About the Rio Grande Foundation

      Table of Contents      
RGF Mission Statement
RGF Policies
RGF Board of Directors
RGF Staff


Mission Statement

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.


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  • The Rio Grande Foundation does not endorse or oppose either directly or indirectly any candidate for public office.
  • The Foundation does not contribute to campaigns.
  • The Foundation does not participate or engage in political fund raising events or otherwise solicit contributions to any candidate's campaign.
  • The Foundation does not distribute statements for or against any particular candidate.
  • The Foundation does not engage in any other activity that may favor or oppose a candidate.

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Board of Directors

Paul J. Gessing
pgessing [at] riograndefoundation [dot] org

Ben Alaimo-Monson
ben [dot] alaimo [at] gmail [dot] com

Victor S. Bruno
vic [at] vicbrunoco [dot] com

Peter Howley
peter [dot] howley [at] empiricalpath [dot] com

Kathryn Minter
kathrynminter [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tom Mullins
tom [dot] mullins [at] synergyoperating [dot] com

Hal Stratton
hstratton [at] bhfs [dot] com

Jack Swickard
jswickard [at] gmail [dot] com

Doug Turner
dwturner [at] dwturner [dot] com

Deane Waldman
dwaldman [at] thesystemmd [dot] com

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Paul J. Gessing
pgessing [at] riograndefoundation [dot] org

Paul GessingPaul Gessing became the first full-time President of the Rio Grande Foundation in March of 2006. Since joining the Foundation, Gessing has been a prominent voice for limited government and individual liberties in policy areas including: Constitutional liberties, taxes, health care, education, and transportation.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Gessing headed up the lobbying efforts of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) a respected taxpayer-advocacy organization in Washington, DC.

He has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, US News & World Reports, The Albuquerque Journal, Barron's and several other major publications. He writes for and appears regularly in media outlets around New Mexico. Paul has also testified in Congress and before a variety of state and local bodies.

Paul graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio with a degree in Political Science in 1997 and he received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Maryland in 2005.

Paul is on the Board of New Mexico Connections virtual charter school and the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy.

Paul and his wife Krista were married in October 2007 in Algodones, NM and have two girls, Grace and Katherine. He is active in Toastmasters and, in his spare time, Paul enjoys hiking and walking with the family dogs, playing basketball, golf and traveling.

Research Director
D. Dowd Muska
dmuska [at] riograndefoundation [dot] org

Dowd Muska joined the Rio Grande Foundation in January of 2015. As research director, he oversees the Foundation's analysis of New Mexico public policy, and advocates for smaller and more accountable government in The Land of Enchantment.

Prior to moving to New Mexico, Dowd held positions at several free-market organizations, including the Nevada Policy Research Institute and National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. An expert on government at the local, state, and federal levels, his focus is on the nexus of fiscal policy, economic development, and technology.

In addition to authoring papers, issue briefs, and op-eds, Dowd's work has been quoted in many newspapers and magazines. He has made numerous appearances on radio and television broadcasts.

Dowd is a graduate of The George Washington University. A native of Connecticut, he is delighted to have relocated to the Southwest to promote prosperity for New Mexico based on the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual responsibility.

Senior Fellow
William Patrick Leonard, PhD
wpatleon [at] gmail [dot] com

Dr. William Patrick Leonard is Advisor on Higher Education Policy at the Rio Grande Foundation. He serves as Vice Dean SolBridge International School of Business in Daejeon, Korea. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, MBA Loyola University of Chicago and master and bachelor's degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has served in an array of senior academic leadership posts-dean library and learning resources, associate provost, vice chancellor, campus executive dean and college president. Leonard as has served in Guatemala, Germany, United Arab Emirates and currently Korea. His research interest focuses on assessment, economics, governance and policy issues in higher education. His 170 essays and reviews have appeared in an array of professional journals and popular press.

Adjunct Scholar
Eric Fruits
fruits [at] econinternational [dot] com

Dr. Eric Fruits is an adjunct scholar with the Rio Grande Foundation. He is an economics expert, finance expert, and statistics expert. He has produced numerous research studies involving economic analysis, financial modeling, and statistical analysis. As an expert witness, he has provided expert testimony in state court, federal court, and an international court.

As a finance expert, Dr. Fruits has been a testifying expert and provided expert consulting services in cases alleging insider trading. He is a securities expert who has conducted numerous research studies on financial issues, including initial public offerings and municipal bonds.

He has written peer-reviewed articles on initial public offerings (IPOs), the municipal bond market, and the formation and operation of cartels. His economic analysis has been widely cited and has been published in The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Dr. Fruits has been affiliated with Portland State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, University of Southern California, Indiana University, and the Claremont Colleges. He has been an economic consultant with LECG, ECONorthwest, and Econ One Research.


