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February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011 | News Releases on

Heritage Foundation Names Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra as Visiting Distinguished Fellow

WASHINGTON , FEB. 22, 2011— Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan has been named a visiting distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He will concentrate on education reform for the prominent think tank.

Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner praised Hoekstra as “distinctly qualified” to provide policy recommendations on education, especially the key issue of getting Washington out of the way of real education reform at the state and local level.

“Not only does Pete understand the intricacies of the education reform debate, he also has unparalleled experience writing legislation to address this critical issue,” Feulner said. “This gives him knowledge and insight far beyond what most experts offer.”

Hoekstra, 57, represented Michigan’s 2nd district in the House from 1993 until last month, when he left Congress after unsuccessfully seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2010.

While at Heritage, Hoekstra will work with Mike Franc, Heritage’s Vice President of Government Relations, to raise awareness of the need for substantive reform of the nation’s ailing public education system—the topic of a new, online video from Heritage.
As a high-ranking member of the House Education and Labor (now Education & the Workforce) Committee, Hoekstra led the effort to give parents greater opportunity to determine their children’s academic future. He served on the panel’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and, from 1995 to 2001, was chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

“During my time in Congress, I witnessed first-hand the danger of government encroachment and regulation, and how they harmed our children’s futures,” Hoekstra said.

In 2007, Hoekstra worked to restore federalism in education by offering a conservative alternative to No Child Left Behind Act. He introduced a bill that would allow states to opt out of federal programs and, in turn, begin crucial steps to restore control over public education to states and local communities. He was the founding chairman of the Education Freedom Caucus.

Hoekstra also served as chairman and ranking member of the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence, where he was a leading advocate for strengthening national security. He helped enact the bill creating a director of national intelligence to oversee the CIA and all other intelligence agencies.

A Dutch-born American citizen, Hoekstra holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hope College in Holland, Mich., and a master of business administration from the University of Michigan. Before serving in Congress, he was vice president of marketing at Herman Miller, an office furniture manufacturer.

Hoekstra and his wife of more than 30 years, Diane, have three children.

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported think tank, with more than 710,000 individual members. It works to develop effective policy solutions based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. For research and commentary on education reform, visit and click on Education.

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