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Government Relations Director

Posted: May 22, 2019
The Government Relations Director is Heartland’s main liaison with elected officials.
To apply: Please send your resume and related materials to
  • The Position

    The Government Relations Director is responsible for advancing The Heartland Institute’s mission of discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems by encouraging legislators to embrace free-market ideas and principals. He or she is Heartland’s main liaison with elected officials.

    The position reports to the Executive Vice President and interacts as a peer with other department directors.

  • Background

    The Heartland Institute is a 35-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. It has a full-time staff of 39 (W2 and independent contractors), an annual budget of approximately $6.8 million, and a nationwide donor base.

    Heartland is a libertarian “think tank” whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Specifically, it hopes to encourage more elected officials to embrace the following free-market ideas:

    #   Dramatically reduce to cost of protecting the environment by replacing environmental regulations with free-market alternatives and by ensuring that what regulations remain are based on sound science and economics.

    #   Reduce taxes, government spending, and government borrowing at the national, state, and local levels.

    #   Urge states to innovate with policies that promote consumer-driven health care rather than simply accepting Obamacare.

    #   Transform elementary and secondary education in America by breaking the public school monopoly over public funding, empowering parents to choose the schools their children attend and making schools compete for students.

    #   Amend the U.S. Constitution to reinstate the limits on the national government’s power to tax, spend, regulate, and borrow that the Founders believed they put in place in 1787.

    Heartland is the only free-market think tank that...

    #   targets the nation’s 7,300 state elected officials, sending them a publication on average once every week,

    #   focuses on effectively marketing the work of other free-market groups (not only its own research),

  • Objectives

    Principal activities of the Government Relations Director include:

    #   Manage department staff so that each state government relations manager contacts directly, by phone or email or face-to-face meeting, at least 80 elected officials every week; determine appropriate output measures for other government relations (GR) staff and senior fellows and manage for results.

    #   Oversee the creation of weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports on how our activities led to the introduction, consideration, passage, or defeat of legislation. If it isn’t reported, it never happened.

    #   Identify opportunities to advance our legislative agenda and prioritize and strategize our activities for maximum impact. Identify and contact legislative leaders in states where we are most likely to achieve our goals, and find the best way to reach them with our information, experts, and services.

    #   Help the GR staff and senior fellows quickly and professionally assemble the information elected officials ask for and have it in their hands, either by email or mail, within 24 hours of a request being received.

    #   Participate in ALEC, NCSL, CSG, National League of Cities, and other national membership organizations for state and local elected officials. Decide which task forces we should join, plan who from Heartland attends these meetings, try to get Heartland spokespersons or allies on their programs, and make sure the relationship is worked.

    #   Expand membership in The Legislative Forum at The Heartland Institute, a membership program whereby elected officials pay dues to received priority attention from Heartland staff, by overseeing the design and production of promotional material, distribution of the same, and effective follow-up. Oversee the invoicing and collection of dues.

    #   Plan, promote, and implement conferences, seminars, and receptions for legislative advisors in conjunction with meetings of national membership organizations for state legislators, other think tanks and advocacy groups, or on a stand-alone basis.

    #   Solicit endorsements from legislators and write up summaries of legislative accomplishments to print in QPR Newsletter and to share with donors and allies.

    #   Recommend to the Executive Vice President whether Heartland should join coalitions and sign open letters regarding pending legislation.

    #   Track activities that constitute lobbying (urging elected officials to cast a yes or no vote on pending legislation or urging voters to tell elected officials to vote a certain way on pending legislation) and report quarterly the time and expense.

  • Required Skills

    #   Experience working in the government relations department of a free-market think tank, trade association, or corporation, or having spent time on the staff of an elected official.

    #   Must be eager to talk to elected officials by phone, to understand their needs and act quickly to provide what they want.

    #   Strong familiarity with public policy issues in the state arena and able to articulate free market positions on those issues

    #   Demonstrated ability to manage and motivate others in a team environment

    #   Strong writing skills demonstrated by extensive writing samples

    #   Experience using Salesforce, KnowWho, or similar software to track outreach is preferred.

  • Salary & Benefits

    Salary. Commensurate with experience, payable biweekly or monthly. Performance reviews are conducted quarterly.

    Hours and location of work. The Director of Government Relations position is a salaried full-time position requiring 40+ hours per week. Hours are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm with an hour for lunch. Office is in Arlington Heights, IL.

    Benefits: Health insurance currently provided by Aetna available to full-time employees. The employer pays 62 percent of premiums and offers a choice of two plans, a low-deductible plan and a high-deductible plan with health savings accounts (HSAs). Employees who choose high-deductible plans also receive annual cash deposits into their HSAs of $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families.

    Employer pays for life and disability insurance and fees for a 401(k)plan. Employer does not match employee contributions to 401(k) plans at this time.

    During the first year of employment, full-time employees earn 10 paid days off after their 90-day probationary period. During years 2 and 3, employees earn 12 paid days off each year. During years 4, 5 and 6 employees earn 15 paid days off. During years 7, 8 and 9 employees earn 17 paid days off. During year 10 and above employees earn 20 paid days off each year.

General Careers Information 

Join a full-time staff of 35 dedicated men and women discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems!

Please read our Reply to Critics for the truth about our funding, tactics, and positions on controversial issues.

This position requires adherence to The Heartland Institute's Quality Standards for Heartland Publications.

We actively recruit graduates of colleges and universities that receive a grade of “A” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).


For questions about applying for this opening, please contact 

2018 By the Numbers

See what sets Heartland apart:
82% of state elected officials read Heartland publications
of state elected officials read one or more Heartland newspapers "sometimes" or "always."
45% of elected officials say Heartland led to a change in policy
of state elected officials say a Heartland publication influenced their opinions or led to a change in public policy.
3.2 Million
the number of times Heartland's six podcasts were downloaded in 2018
184 issues
of weekly e-newsletters sent to subscribers across the country
158 events
that Heartland hosted, attended, or spoke at, reaching over 34,000 guests in 2018.
100,000 fans
on Facebook posting and reposting over 1 million times a week