The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a non-partisan, ideologically conservative , non-profit 501(c)(3) membership association of state legislators and private sector policy advocates. Among other activities, the group assists its members in developing "model laws" for state legislatures and serves as an easy-networking tool for fellow legislators to research how certain policy projects and problems have been handled in other states. ALEC has approximately 2,000 legislative members representing all 50 states, as well as more than 85 members of Congress and 14 sitting or former Governors who are considered "ALEC alumni". While the alumni elected to the United States Congress and as Governors are almost exclusively Republican  , around one third of ALEC's legislative members are members of the Democratic Party.
ALEC's mission statement is to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a non-partisan, public-private partnership between America’s state legislators and concerned members of the private sector, policy experts and the general public.
ALEC brings state lawmakers and business people together to substantively create policy. Both public and private task force members have a voice and a vote in shaping policy. In addition to the over 2,000 state lawmakers that are members of ALEC, there are also around 300 corporate, foundation, and other private sector members.
The chairmanship of ALEC is a rotating position, with a new legislator appointed to the position each year. The current chair of ALEC is Speaker William J. Howell of the Virginia House of Delegates. Day-to-day operations are run from ALEC's Washington, D.C. office by an Executive Director and a staff of around 30.
More than thirty years ago, a small group of state legislators and conservative policy advocates met in Chicago to implement a vision: A nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Their vision and initiative resulted in the creation of a voluntary membership association for people who believed that government closest to the people was fundamentally more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C.
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