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John Tillman

Illinois Policy Institute
Chief Executive Officer
John Tillman is one of the nation’s most prominent leaders in the free market public policy arena. As CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, John recruits and leads a talented team of leaders, experts and advocates to advance reforms that can spur Illinois’ comeback story.

In addition to leading the relaunch of the Illinois Policy Institute 501(c)(3) in 2007, John founded Illinois Policy 501(c)(4) and the Liberty Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) public-interest law firm.
John advocates on behalf of the powerless against the powerful special interests in Illinois. His leadership has been instrumental in making the Illinois Policy Institute a leading voice in Illinois on criminal justice reform, pension reform, budget and tax policies, and issues concerning jobs and growth.

In 2018, the Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center shared the Bob Williams Award for “Biggest Win” in recognition of the U.S. Supreme Court victory in Janus v. AFSCME. The case overturned a 41-year-old precedent and restored the First Amendment rights of 5 million workers nationwide.

John’s success has become a model for liberty-focused organizations across the country. John is frequently asked to consult with other nonprofits on fundraising, leadership, marketing and organizational strategy.

In 2011, John won the State Policy Network’s prestigious Roe Award for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy. This annual award pays tribute to those in the state-based public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free market philosophy.