The Pelican Institute fulfills its mission by:
The Pelican Institute Team
Daniel Erspamer is the Chief Executive Officer of The Pelican Institute, having been appointed in May of 2017. Prior to joining the Pelican Institute, Daniel served as Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at State Policy Network, the service organization for America’s free-market, state-based think tanks, of which the Pelican Institute is an affiliate member. Prior to that, he served a variety of leadership and development roles at the national office of Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation. He received a B.A., with honors, in Political Economy and Communication from Tulane University. Daniel and his wife, Emily (a graduate of Tulane University School of Law), have four children and reside in New Orleans.
Renee Amar is vice president for government affairs for Pelican Institute of Public Policy. Amar crafts the Pelican Institute’s legislative strategy and directs its government affairs activities. She collaborates with lawmakers to develop and advance free-market legislation and public education initiatives.
Previously she served as director of LABI’s Small Business and Healthcare Councils and deputy director of Political Action. As small business council director, Renee gave Louisiana small and independent businesses a voice in government policy making. As health care council director, she encouraged a cost-effective, competitive health care market for Louisiana’s employers. She is passionate about the free enterprise system and free market principles. In her role as deputy director of political action, Renee fundraised for LABI’s four PACs—NORTHPAC, EASTPAC, SOUTHPAC and WESTPAC – recruited candidates for office, and developed endorsements.
Prior to joining LABI in November 2013, Renee spent eight years identifying and building relationships with legislators who work diligently to protect small business and the free enterprise system as the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. She also worked for the Louisiana Hospital Association for four years in the governmental affairs department.
Renee holds a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and pursued her master’s degree at Louisiana State University. She lives in Baton Rouge with her husband Randy and their dogs Maggie and Winston. She’s also a proud mom three children, Damon, Brandt and Chloe.
Aly Rau is the Chief of Staff at The Pelican Institute for Public Policy. In her role, Aly drives the development strategy, advances the Pelican Institute’s mission through facilitating partnerships and guides annual program planning, ensuring short-term goals, projects and activities are in alignment with the Pelican Institute’s vision. Aly has a diverse career portfolio that includes building and executing grassroots and development strategies, as well as consulting on various political campaigns, including statewide offices. Currently, she serves as the Chapter Leader of America’s Future Foundation New Orleans, helping to cultivate a network for young professionals in Louisiana. Aly also partners with The Policy Circle to facilitate opportunities for professional women to engage in thoughtful discussions on free market policies. Previously, she volunteered as a CASA Advocate, served as a Medical Advocate for the Metropolitan Women and Children’s Center, and consulted for a variety of non-profit organizations.
Eric Peterson is the Director of Policy for the Pelican Institute, joining the team in February of 2019. Prior to Pelican, Eric worked on state policy for a variety of organizations including Americans for Prosperity and the Institute for Free Speech. At these organizations, Eric cultivated a passion for tax policy, occupational licensing reform, and of course, free speech. Eric’s writings have appeared in numerous outlets including the Washington Post, National Review, and Forbes.
A native of the Land of Lincoln, Eric was fortunate to attend Tulane University where he majored in political economy and cheering on the olive and blue. He looks forward to attending his adoptive home and being in the stands for Tulane football once again.
Chris Jacobs is a Senior Fellow at The Pelican Institute. He has over a decade of experience in a variety of policy roles on and off Capitol Hill. He previously worked as Policy Director for America Next, a new start-up think tank, and as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Heritage Foundation and the Joint Economic Committee’s Senate Republican staff. Before that, Chris worked as a Policy Advisor for the House Republican Conference under then-Chairman Mike Pence during the debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and as a Health Policy Analyst for the Senate Republican Policy Committee during the first two years of the law’s implementation. He got his start on Capitol Hill as an intern for then-Congressman Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. While serving as Policy Director for America Next, Chris contributed to the Wall Street Journal‘s Think Tank policy blog. He has taught part-time on health policy at The American University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and History Phi Beta Kappa
Margaret Mire is a Senior Fellow at The Pelican Institute, most frequently called upon to discuss issues like criminal justice reform, taxation, and budgetary excess. She currently works with American for Tax Reform in Washington D.C. while helping to steer Louisiana policy conversations in a liberty-friendly direction.
Board of Directors
Stephen M. Gele, Chairman
Daniel J. Erspamer, CEO
In Memoriam: Kevin Kane
The Pelican Institute was founded in 2008 by Kevin Kane, who led the organization until his untimely death in October of 2016. A well-respected leader on free-market public policy, his work, alongside other partners in the state, led to the passage in 2017 of landmark criminal justice reforms. Many individuals and organizations celebrated Kevin’s accomplishments and noted his passing, including The Times-Picayune, State Policy Network, The Advocate, and Gambit.