RAND Gulf States Policy Institute Opens First Office in Jackson, Mississippi

For Release

March 20, 2006

The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute has opened its administrative office in Jackson, Miss., RAND Corporation President and CEO James A. Thomson announced today. The Institute plans to open other offices in the region as well.

“The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute will help find the most effective solutions to the long-term challenges faced by the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as these states recover from the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” Thomson said.

George Penick, former president of the Foundation for the Mid South, began work March 13 as the new institute's first director.

“I'm extremely pleased with the RAND Corporation's decision to open its Gulf States Institute office in the Jackson area,” said U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi. “The RAND Corporation will provide much-needed support to address the region's post-Katrina affordable housing crisis. It is a relief to know that a corporation with such an impeccable reputation for quality research and development is willing to lend a hand to Mississippi. Until now, our problems with data collection have been overlooked. I am confident that the RAND Corporation will be able to fill this void. This data is vital to restoring our battered and bruised Mississippi Gulf Coast and will be essential in securing funds to rebuild."

The institute released its first major report March 15 – the most detailed estimate to date of the likely rate at which residents may return to New Orleans. The study was prepared at the request of the Bring New Orleans Back Commission and is designed to help government officials plan the city's rebuilding. RAND used charitable donations and funds earned on contracts to provide funding for the study. A second report will follow soon on affordable housing needs in Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina.

RAND created the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute in December with seven universities to develop a long-term vision and strategy to help build a better future for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The universities working with the institute are: Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi in that state; Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and Xavier University in Louisiana; and Tuskegee University and the University of South Alabama in that state.

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