible, and individual freedom and liberty. Smith advocates that people should be free to succeed or fail without government interference. Smith lives in Idaho falls with his wife Sharon and is the proud father of five awesome children and five grandchildren with more hopefully on the way. Smith’s hobbies include growing tomatoes in his greenhouse and sailing on Bear Lake.

Bryan Smith

Vice Chair
Bryan Smith is an Idaho Falls attorney who has practiced law for over 30 years. Smith has also owned several small businesses in Southeast Idaho. Smith graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree having studied English, and Smith graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1989. Smith fully supports the mission of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Smith also promotes advancing in all arenas free-market principles, limited government where possible, and individual freedom and liberty. Smith advocates that people should be free to succeed or fail without government interference. Smith lives in Idaho falls with his wife Sharon and is the proud father of five awesome children and five grandchildren with more hopefully on the way. Smith’s hobbies include growing tomatoes in his greenhouse and sailing on Bear Lake.

Ron Crane

Treasurer
Ron G. Crane was born in Nampa, Idaho. He is a graduate of Nampa Christian High School and later graduated from college with an Associate's Degree. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio Christian University in 2008. He served as a member in the Idaho National Guard from 1971 -- 1977, receiving recognition as Idaho's Soldier of the Year in 1975. Crane started his own successful business, Crane Alarm Service, in 1979. Today, Crane Alarm is one of the oldest and largest alarm companies in Idaho. He is a member of the Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho Chambers of Commerce, was a founding member of the Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, and serves on the board of trustees for Nampa Christian Schools. Crane has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1969. They have six children, four girls and two boys, and seven grandchildren. The Cranes reside in Nampa, Idaho.

Ron Crane

Treasurer
Ron G. Crane was born in Nampa, Idaho. He is a graduate of Nampa Christian High School and later graduated from college with an Associate's Degree. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio Christian University in 2008. He served as a member in the Idaho National Guard from 1971 -- 1977, receiving recognition as Idaho's Soldier of the Year in 1975. Crane started his own successful business, Crane Alarm Service, in 1979. Today, Crane Alarm is one of the oldest and largest alarm companies in Idaho. He is a member of the Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho Chambers of Commerce, was a founding member of the Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, and serves on the board of trustees for Nampa Christian Schools. Crane has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1969. They have six children, four girls and two boys, and seven grandchildren. The Cranes reside in Nampa, Idaho.

Graye Wolfe

Graye began working in the automotive industry at his father’s auto dealership, Wolfe Automotive, Inc. (Golden Rule Dealership Group), at the age of 10. He took over in 1993 when his father passed away unexpectedly, and within four years, he added three additional dealerships and four franchises. After the Group’s sale in 1997, Graye formed and operated a successful consulting company, Performance Improvement Concepts, Inc., specializing in the development, growth, and business potential of numerous multi-franchise dealers. His ability to assist dealers led them to great results. His career with Portfolio, starting in 2000, has been very successful in forming and managing over 400 Portfolio reinsurance companies for dealers across the U.S. Graye frequently speaks at NADA and NCM 20 Groups, and has performed staff training for national extended warranty insurance companies, several large dealer banks, and JD Powers and Associates.

Graye Wolfe

Graye began working in the automotive industry at his father’s auto dealership, Wolfe Automotive, Inc. (Golden Rule Dealership Group), at the age of 10. He took over in 1993 when his father passed away unexpectedly, and within four years, he added three additional dealerships and four franchises. After the Group’s sale in 1997, Graye formed and operated a successful consulting company, Performance Improvement Concepts, Inc., specializing in the development, growth, and business potential of numerous multi-franchise dealers. His ability to assist dealers led them to great results. His career with Portfolio, starting in 2000, has been very successful in forming and managing over 400 Portfolio reinsurance companies for dealers across the U.S. Graye frequently speaks at NADA and NCM 20 Groups, and has performed staff training for national extended warranty insurance companies, several large dealer banks, and JD Powers and Associates.

Doyle Beck

Doyle Beck is a founder or major investor of several successful, Idaho-based business ventures. His business portfolio includes construction, finance, development, and manufacturing companies, with focuses that span civil engineering projects to financial management to innovative technology. Beck is also active in politics and civil society. He’s been a commissioner on the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Board for 14 years and serves as the board chair. In addition, Beck is an active pilot with over 10,000 hours airtime and experience flying a variety of aircraft. He regularly volunteers his time and aircraft to support search and rescue operations and with the Bonneville Sheriff’s Office. Beck is an active member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A native of eastern Idaho, Doyle and his wife Elizabeth make their home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They are the proud parents of four children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Doyle Beck

