Todd Berry | wisconsinacademy.org
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Todd Berry

Wisconsin Academy Fellow Induction Year: 2018
Political Scientist
Area of Expertise:

Todd A. Berry has devoted much of his public life to promoting civil discourse and good government. He fervently believes, as did the founders, that representative government only thrives when citizens are well informed and actively involved. For a quarter century, Berry headed Wisconsin’s only statewide charity dedicated solely to nonpartisan policy research and civic education, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). In that capacity, Berry visited every corner of the state to teach and inform the public, press, and public officials about state and local government. He is widely recognized for his unusual ability to explain complex issues in a clear, objective, and easy-to-understand manner.

His efforts included over 1,700 lectures delivered to community, government, and business organizations, and more than 700 published analyses and articles in WISTAX research publications, state and national newspapers, magazines, and journals. He also contributed to and edited the state’s only K-12 civics text on state and local government, the Framework of Your Wisconsin Government, now in its 19th edition.

A go-to resource for the press corps, Berry does scores of newspaper interviews and broadcast appearances each year. He was a frequent guest “expert” on Wisconsin Public Television and Radio, as well as on WisconsinEye and numerous commercial stations. He jokes that he may be the only person ever criticized on live, statewide TV by governors of opposing parties.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel once called Berry “a person of quick mind and restrained temperament.”  The Green Bay Press-Gazette observed that “few people can measure Wisconsin’s pulse as well as Todd Berry,” and the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram praised him as “a tax guru . . . trying to explain tax policy in language we can understand.”

Berry’s public service also included:  director of a gubernatorial “Blue Ribbon” Tax Reform Commission, state Assistant Revenue Secretary, Dane County supervisor, member of the Jefferson School Board and CESA #2 Board of Control, and 14 years as a trustee of North Central College (IL). He was appointed to numerous gubernatorial, agency, and legislative task forces and study committees.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UW-Madison, Berry went on to earn master’s degrees from Harvard, where he was a national HUD fellow and then a Woodrow Wilson Foundation administrative fellow, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, which named him its top marketing graduate in 1990. Later in his professional life, Todd wrote an award-winning dissertation and earned a PhD in educational policy and finance from UW-Madison.

Berry is married to former UW System vice-president and State Rep. Margaret Lewis. They have three adult children—a dissertator in human-computer interaction, a professional artist, and an organic farmer—as well as a headstrong Welsh Corgi. In his free time, Todd is an aspiring painter and 3-D artist, perennial gardener, and foreign language masochist.

 

Updated: 4/6/2018

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