If you’ve found your way to this website, our story is probably similar to yours. We are disheartened (disgusted?) by what we see in Washington, and we want to make things better.
I’m first and foremost a policy guy. I teach public policy and economics at Dartmouth College, and at the University of Chicago before that. Over the past decade, it became clear that our country was not dealing in any meaningful way with significant policy challenges: the fiscal situation, climate change, an infrastructure deficit, mediocre K-12 education, and so on.
I would never argue that there is a right answer for any of these challenges. I am certain that there is a range of things we could and should be doing—all of which are better than what we are doing now.
I increasingly found that I was a person without a party. Do I want to be a Republican and pretend that climate change isn’t happening? Or do I want to be a Democrat and pretend that our entitlement programs are not a fiscal disaster waiting to happen?
More and more people I spoke to felt exactly the same way.
Meanwhile, the dysfunction in Washington just kept getting worse. I wrote The Centrist Manifesto when the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction process collapsed, as the two parties kowtowed to their most active and vocal members.
The book was just the beginning. The Centrist Project was born to turn ideas into action. It has attracted a dedicated and growing group of people who are trying to solve problems by making the political process work better.
This is really about political innovation. If you think what we are trying to do makes sense, then join us. What’s the alternative?
The Centrist Project Operating Board
Charles Wheelan, Co-Chairman and Founder
Charles Wheelan is the founder of The Centrist Project, a 501(c)4 creating the first political home for centrists. The organization is based on his book, "The Centrist Manifesto" (W.W. Norton), which outlines a set of centrist principles: fiscal responsibility, environmental responsibility, social tolerance, and genuine economic opportunity for all. The book also outlines an innovative electoral strategy to elect five centrist U.S. senators empowered to broker deals across party lines. The Centrist Project's ultimate goal is to help pragmatic leaders and voters solve America's greatest policy challenges.
Wheelan is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Dartmouth. He has served as the Midwest correspondent for The Economist, as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and as Director of Policy and Communications for Chicago Metropolis 2020. In 2009, he was a Democratic candidate for Congress in Illinois' 5th District.
In addition, Wheelan previously served as the speechwriter for Maine Governor John R. McKernan, Jr. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science, and is currently at work on An Introduction to Public Policy.
Wheelan received an BA from Dartmouth, an MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and a PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago's Harris School in 1998.
Colston Young, Co-Chairman and Treasurer
Colston has deep finance experience in the technology sector. Colston has held positions at Sapphire Ventures, Credit Suisse, and Bear Stearns. Colston also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia. Colston received a BA from Williams College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Colston previously founded The Big Middle Alliance.
Rusty Rueff, National Coordinating Co-Chair
Rusty is the Chairman of the GRAMMY Foundation. He most recently completed the successful 16-month leadership role as Coordinating National Co-Chair for Technology for Obama (T4O) for the reelection of President of President Obama. Previously, he was the Chief Executive Officer at SNOCAP and Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Electronic Arts. He and his wife, Patti, are the named benefactors of Purdue’s Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts.
Derek McDowell, Secretary
Derek is a Co-Founder of Boyne Capital based in Miami. Prior to founding Boyne, he served as a Partner with Trivest Partners.
Gregg Brockway is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and concerned parent. Presently, he is the co-founder and chairman of the home decor marketplace Chairish and serves on several other start-up and non-profit boards. Previously, he co-founded the travel companies Hotwire and TripIt. Gregg is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School.
The Centrist Project Founder's Circle
Jeffrey Binder CEO, BioMet
Jill Bossi CEO, ThrivePro. Former U.S. Senate Candidate (American Party- South Carolina)
William Hannekamp President at Microsite.com, in Chicago Illinois. Previously worked at The Well Advertising, Inc.
Leonard Gail Partner, Massey & Gail Attorneys
Katherine Gehl CEO, Gehl Foods
Jim Jonas Political Consultant; Campaign Manager, Greg Orman for Senate
Jay Livingston Investor; Former SVP, Bank of America
William Obenshain Executive Director, Center for Financial Services, DePaul University
Randy Peeler Managing Director, Berkshire Partners. Former Special Assistant for the Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy in the U.S. Department of the Treasury
Dwight Poler Managing Director, Bain Capital
Senator Larry Pressler 2014 U.S. Senate Candidate (Independent – South Dakota); former U.S. Senator (Republican – South Dakota) and former U.S. House of Representatives (Republican – South Dakota)
Shawn Riegsecker CEO and Founder, centro
Molly Crawford Schneider Strong Communications
Andy Scott VP Business Development, RPX Corp.
Steve Seibert Former Pinellas County Commissioner, Former Head of the Florida Department of Community Affairs under Governor Jeb Bush
Nick Troiano Former U.S. House Candidate (Independent – PA); nationally recognized millennial political leader, co-founder of The Can Kicks Back
Delphine Hall Anderson Political strategist
Andy Axel President, NewPath Energy Capital
David Bangs Impact investor
David Burstein Author, “Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World”
Steve Carlson CEO of Ascend Consumer Finance, Inc.
Rob Duncan Owner, Creative Director, Mucho
Bill Hanekamp President, Microsite.com
Michael Heslin Deputy Director, City of Temecula, California
Wayne Hill Managing Director, Northwestern Mutual
Michael Malaga Angel investor
Brett Matthews Cloud Success Technologist, Salesforce
Lisa McClung Managing Principal, Lismore International
Peter Wheelan COO and CRO, Telluride Venture Accelerator
Colin Wiel Managing Director, Waypoint Real Estate Group
Pam Peak Executive Director
Dane Sherrets Outreach Manager
We'd like to thank the following firms for their exceptional contributions:
Mucho - Branding and logo design
Veracity Media - Web design and architecture