1010 N Tennessee St
Advocates Board of Directors
(in alphabetical order)
DIANE BAST, Board Member Since August 2009
Diane Carol Bast (Palatine, IL) joined The Heartland Institute as publications director in February 1987. She has worn numerous hats in the organization since then and was named executive editor in January 2008.
Diane is executive editor of Heartland’s serial publications—School Reform News, Environment & Climate News, Health Care News, Budget & Tax News, InfoTech & Telecom News, and The Heartlander. She also edits and oversees the production of all books, policy studies, and other publications produced by The Heartland.
She has edited or written more than 120 studies and eight books on state and local public policy, including Why We Spend Too Much on Health Care (1993), Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism (1994), Antitrust after Microsoft: The Obsolescence of Antitrust in the Digital Era (2001), and Emerging Issues 2006 (2006).
Since September 1998, Diane has managed Heartland’s many Web sites, overseeing regular redesigns, improvements to their functionality, and marketing and optimization.
She is also Heartland’s bookkeeper, managing the organization’s $7 million budget, working with Heartland’s outside accountant on the annual audit, and helping to draft the organization’s annual budget. She is also Heartland’s chief compliance officer.
Prior to joining The Heartland Institute, Diane was coeditor of the bimonthly libertarian magazine Nomos. The oldest of six kids, she’s an avid Green Bay Packers fan, yet holds no animosity toward Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in criminal justice and constitutional law from the University of Wisconsin. She and her husband of 28 years, Joseph (who is president and CEO of The Heartland Institute), reside in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.
KEN BISSON, MD, Board Member Since October 2003, Secretary Since May 2009
Ken Bisson (Angola, Indiana) has been active in the libertarian movement for more than two decades. He was a founding member of the Advocates, an early Chairman of the Advocates, and then served as Chair again from 2006-2009.
In 1988, he ran for Indiana State Representative as a Libertarian, and for U.S. House in 1996. Ken was elected to the Libertarian National Committee in 1998 as the Region 3 Representative, and in 2000 as an At-Large Member. From 2001 to 2004, he served as Vice Chair of the U.S. Libertarian Party. He is the long-standing Chairman of the Steuben County Libertarian Party.
Professionally, Ken is a "Peer Review" consultant for Cameron Hospital in Indiana. He is the medical director of Results Weight Loss, Inc. a Naples, Florida based company which combines balanced nutrition and individual nutrition coaching to help people lose weight. He is also the owner of, and an accredited cruise counselor for Freedom Cruises, where he plans annual libertarian cruises. He received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, and has practiced general medicine for over 25 years.
Locally, Ken serves his community as a member of the Finance Committee of the local Community Foundation. He enjoys Tournament Duplicate Bridge, playing golf, and sailing with his wife Ellen. More of Ken's time is being spent each year as "devoted grandpa," a favorite role.
SHARON HARRIS, President / CEO, Board Member Since May 1995
Sharon Harris (Rydal, Georgia) has been president of the Advocates since 1995. As the principal spokesperson for the Advocates, she conducts media interviews, hosts communication workshops, speaks to libertarian groups, and lectures before college political science classes.
She was the recipient of the National Libertarian Party's 2012 Thomas Jefferson Award.
Sharon has been active in the libertarian movement since the early 70s. She was co-founder of the Libertarian Party of Georgia in 1972 and a candidate for Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture in 1994 (winning over 300,000 votes).
Prior to being chosen as President of the Advocates, Sharon was a team-building trainer for businesses and organizations. Before that, she was owner and manager of a successful book indexing business for 17 years.
She also has worked as a free-lance writer, a magazine-article-writing instructor, managing editor of the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, and as a team-building trainer for businesses and organizations.
She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and a Master's Degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology. She also earned certification from the Association for Psychological Type for teaching, administering and interpreting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the world’s most widely used personality inventory.
Sharon is married to James W. Harris, has one grown daughter, and three wonderful grandchildren. Favorite things to do in leisure time: playing around with acrylic painting, watching movies, playing rummy or Phase Ten, Sudoku, reading a good novel, singing in the Etowah Valley Chorale.
JAMES W. LARK, III, PhD, Board Member Since October 2003, Chair Since May 2009
Jim Lark (Free Union, Virginia) has been a friend and supporter of the Advocates since its earliest days. A professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia, Jim also served as a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Public Choice (Va. Tech) and as the Earhart Foundation Visiting Fellow at the Center for Research in Government Policy and Business (University of Rochester). He was the national Chair of the U.S. Libertarian Party (2000-2002).
He currently serves on the Libertarian National Committee; in addition, he is vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, secretary of the Jefferson Area Libertarians (Charlottesville, Virginia), and advisor to several libertarian student groups at the University of Virginia.
He is the 2004 recipient of the Libertarian Party's Samuel Adams award (given to the most outstanding activist) and the Libertarian Party's Thomas Jefferson award (the Party's highest honor, given for lifetime achievement). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Individual Liberty and the Board of Advisors of Students for Liberty.
When not homebrewing beer, serving as gourmet chef, or following British Premiership League soccer, he helps organize libertarian student groups around the country.
