Archives: Our Team

Miranda Bonifield

Research Associate and Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon Program Assistant

Oregon native Miranda Bonifield is Cascade Policy Institute’s Research Associate and Program Assistant for the Children’s Scholarship Fund- Oregon. When she’s not researching for Cascade, she can be found studying history, coaching a team policy debate club, or teaching middle school girls in her local church.

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Bobbie Jager

School Choice Outreach Coordinator

Bobbie Jager is Cascade Policy Institute’s School Choice Outreach Coordinator. A mother of 13 and grandmother of 17, Bobbie was named Oregon’s “Mother of the Year” in 2012. Bobbie is an energetic advocate for educational choice for all Oregon children and previously served as the founding executive director of Building Excellent Schools Together (BEST), a nonpartisan organization committed to parent empowerment and increasing the options for education delivery in our public school system.

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Janet Van Gilder

Executive Assistant

Janet Van Gilder joined Cascade Policy Institute in 2017 as Cascade’s Executive Assistant. Janet holds a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership from Warner Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. She worked as an engineer for several companies in Michigan and Texas and raised two children in Oregon. A dedicated volunteer, Janet also has an AAS in Gerontology from PCC.

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Kathryn Hickok

Kathryn Hickok joined Cascade Policy Institute in June 2005. She is Executive Vice President and Director of Cascade’s scholarship program for low-income children, the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon.

As Executive Vice President, Kathryn manages Cascade’s print and online material and oversees development operations, donor relations, and events. As Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon, Kathryn manages program operations, development, and donor relations for this nonprofit scholarship program. She also writes and speaks on school choice and religious freedom issues.

Kathryn coauthored former Cascade board member Larry Dennis’s book, 15 Leadership Principles and Ronald Reagan: Use Them to Change Your World. Her articles for Cascade have been published in print and online in statewide, local, and national media.

Kathryn is a frequent guest on talk radio shows in the Portland, Salem, Central Oregon, and Southern Oregon radio markets, and at local grassroots events, on the subjects of education reform, school choice, and religious freedom. In 2013 she was invited to present a guest lecture at George Fox University as part of its Liberal Arts and Critical Issues lecture series.

Kathryn graduated with honors from the University of Portland with a degree in English and a minor in French. She edited the University’s student literary journal, UP Writers, and served as a foreign language textbook editor for a member of the faculty. A winner of several writing competitions, she was the only high school student to win Cascade’s Independence Essay Competition twice.

Kathryn has been a college-level French tutor, volunteer teacher, and choreographer for ballet students. She held several positions of leadership in a local service organization for young women.

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Eric Fruits

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. joined Cascade Policy Institute in 2019 as Vice President of Research.

Eric has been a long-time academic advisor and contributing analyst for Cascade. As Vice President of Research, he leads Cascade’s policy team and serves as an expert analyst of Oregon state and local public policy issues.

As a consulting economist, Eric Fruits has produced numerous research studies involving economic analysis, financial modeling, and statistical analysis. As an expert witness, he has provided testimony in state, federal, and international courts. He has written peer-reviewed articles on initial public offerings, the municipal bond market, real estate markets, and the formation and operation of cartels. His economic analysis has been widely cited and has been published in The EconomistThe Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  He is also an adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University.

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John A. Charles, Jr.

John Charles was named President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute in May, 2005. Cascade is a free-market think tank working to promote individual liberty, economic opportunity, and personal responsibility.

Mr. Charles initially joined Cascade in 1997 as Environmental Policy Director. His research has focused on transportation, land use, and free-market environmentalism. He is a frequent keynote speaker and guest lecturer, especially on the subject of growth management, and has traveled to 24 states to discuss this issue. Mr. Charles authored a chapter on the Portland experience in the book, A Citizen’s Guide to Smart Growth, co-published by the Heritage Foundation and Property and the Environment Research Center. He has also been published in newspapers around the country including The OregonianPittsburgh Times-ReviewHartford Courant, and Seattle Times.

Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Charles was executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council for 17 years. During that time he served on dozens of local, state and federal commissions and advisory boards related to environmental protection. Charles was also an active participant in Oregon legislative proceedings, and helped author numerous environmental statutes in the areas of forest management, toxic substances, air pollution, watershed restoration, and transportation.

Mr. Charles received a B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1976 and an M.P.A. degree from Portland State University in 1990.

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