Rick Dearborn Joins Heritage Foundation as Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Rick Dearborn Joins Heritage Foundation as Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Former White House deputy chief of staff to focus on federalism, 10th Amendment

Nov 16, 2018 2 min read

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rick A. Dearborn, former White House deputy chief of staff to President Donald Trump, is joining The Heritage Foundation as a distinguished visiting fellow whose scholarship will focus on the issue of federalism.


Dearborn’s research will involve developing solutions for the return of power back to the state and local level consistent with the 10th Amendment. He’ll also serve as a counselor to Heritage on educating Executive Branch officials on public policy matters.


Before joining the Washington-based consulting firm Cypress Group as a partner in April, Dearborn served in the White House as deputy chief of staff for legislative, intergovernmental affairs and implementation in the administration of President Trump. He was responsible for the day-to-day operations of approximately 100 staff in five separate Executive Office of the President departments. Dearborn was also executive director of Trump’s transition team. Earlier in his career, he worked at Heritage as director of congressional relations.


“The Heritage Foundation is grateful to have Rick Dearborn join us at this pivotal moment,” said Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James. “Rick brings to Heritage a deep understanding of policy issues. We’re looking forward to his important contributions to our research and bringing attention to the role that states and local governments must play in governing.”


Through his research and speeches, Dearborn will promote a return to President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 Executive Order 12612, reestablishing the power of the 10th Amendment. Reagan’s action defined federalism by saying it “is rooted in the knowledge that our political liberties are best assured by limiting the size and scope of the national government.”


Reagan’s action was all but reversed by President Bill Clinton’s 1998 Executive Order 13083, which was nothing more than a list of duties and rights already empowered to the states and their individual citizens. Clinton sought to vacate Reagan’s action by laying out a list of nine broad and vague exceptions wherein the federal government might be “justified” in taking federal action because of “matters of national or multi-state scope.”


Dearborn will outline how well-intended liberal policies inappropriately exercise federal power as a means to solve problems that should be addressed by the states. He will amplify how conservatives, in contrast, typically see these policies as a vast federal overreach.


“I’m honored and excited to be rejoining The Heritage Foundation,” Dearborn said. “One of the most important delegations of power found in our beloved Constitution is reserved for the states and our fellow citizens at the local level. Identifying opportunities to return more power to state and local governments—and most importantly to the people directly—should be the goal of all federally elected officials. I look forward to exploring this important concept of federalism with my colleagues at Heritage and federal officials in the Trump administration and on Capitol Hill.”


In addition to his public service in President Trump’s White House, Dearborn has served six U.S. senators over a span of more than 25 years on Capitol Hill, including chief of staff to former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the former U.S. attorney general. In 2003, Dearborn was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become assistant secretary of energy for congressional affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy.

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