The 1848 Project is pioneering a better tomorrow. We believe when good people listen well and form policy strategies based on actual needs and desires of real people, not political pandering, great things can happen. Working alongside people in communities across the state, we will develop an agenda that ensures all of our Wisconsin families share in a brighter future. But forming an agenda is only the first step in the 1848 Project's vision. We hope the FORWARD AGENDA ignites the passion of regular Wisconsin neighbors hungry for a better tomorrow, who feel deserted by politicians who just want to please one side of the aisle. By using evidence-based strategies in issue areas identified not by politicians, but the people of Wisconsin, we hope the FORWARD AGENDA is embraced, implemented, and enjoyed here at home...and in other states who will once again admire Wisconsin as the jewel of the Midwest.


The 1848 Project will produce the FORWARD AGENDA, the conservative plan for Wisconsin's future. The 1848 Project will build the plan by executing three comprehensive strategies:


By traveling the state and meeting people where they are – in their own workplaces, communities, and activities, we engage people in their most comfortable, confident environments. The 1848 Project will proactively solicit Wisconsinites' biggest challenges and struggles, hopes and dreams, and their thoughts on how to create a brighter future for the state. The 1848 Project will search for consistencies and commonalities across geography and demographics to determine policy priorities for the FORWARD AGENDA. As parts 2 and 3 of the 1848 Project Mission unfold, the "Listening and Learning" strategy will continue as events and popular culture often change people's most pressing concerns. Listening to the people of Wisconsin should never be a "one time" thing...it should be frequent and intentional.


Wisconsin already has some of the finest conservative think tanks in America. There are other Midwestern policy institutions that focus on heartland issues and still others across the country and world that offer in-depth research and policy solutions for some of the challenges faced by Wisconsin's people. The goal of the 1848 Project is not to replicate research or duplicate policy development efforts – it is to find the best evidence-based strategies to solve problems and reach Wisconsinites' most aspirational goals. The 1848 Project will identify Wisconsinites' most pressing concerns and hopes by listening and learning, then comb through the best data, statistics and policy prescriptions to identify the best solutions for our state. When the 1848 Project determines no research, white papers, or solutions exist on a pressing topic, the 1848 Project team will undertake the effort to produce a solution. The accumulated policy ideas will form the FORWARD AGENDA, the conservative plan for Wisconsin's future


While the 1848 Project will be continuously engaging in input solicitation, after the FORWARD AGENDA is built, the listening and learning efforts of the project will develop a third and robust purpose: communicating the agenda and building support for this conservative plan for Wisconsin's future. The 1848 Project will seek approval and enthusiasm for the agenda among traditional conservative, Republican and right-leaning groups, as well as Wisconsin's workers, families, grassroots leaders, and particular interest communities. The FORWARD AGENDA is intended to be a well-rounded set of conservative policy pillars to be used by all public servants and communities seeking a better tomorrow for their neighbors.


Charles Nichols

Executive Director

Colleen Coyle

Development Director

Alec Zimmerman

Communications Director

Kristen Nupson

Operations Director

Daniel Suhr

Senior Advisor


Richard W. Graber

Former United States Ambassador

Eloise Anderson

Fmr. Secretary, WI Dept. of Children and Families

Donald Zietlow

President & Chief Executive Officer, Kwik Trip Inc.

Reginald Newson

Vice President & Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Wisconsin

Lou Gentine

Chairman, Sargento Foods Inc.

Linda Prehn

Owner, Prehn Cranberry Company

Ronald G. Wanek

Founder & Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries

Eva Dahl, DDS, MS

Board Certified Endodontist, Past-President, Wisconsin Dental Association

Mary Buestrin

National Committeewomen, Republican National Committee

Fred Young

Former Owner & CEO, Young Radiator Company

Kelly Ruh, MBA

Asst. Financial Controller, Bay Family of Companies

Greg Chesmore

Vice President, U.S. Policy & Government Affairs, Bristol Myers Squibb

Tim Michels

Vice President, Michels Corporation

Kathy Kopp

President, Building Platteville, Inc.

Dr. Kenneth Harris

Assistant Dean of Professional Development, Concordia University

Carlo Davila

Detective (Ret.), Milwaukee Police Department

Judie Couri

President, Couri Insurance Agency

Ben Niehaus

Superintendent, School District of Florence County

Stephan Thompson

President, Battleground Strategies, Inc.

Julie Grace

Public Policy Analyst

Scott Jensen

Former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker

*Advisory board members’ participation is in a personal capacity only. Titles do not imply company affiliation or endorsement.