CHRIS RUFER, Board Member Since May 2007
Chris Rufer (Sacramento, California) founded The Morning Star Company in 1970 as a one-truck owner-operator, hauling tomatoes to other canneries. Today, Morning Star accounts for over 25% of the California processing tomato production, supplying 40% of the U.S. ingredient tomato paste and diced tomato markets.
MARK RUTHERFORD, Board Member Since November 2009
Mark W. Rutherford (Indianapolis, Indiana) is an attorney and shareholder of Thrasher Buschmann and Voelkel, P.C. in Indianapolis, Indiana. His practice focuses on business law and litigation, white collar criminal and administrative defense of businesses, and election law.
Professionally, he serves on the council of the Business Law Section of the Indiana State Bar Association and serves as its representative to the ABA Working Group on Opinion Letters, as well as on the faculty of the Trial Advocacy Skills College of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Foundation. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Association Foundation and a Fellow of the Indiana State Bar Foundation. He also has served on law school site visitation teams for the American Bar Association.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels appointed Mark to the Indiana Public Defender Commission in 2007 as a Libertarian. Soon thereafter, he was elected Chairman of the Commission and continues to serve on the Commission as Chairman.
Active in the community, Mark currently serves as the President of the Central Indiana Tennis Association, Inc. and as Vice President of Woodstock Club. He also is a director emeritus of the Valparaiso University School of Law National Council and has been on the Indianapolis Council of the Valparaiso School of Law since 2001. He is a past Chairman of the Police Athletic League of Indianapolis, Inc. (1994-96), the National Junior Tennis League of Indianapolis, Inc. (1998-2000) and a past President of the Lambda Chi Alpha Home Association of Wabash College, Inc. (1993-2001).
Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity recognized Mark in 2000 with its Order of Merit. The Order of Merit is the highest recognition given by Lambda Chi Alpha to its volunteers.
Mark has served both as a member of Libertarian National Committee and as its Vice Chair since 2010. He previously served on the Libertarian National Committee from 2001-06 and as State Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Indiana from 2000-07. He is Chairman and Founder of the libertarian Atlas!Liberty PAC, Inc.
Mark has been married over 20 years to Linda Hensley. They reside in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood of Indianapolis where they support a feral cat colony through the trap-neuter-return system of managing and limiting the feral cat population in large cities. Mark is an avid tennis and platform tennis player and enjoys weightlifting as well. He graduated from Wabash College and Valparaiso University School of Law. Mark has been a fan of the Chicago Cubs since he attended law school and thus is infinitely patient.
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MARSHALL FRITZ (1943-2008), Founder and Board Member Emeritus
Marshall Fritz founded the Advocates in 1985 and remained on the Board until his death. He is also the creator of the world-famous "World's Smallest Political Quiz."
In 1994, Marshall founded the Alliance for the Separation of School & State, which works to end state, federal, and local government involvement in K-12 schools. He was almost single-handedly responsible for bringing the phrase "separation of school and state" into the vernacular.
Previously, he served as president of the Pioneer Christian Academy and as executive director of the Libertarian Party of California. Marshall began his career at IBM in computer sales and design.
Marshall was born in California in 1943 and earned a B.A. from California State University Fullerton in 1964. A devout Catholic, he and his wife of 44 years, Joan, lived in Fresno, California. They had four grown children and a dozen grandchildren.
Read about Marshall.
GEORGE SCHWAPPACH (1953-2011), Board Member Emeritus
George Schwappach was on the Advocates Board since the beginning, and boasted of being the first Advocates member/supporter. He served as Chair from 1990 to 1992), and was founder and first president of the Advocates initial chapter, "Chapter One," in Ohio.
He was a past chairman of the San Joaquin County, CA (1982-84) and Taylor County, TX (1998-2001) Libertarian Party, was campaign manager for Debra Monde's bid for U.S. House (TX 17th District) in 2000, and was a Libertarian candidate for State Representative in 2002.
George was proud to tell people that he met Debra Monde using the Quiz at a dance hall in Columbus, Ohio.
He and Debra were the parents of four private-schooled sons, and they finalized their church wedding (in October, 1989) with an official marriage license on both their parents anniversaries, July 6th (2003). Debra Monde passed away in 2005, and George is on record as being the first known person to hand out the Quiz at a funeral service.
Professionally, George worked as a CFO, COO and President of various real estate development companies from coast to coast.
HARDY MACIA (1969-2013), Board Member Emeritus
Hardy Macia (Tilton, New Hampshire) was the founder and president of Catamount Software, a company that currently specializes in software development for the iPhone. In fact, he created a beautiful app of the World's Smallest Political Quiz.
Hardy was a long-time activist in the libertarian movement, who served on the Libertarian Party's National Committee and as an officer of county and state Libertarian Parties. He ran for office several times, including for Governor of Vermont and for U.S. Congress. He was active in the Free State Project and moved to New Hampshire as part of his commitment to that organization.
Hardy was an activist's activist and was working tirelessly for liberty up to the very end of his all-too-brief life. Read tributes to him..