Stephanie Smith has been named the Alabama Policy Institute’s (API) 3rd president and CEO, succeeding Caleb Crosby.
According to the institute, Crosby has informed the board that he is stepping down.
Crosby was named President and CEO of API in August 2014, succeeding the long-standing leadership of its co-founder, current U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer.
Crosby moved the organization toward spreading conservative messaging through a multimedia strategy. Under Crosby, API launched the conservative outlets Rightside Radio and 1819 News. In addition, API created the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (ACLL) aimed at giving Alabama conservatives a voice in the judicial system.
“It has been an honor to lead API in its ongoing pursuit to be the premier resource for conservative policy ideas in the state,” Crosby said. “Building upon the accomplishments of the past, API and its subsidiaries have asserted themselves as the authority and voice of conservative principles for the State of Alabama.”
“Caleb has been an incredibly innovative leader for API; his years of service have benefitted API and the legacy of his work will benefit the entire state,” said board chairman Richard Stimpson.
The API Board has named Stephanie Smith as Crosby’s successor. Smith’s professional experience includes serving as director of governmental affairs for Regions Financial, president of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, assistant director of finance for the State of Alabama, deputy director of finance for the State of Alabama, and as principal of the Thatcher Coalition.
“Stephanie has been working alongside the API team since 2021. She brings a wealth of political knowledge and decades of practical policy experience to the team,” Stimpson said. “Stephanie is a stalwart for the principles upon which API was founded: free markets, limited government, and strong families.”
Through 1819 News and her Thatcher Coalition blog, Smith has shared her takes on recent conservative issues.
In a March 2022 opinion for 1819 news, Smith criticizes Republican leaders in the Legislature, saying the party is suffering “an identity crisis.”
She criticizes the party for allowing the continued use of Social Emotional Learning and Critical Race Theory in the classroom. She says the party failed to live up to its platform by allowing churches to be shuttered during the Covid-19 pandemic and for allowing citizens to be forced to take Covid vaccines to keep their jobs. She criticized lawmakers for allowing school choice bills to be “poisoned” and gutted by the AEA.
She also pointed to failures to curtail state budgets, and asked how the passage of the gas tax aligns with the party’s platform to support lower and fair tax models. And she criticized the state for implementing its own standards based on the Common Core curriculum.
“It’s clear that Stephanie is the right person to serve as the next President and CEO of API,” said Tom Bradford, founding board chairman. “She is grounded in her faith and articulates the positions of the conservative movement with precision and passion.”
“I am honored by the confidence of API’s leadership and look forward to building upon the successes of the organization by actively engaging elected officials and other Alabamians in substantive public policy conversations,” Smith said. “The mission and vision of API are sound and it is my privilege to have the opportunity to champion conservative principles statewide.”