JEFFERSON CITY — Former Missouri U.S. Sen. Jim Talent is forming a foundation to promote free market principles that he contends his successors in Washington are abandoning.
The Republican will serve as chairman of the American Freedom and Enterprise Foundation, which will launch Monday.
"The message really is that a lot of what's going on in Washington violates what were consensus ideas about the importance of free markets as the underpinning of the economy," said Talent, who served four years in the Senate before Democrat Claire McCaskill defeated him in 2006.
He previously served eight years each in the U.S. House and the Missouri House of Representatives.
Talent cites the debt associated with the federal economic stimulus package and recent climate bills that seek to limit carbon emissions as examples of how he believes Congress is straying from free market principles.
Talent says the new think tank hopes to hold several issue-based forums around Missouri and plans to use social networking sites to spread its message. The executive director of the group will be Katie Smith, a former aide to Talent who was director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture under former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.