Darcy Olsen
Key Player

President and CEO, the Goldwater InstituteDarcy Olsen is president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. During her tenure, the Institute has twice been named Arizona’s “Best Capitol Watchdog” by the Arizona Capitol Times.

Olsen joined the Goldwater Institute in 2001 as executive director and became president the following year. She previously served as director of education policy at the Cato Institute. Olsen currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona School Choice Trust, a scholarship organization helping low-income families.

In a 2008 Arizona Republic interview on the occasion of the Goldwater Institute’s 20th anniversary, Olsen pointed to education reform as one area where the Institute has been especially influential. “Fifteen years ago, the debate about education reform wasn’t really about reform, it was about how much more do we need to spend,” said Olsen. “Today, you don’t have a conversation about improving education that doesn’t include some kind of school-choice option, whether that’s expanding charter schools or more vouchers.”

Olsen traces the success of the Goldwater Institute to its strong advocacy of its limited government agenda while being respectful of those who oppose its policies. “No one is going to agree 100 percent of the time,” she says, “But being honest and charitable and open-minded in discussion ultimately brings everyone closer to consensus.”

Darcy Olsen has been a guest on the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” and the former Dennis Miller Show, and on National Public Radio. Her opinion pieces have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Review.