IRG Expands Again: Two New Cabinet-Level Officials Join Growing Policy Team

Sep 20, 2022 | Press Release

MADISON, WI. – Today, the team of experts at the Institute for Reforming Government (IRG) announced the hiring of Elizabeth Evenson as Senior Policy and Operations Advisor. They also announced the addition of Patrick Hughes as Fellow in Corrections and Public Safety. The addition of Evenson and Hughes, both cabinet-level officials within Gov. Walker’s administration, marks the latest in a string of hires made by the group to build their already robust policy shop.


Hughes brings a depth of experience to the IRG team in matters of both criminal justice and public safety. He previously served as Assistant Deputy Secretary and Division Administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and as a Policy Advisor in the Office of Gov. Walker. Patrick is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and a graduate of Marquette University Law School and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Evenson brings both public and private sector experience specializing in operational efficiency and accountability. Her state government experience includes working in former Gov.Walker’s Administration as his Appointments Director; a Division Administrator for Policy Development at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services; and a cabinet-level position at the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. Most recently, Elizabeth  worked in the private sector advising on revenue cycle management for healthcare providers with a specialty in vendor accountability, efficiency and compliance.

“Elizabeth and Patrick bring great experience and expertise to the team and will be instrumental in helping grow our already wide policy footprint. With both of their robust administrative backgrounds, they will provide an invaluable perspective into developing reforms on some of the most pressing issues of the day. IRG is at the forefront of conducting comprehensive research and analysis of state agencies, developing reforms that expand opportunities for Wisconsinites while making Wisconsin a national leader in conservative governance. Adding these two great minds expands that expertise.” – CJ Szafir, President and CEO of the Institute for Reforming Government


In just two years, IRG has grown from one full-time employee to seven, in addition to five policy fellows. IRG President CJ Szafir noted how these successes are only possible because of the generosity of IRG’s supporters and leadership of the IRG Board of Directors.
“I’m thrilled to be on the team at IRG. Looking ahead, Wisconsin has numerous policy challenges that we’re ready to take head-on to ensure every Wisconsinite can succeed. As the economy struggles, IRG will be ensuring positive policy solutions are proposed.” – Elizabeth Evenson, Senior Policy and Operations Advisor of the Institute for Reforming Government

“I’m excited to bring my background of public safety and administrative expertise to IRG. Wisconsin is facing a rising crime problem due to a misguided approach by the government, and it’s going to take real policy solutions to get us back on track.” – Patrick Hughes, Fellow in Corrections and Public Safety of the Institute for Reforming Government


Along with Szafir and Evenson, IRG’s full-time team includes Chris Reader, Executive Vice President; Madison Hartmann, Director of External Affairs; Quinton Klabon, Senior Research Director; Ed Eberle as Director of Environmental Policy and Project Manager; and Alex Ignatowski, Director of State Budget and Government Reform.

The Institute for Reforming Government is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that seeks to simplify government at every level by offering policy solutions to thought leaders in American government in the areas of tax reform, government inefficiency, and burdensome regulations.

To learn more about the Institute for Reforming Government, click here.