The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP) seeks to improve the quality of life for all Kentuckians through research, analysis and education on important policy issues facing the Commonwealth. KCEP produces research on timely issues; promotes public conversation about those issues through media and presentations; and advocates to decision makers on the need for policies that move all Kentuckians forward.
KCEP launched in 2011 and is a project of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). MACED is a community development organization that seeks to create economic alternatives that work for people and places in eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia. Founded in 1976, MACED’s efforts include promoting enterprise development through capital investment and capacity building; operating demonstration programs that test new development ideas; and conducting research on public policy issues.
KCEP is a member of the State Priorities Partnership, a national network of organizations that work to address state tax and budget issues and their impact on low- and moderate-income families. The State Priorities Partnership is coordinated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. KCEP is also a member of the Working Poor Families Project and the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN).
Jason Bailey, Executive Director
Jason Bailey is founder and Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He is the author of numerous reports and analyses of economic and fiscal issues facing the Commonwealth going back to 1998. Jason appears frequently in the media and is a regular speaker to civic organizations on policies that would move Kentucky forward. His public service includes appointments to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System Funding Work Group. He has a master’s in public administration with a specialization in public finance from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman College.
Anna Baumann, Senior Policy Analyst
Anna Baumann is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. She joined the staff in February 2013. In her work she focuses on state and federal taxes, jobs, the economy and workers’ rights. Previously, Anna worked in the Episcopal Church and in faith-based, non-profit organizations advocating for economic and social justice. She and her family are small business owners of Lazy Eight Stock Farm in Paint Lick. Anna has a master’s in Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa and a bachelor’s in English from Berry College in Rome, Georgia.
Ashley Spalding, Senior Policy Analyst
Ashley Spalding is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. She joined the staff in October 2011. Ashley has conducted research on social and economic policies affecting low-income families for over 15 years. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research projects at the University of South Florida focused on low-income housing and education, respectively. Ashley holds a PhD in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida, an MA in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina and a BA in English from Samford University. She is a Kentucky native.
Kenny Colston, Communications Director
Kenny Colston is the Communications Director for Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Kenny joined the team in March 2015, after spending the previous five years as a political journalist and editor. Kenny has received many state and regional awards for his work in politics, sports and other areas of journalism. His writing has been cited by the New York Times, Washington Post and several other national outlets. Kenny has a bachelor’s of science in journalism, with a political science minor, from the University of Kentucky.
Sarah Zeller, Campaign Coordinator
Sarah Zeller is the Campaign Coordinator for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, joining the staff in May 2015. Sarah previously worked as the State Director of Ohio Voice, a nonprofit focused on coordinating organizations working to increase the participation of underrepresented communities in our democracy. She has also worked in the Ohio Legislature and as the Legislative Liaison for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. Sarah has an MA in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University, and a BA in Political Science and BS in Education from Bowling Green State University. Sarah serves on the School-Based Decision Making Council as a parent representative and as the PTA Secretary for Clays Mill Elementary in Lexington.
Dustin Pugel, Policy Analyst
Dustin Pugel is a Policy Analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He joined the staff in October 2015. Dustin previously worked for BUILD in Lexington, Kentucky where he trained churches to identify, research and advocate for policy solutions to local community problems. He also provided policy research assistance for the Kentucky Council for Developmental Disabilities. He has a BA in History from Asbury University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Kentucky.
Pam Thomas, Senior Fellow
Pam Thomas is Senior Fellow at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. She joined the staff in January 2017 after a long career in state government. Prior to joining KCEP, Pam was the Committee Staff Administrator for the Appropriations and Revenue Committee of the Kentucky General Assembly. Pam has extensive experience in the areas of tax policy, budgeting, education finance and workforce policy. Pam also spent some time with the state Justice Cabinet, with a focus on juvenile justice, policy development, budgeting and strategic planning. Pam has a law degree from the University of Kentucky, and a BS in business from St. Bonaventure University in New York. Pam lives in Midway with her husband and enjoys spending time with family, traveling and riding bicycles.
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