Garrett Ballengee

President & CEO

Garrett Ballengee joined the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, a nonprofit research organization or “think tank” located in West Virginia, in 2015 as its first employee and is now the President & CEO.

A winner of the 2022 Buckley Award, member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network, and proud George Washington Statesmanship Fellow with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Garrett believes the foundational ideas of freedom will lead West Virginia to achieve a “West Virginia Miracle.

Under Garrett’s leadership, the Cardinal Institute won one of two top prizes for the Atlas Network’s Investors Summit for Liberty “Smart Bets 2020” competition, became one of six worldwide finalists for the prestigious Templeton Freedom Award in 2021, and was a finalist for the Bob Williams Award for Outstanding Policy Achievement for Cardinal’s work on education choice in West Virginia. He considers the passing of the Hope Scholarship ESA program for K-12 education to be his proudest moment as a liberty advocate. Additionally, under his leadership, the State Policy Network honored the Cardinal Institute with the 2023 Bob Williams Awards for Biggest Home State Win for its work ushering in the largest tax cut in West Virginia history.

A native of Parkersburg, W.Va., Garrett graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Finance from West Virginia University, Honors College, in 2009. Garrett was also a recipient of the WVU Foundation’s prestigious “Outstanding Senior” award, an award given to no more than the top 1% of graduating seniors from West Virginia University. He received his M.A. in Financial Economics from Ohio University in 2011.

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The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy works alongside Mountaineers to build a West Virginia Miracle founded on economic freedom, education freedom, worker freedom, and a culture of freedom enshrined in the state motto: Mountaineers are Always Free.

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