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Get information on the history of Cascade, contact information, staff and more!
Senior Policy Analyst
Steve Buckstein helped found Cascade Policy Institute in January, 1991 and served as its president until 2004. As a senior policy analyst, he writes and speaks both in Oregon and nationally on several policy issues including education and Social Security reform.
Prior to founding Cascade, Steve coordinated the 1990 general election campaign for a citizens’ initiative which would have provided educational tax credits to every student in Oregon so they could choose public, private, religious or home schooling. Steve served on the board of Oregonians for Cost-Effective Government in 1987 and 1988 and was a 1988 candidate for Oregon State Treasurer.
Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and his Master’s of Business Administration from Oregon State University.
|John A. Charles, Jr.
President and CEO
John Charles was named President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute in May, 2005. Cascade is a free-market think tank working to promote individual liberty, economic opportunity, and personal responsibility.
Mr. Charles initially joined Cascade in 1997 as Environmental Policy Director. His research has focused on transportation, land use, and free-market environmentalism. He is a frequent keynote speaker and guest lecturer, especially on the subject of growth management, and has traveled to 24 states to discuss this issue. Mr. Charles authored a chapter on the Portland experience in the book, A Citizen’s Guide to Smart Growth, co-published by the Heritage Foundation and Property and the Environment Research Center. He has also been published in newspapers around the country including The Oregonian, Pittsburgh Times-Review, Hartford Courant, and Seattle Times.
Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Charles was executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council for 17 years. During that time he served on dozens of local, state and federal commissions and advisory boards related to environmental protection. Charles was also an active participant in Oregon legislative proceedings, and helped author numerous environmental statutes in the areas of forest management, toxic substances, air pollution, watershed restoration, and transportation.
Mr. Charles received a B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1976 and an M.P.A. degree from Portland State University in 1990.
Director — Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland
Kathryn Hickok joined Cascade Policy Institute in June 2005. She is Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland, Publications Director, and Development Coordinator.
Kathryn is coauthor of Cascade board member Larry Dennis’s book 15 Leadership Principles and Ronald Reagan: Use Them to Change Your World, and formerly managed a Portland accounting firm.
Kathryn graduated with honors from the University of Portland with a degree in English and a minor in French. She edited the University’s student literary journal, UP Writers, and served as a foreign language textbook editor for a member of the faculty. A winner of several writing competitions, she was the only high school student to win Cascade’s Independence Essay Competition twice.
Kathryn has been a college-level French tutor, volunteer teacher, and choreographer for ballet students. She held several positions of leadership in a local service organization for young women.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Tina Pisenti joined Cascade Policy Institute in May, 2005 as Vice President and was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in April 2010. She is responsible for development/outreach, marketing, special events, internal operations, the summer intern program, and the Speakers Bureau.
Prior to joining Cascade, Tina worked as Business Development Manager for Cruise Holidays of Portland (2003-2004), Director of Operations for China Advocates, an educational travel company in San Francisco (2001-2002), Director of Operations for the University of California, Berkeley Alumni Association Educational Travel Program (1999-2000), and Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whitehall-Parker Securities, a stock brokerage firm in San Francisco (1997-1999). In addition, Tina served as Director of Football Operations for the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears for eleven years (1986-1997).
Tina is a current Board member for the U-Choose Education Forum, a past Board member of the Junior League of Portland, and a current Sustainer Council member/mentor for the Junior League of Portland. In addition, she serves on the gala fundraising committee for the Liberi Foundation. She has volunteered for the Special Olympics of Oregon, Providence Hospital Festival of Trees, the American Heart Association of Oregon, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association, and the Oregon Beach Clean-Up, as well as numerous other special events and programs. She is also an active member of the State Policy Network, the Executive Club, the Economic Roundtable, the Oregon Tea Party, the Washington County Republicans (PCP), the Congressional District One Convention Committee, the Oregon Voter Integrity Committee, Grassroots For Liberty Group, and 40 Days For Life.
Tina received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and her Master’s in Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Sarah Wolf became Communications Coordinator for Cascade in April 2012. She joined Cascade in 2009 as Political Reporter and Project Director for the Oregon Capitol News project. She previously worked for Cascade as a Summer Research Associate.
Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in spring 2009. During her time in Washington, she worked for numerous groups including Shared Hope International, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Heritage Foundation, and the minority office of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business.
Always having had a keen interest in politics and policy, Sarah spent time in her adolescence campaigning for federal and local politicians in southwest Washington State and Eugene, Oregon.
Raised in Kalama, Washington, Sarah now resides in Hillsboro, Oregon with her husband and son. She competes in local running competitions throughout the year, enjoys traveling, eating and spending time with her friends and family.