O2: Intellectual Oxygen to Feed the Fire
Matt A. Mayer, President
Matt A. Mayer is the President of Opportunity Ohio and weekly contributor on Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati radio. In his role, he develops strategic policy positions, advises policymakers on a wide-range of issues, designs and evaluates public opinion surveys, creates educational videos and collateral material aimed at key constituencies, engages with all elements of the media, conducts fact-finding missions, and speaks to groups in America and Europe on a variety of topics. Mayer led a nine-state campaign to stop the expansion of Medicaid, and has conducted strategic policy summits for top state and national groups. Opportunity Ohio’s targeted educational videos have received more than 18.4 million views on social media in the last seven years. Mayer accurately predicted BREXIT, the election of Donald Trump, the budget deficit in Ohio in 2017-2018, the enormous enrollment in Medicaid that surpassed government estimates, Ohio’s continued mediocre private sector job market, and the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris 2020 Democratic ticket.
Mayer has written and spoken extensively on the importance of competitive federalism in renewing the American promise. Previously, Mayer served as a monthly columnist for The Spectator USA and U.S. News & World Report, a Visiting Fellow for the American Enterprise Institute, and a Visiting Scholar for the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. where he wrote extensively on national security issues. You can follow him on Twitter (@ohiomatt) and all of his op-eds can be found on his Substack page, The Patriot Mind.
Mayer has worked in public policy and politics at both the state and federal levels. He was a senior official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he provided DHS leaders with policy and operational advice as the Counselor to the Deputy Secretary, including participating in crisis management activities following Hurricane Katrina. He also headed the $3.5 billion terrorism preparedness office charged with developing initiatives to transform America to meet the demands of a post-9/11 environment. Mayer engaged in bilateral counterterrorism exchanges with the United Kingdom and Israel, did briefings in The White House Situation Room and at NATO, and headed America’s largest full-scale national exercise focused on a pandemic virus attack (fifteen years before the COVID pandemic).
Mayer came to DHS from Colorado where he served as the Deputy Director for the Department of Regulatory Agencies under Colorado Governor Bill Owens. He co-developed Colorado’s Regulatory Notice system that utilizes electronic mail to notify stakeholders of all proposed regulations before those regulations become final. The Regulatory Notice system earned the Denver Business Journal’s 2003 “Innovative Product/Service Award” for making government more transparent and accountable. Mayer’s concept of restoring federalism received the runner-up prize in the 2012 Better Government Competition.
Mayer was a 2007 Lincoln Fellow with The Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and a 2006 American Marshall Memorial Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. In September 2005, The Ohio State University Alumni Association awarded Mayer the William Thompson Oxley Award for early career achievement. Mayer received the Colorado Statesman’s “Rising Star Award” for his management of a congressional campaign and as a deputy on a U.S. Senate campaign in Colorado. At the age of 29, the Denver Business Journal recognized Mayer as one of Colorado’s young leaders by naming him to its “Forty Under 40” list–one of only three recipients under the age of 30 (one of the other two was current Colorado Governor Jared Polis).
Mayer has written three books: The Founding Debate: Where Should the Power Over Our Lives Reside, Taxpayers Don’t Stand a Chance: How Battleground Ohio Loses No Matter Who Wins (and What to Do About It), and Homeland Security and Federalism: Protecting America from Outside the Beltway (with Foreword by the Honorable Edwin Meese III). He has written articles for law reviews, public policy journals, and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, USA Today, and Politico; given testimony to the U.S. Congress, the Texas House and Senate, and the Ohio House and Senate; and appeared on Fox News, C-SPAN, ABC, NBC, and other major media outlets.
Mayer graduated from the University of Dayton and received his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law.
Mary McCleary, Visiting Fellow
Mary McCleary is a Visiting Fellow at Opportunity Ohio. She works in the private sector for Alliance Data Systems doing data analysis. Before ADS, she worked for the Ohio Treasurer of State’s office and the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy solutions where she wrote game-changing policy reports and op-eds that were published in major Ohio papers, appeared on television and radio programs, and spoke to liberty groups across the state.
Additionally, Mary contributed significantly to the groundbreaking government transparency tools on the Buckeye Institute’s and O2’s websites.
Mary graduated magna cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2009 with a major in economics and a minor in math.