Adjunct Fellow
J. Scott Moody, M.A.
jsmoody [at] pubchoiceanalytics [dot] com

J. Scott Moody has worked as a Tax Policy Economist for over 13 years. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 100 studies and books. He has testified twice before the House Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress as well as various state legislatures. He has been interviewed by countless newspapers and radio and television stations. His work has appeared in Forbes, CNN Money, State Tax Notes, Portland Press Herald, New Hampshire's Union Leader, Hartford Courant, the Oklahoman and Albuquerque Journal.

His professional experiences includes a positions as Senior Economist at the Tax Foundation, Senior Economist at the Heritage Foundation, Vice President of Policy and Chief Economist at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, Senior Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and Research Fellow at several other free-market think tanks.

Scott received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wingate University (Wingate, N.C.). He received his Master of Arts in Economics from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA).

Major policy contributions include:

  • Developed policy program for SPN think tank as former Vice President of Policy and Chief Economist at The Maine Heritage Policy Center.
  • Developed the tax Foundation's first Federal Individual Income Tax Micro-Simulation Model.
  • Developed framework for state-level Individual Income Tax Micro-Simulation Models.
  • Co-developer of the Tax Foundation's “State Business Tax Climate Index.”
  • Operationalized the Tax Foundation's statistically matched database between IRS and CPS data—results published in the “Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns” report series.
  • Author of the Tax Foundation's “Tax Freedom Day” for five years.
  • Editor of the Tax Foundation's “Facts and Figures on Government Finance” for four years.

Adjunct Fellow
Deane Waldman
dwaldman [at] thesystemmd [dot] com

Deane Waldman, MD, MBA was educated and trained at: Yale, Chicago Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Northwestern, Harvard, and Anderson Management Schools. He has been Chief of Section at San Diego Children's, University of Chicago and University of New Mexico, as well as a practicing pediatric cardiologist for over 35 years. He has authored over 100 academic publications as well as numerous lay articles and blogs on the practice of medicine as well as the management of and strategy for health care delivery. In his book – Uproot U.S. Healthcare – Deane shares insights into the root causes of why the healthcare system consistently fails patients, providers, and our country alike. Most important, the book shows why the public and only the public can and must fix healthcare.

Adjunct Fellow
Wendy P. Warcholik, Ph.D.
wendywarcholik [at] pubchoiceanalytics [dot] com

Dr. Wendy P. Warcholik has worked as an Economist in public policy settings for over 13 years. She has extensive experience in applying statistical and econometric tools in public policy paradigms.

Her professional experience includes positions as Economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington, D.C., Chief Forecasting Economist for the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Medical Assistance Services, Adjunct Scholar with the Tax Foundation, and Research Fellow at The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. In addition, she is a Research Fellow at several U.S. free-market think tanks. She has taught numerous economics classes to MBA students.

She received her Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. While pursuing her Ph.D., she was a Bradley research fellow and affiliated scholar with Nobel Laureate James Buchanan's Center for the Study of Public Choice. Her dissertation required the creation and analysis of a panel dataset for 30 variables for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) over a ten-year period.

Major policy contributions include:

  • Principal architect of the Tax Foundation's first edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index.
  • Rebuilt the State of Virginia's Medicaid forecasting models.
  • Led efforts to use the Tax Foundation's matched IRS/Census database to produce a stream of reports as part of the Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns project.

Policy Analyst
Ben Cloutier
ben_cloutier [at] live [dot] com

Ben Cloutier is a native New Mexican, born and raised in Roswell. Ben graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2014 with a B.A. in History and Psychology. Since graduation he has served as a Committee Assistant and Analyst in the New Mexico House of Representatives. He is an active student of politics and plans on attending graduate school in the near future.

Policy Analyst
Marcos P. Portillo
marcosportillo [at] me [dot] com

Marcos P. Portillo is an economics student at the University of New Mexico. He joined the Rio Grande Foundation in May 2012.

Marcos enlisted in the U.S. Army immediately upon graduating from high school and served honorably as a paratrooper for over six years. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant as a member with the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division. He deployed in three combat tours to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and led his platoon in an emergency humanitarian deployment to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response.

Since being Honorably Discharged in 2011, he has been an enthusiastic student of Free-Market Economics and participant in local politics. Recently, he's been accepted to George Mason University where he hopes to further his education and career in business and economics.

Policy Analyst
Clare Donahue
chd26 [at] georgetown [dot] edu

Clare Donahue was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from Bosque School in May 2014. She is currently an undergraduate student at Georgetown University where she plans to major in Economics. Most recently, she has joined the Rio Grande Foundation so that she may be fully immersed in the political and economic climate of New Mexico before heading back East in the fall. In her free time, Clare loves to play tennis, read and spend time with family, friends and her two german shepherds.

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