James Wallner, an academic and former U.S. Senate aide, is The Heritage Foundation’s group vice president for research. A key member of Heritage’s leadership team, Wallner oversees the think tank’s research papers, projects, and initiatives.
Wallner, a respected Capitol Hill hand for more than a decade, had served as executive director of the Senate Steering Committee since 2012 when he joined Heritage in July 2016.
The goals of the committee, a group of about a dozen senators, include forging cooperation on floor tactics and informing members of conservative policy solutions. Wallner most recently worked under the chairmanship of Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
“His dedication to solid research informing pro-growth conservative policies is exactly the kind of leadership that gives Heritage a great impact on Capitol Hill and around the nation,” Heritage President Jim DeMint said in announcing Wallner’s arrival.
Heritage develops and promotes policy research and recommendations to advance free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
Wallner is known on Capitol Hill and in public policy circles for a studious bent and passion to achieve better policy through the legislative process.
From 2011-2012, he was legislative director for Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. From 2008-2011, he was legislative director for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. He worked as legislative assistant for Sessions for two years before that, and for Rep. Terry Everett, R-Ala., in 2005-2007.
Since 2012, Wallner has been an adjunct professor of politics at Catholic University and was a lecturer in the politics department there in 2010-2012.
He received both his doctoral and master’s degrees in politics, with distinction, from Catholic University. He also holds a master’s degree in international and European politics from University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Georgia.
He is the author of “The Death of Deliberation: Partisanship & Polarization in the United States Senate (Lexington Books, 2013). He currently is writing a history of the Senate.