Doyle Beck is a founder or major investor of several successful, Idaho-based business ventures. His business portfolio includes construction, finance, development, and manufacturing companies, with focuses that span civil engineering projects to financial management to innovative technology. Beck is also active in politics and civil society. He’s been a commissioner on the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Board for 14 years and serves as the board chair. In addition, Beck is an active pilot with over 10,000 hours airtime and experience flying a variety of aircraft. He regularly volunteers his time and aircraft to support search and rescue operations and with the Bonneville Sheriff’s Office. Beck is an active member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A native of eastern Idaho, Doyle and his wife Elizabeth make their home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They are the proud parents of four children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Bob Tikker

Bob Tikker is a mechanical engineer and the president of Tikker Engineering in Boise. Bob grew up in Idaho and graduated from Meridian High School and the University of Idaho. At the turn of the century, Bob’s grandparents immigrated to the United States to escape an oppressive government. Bob and his family are now living the American dream and strongly support the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Freedom is a fundamental requirement of man’s mind. Capitalism is based upon this fundamental requirement of freedom where men voluntarily consent to trade their goods and services with one another without coercion by government or others. Capitalism reigns as the superior system of government both economically and morally. Bob and his wife Jen are the proud parents of five awesome children and enjoy the outdoor pursuits Idaho offers.

Bob Tikker

Bob Tikker is a mechanical engineer and the president of Tikker Engineering in Boise. Bob grew up in Idaho and graduated from Meridian High School and the University of Idaho. At the turn of the century, Bob’s grandparents immigrated to the United States to escape an oppressive government. Bob and his family are now living the American dream and strongly support the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Freedom is a fundamental requirement of man’s mind. Capitalism is based upon this fundamental requirement of freedom where men voluntarily consent to trade their goods and services with one another without coercion by government or others. Capitalism reigns as the superior system of government both economically and morally. Bob and his wife Jen are the proud parents of five awesome children and enjoy the outdoor pursuits Idaho offers.

Tina Deboer

Tina DeBoer is a local Realtor who wants to play a role in making sure Idaho continues to serve as a beacon of freedom and liberty for decades to come. Tina became passionate about the concept of laissez-faire since taking an American government class in high school. She has been an avid supporter of the Idaho Freedom Foundation and its goals to protect and educate Idaho citizens. Tina and her husband are both small business owners living in Nampa Idaho. Some of her hobbies include camping, riding her ATV and Harley, scuba diving, and singing.

Tina Deboer

Tina DeBoer is a local Realtor who wants to play a role in making sure Idaho continues to serve as a beacon of freedom and liberty for decades to come. Tina became passionate about the concept of laissez-faire since taking an American government class in high school. She has been an avid supporter of the Idaho Freedom Foundation and its goals to protect and educate Idaho citizens. Tina and her husband are both small business owners living in Nampa Idaho. Some of her hobbies include camping, riding her ATV and Harley, scuba diving, and singing.

Heather Lauer

As Chief Executive Officer of People United for Privacy Foundation, Heather Lauer is working to protect the rights of all Americans—regardless of their beliefs—to come together in support of their shared values. Heather has three decades of experience in campaign management, communications strategy, and coalition building. She has served as a volunteer and board member for multiple nonprofit organizations and played a key role in the launch of the Idaho Freedom Foundation in 2009. Heather is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Born and raised in Nampa, she currently divides her time between Hailey, Idaho and Washington, D.C.

Heather Lauer

As Chief Executive Officer of People United for Privacy Foundation, Heather Lauer is working to protect the rights of all Americans—regardless of their beliefs—to come together in support of their shared values. Heather has three decades of experience in campaign management, communications strategy, and coalition building. She has served as a volunteer and board member for multiple nonprofit organizations and played a key role in the launch of the Idaho Freedom Foundation in 2009. Heather is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Born and raised in Nampa, she currently divides her time between Hailey, Idaho and Washington, D.C.

RALPH SMEED LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS

2010: Ralph Smeed
2011: Maurice Clements
2012: Don Brandt
2013: Stan Hawkins
2014: Elizabeth Hodge
2015: Dan Symms
2016: Lenore Hardy Barrett
2017: Rachel Gilbert

MAURICE CLEMENTS LEGACY OF FREEDOM AWARD WINNERS

2016: Kathleen Sims
2017: Bryan Smith

FUN FACTS

  • IFF was originally going to be named The Gem State Institute.
  • IFF’s logo features the state raptor, the peregrine falcon. The letters “IFF” make up the raptor’s feathers.
  • An elongated bolo tie forms the line between the words “Idaho Freedom” and “Foundation.”

LEGAL STUFF

IFF's Internal Revenue Service's "determination letter" is found here.

Our income tax returns are available for2019, 2020, and 2021.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation does not endorse candidates for elective office.

HAVE A QUESTION?

Feel free to ask your question by submitting this form

Contact Us
First
Last
Idaho Freedom Foundation
802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
p 208.258.2280 | e [email protected]
COPYRIGHT © 2024 Idaho freedom Foundation
magnifiercrossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram