NEW ORLEANS – Today, The Pelican Institute for Public Policy announced the launch of the Kevin Kane Center for Opportunity Policy. The Kane Center has formed to promote solutions to reduce poverty and remove barriers to opportunity so that every Louisianan has the opportunity to flourish. In particular, the Center’s work will focus on issues like occupational licensure reform, workforce development, smart criminal justice policy, and social safety net reform.

The Kane Center honors the life and legacy of Pelican Institute founder and longtime CEO, Kevin Kane. Kevin returned to New Orleans in 2008 to launch the Institute to produce solutions to some of the state’s biggest challenges and to be a strong voice for free markets and their role in human flourishing in Louisiana.

Under Kevin’s leadership, the Institute played an important role providing research and solutions on education reform, tax and fiscal policy, healthcare policy, and energy reform among others. Perhaps Kevin’s greatest legacy is the passage of the landmark Justice Reinvestment Initiative in 2017, just after his untimely passing in 2016.

The Kane Center will be led by new Pelican team member Raheem Williams, an economist known for his work as a specialist in the field of opportunity policy. Before joining the Pelican Institute team, Williams was a Policy Analyst for the Reason Foundation and served as an Economic Research Specialist in North Dakota before that.

“In order to write Louisiana’s comeback story, it is imperative that we work to remove government roadblocks that keep Louisianans locked in cycles of poverty. The Kane Center is devoted to helping Louisianans seize the opportunity to work and provide for their families. By freeing people from burdens of occupational licensing, continuing to reform criminal justice policies, and taking a hard look at our social safety net, our leaders can make Louisiana a place that everyone can flourish.” Raheem Williams, the new Director of the Kevin Kane Center for Opportunity Policy, said.

“Kevin was a visionary leader whose legacy lives on in the work of the Pelican Institute. The launch of a Center in his honor will ensure many more lives are touched by Kevin’s work and those of us who continue it after him,” said Stephen Gele, Chairman of the Pelican Institute.

The Pelican Institute believes every person should have the opportunity to flourish. The Institute’s mission is to research and develop policy solutions to address the most significant barriers to opportunity in Louisiana. We educate the public about the benefits of individual liberty and free enterprise, turning great ideas into powerful policy solutions that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.