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Government Research Association honors Gardner

Kent Gardner’s dedication to informing policy with in-depth economic analysis has been recognized by the Governmental Research Association, which awarded him its top honor.

Gardner, a cofounder and opinion editor of the Rochester Beacon, last week received the prestigious Frederick P. Gruenberg Award at the annual GRA conference in Philadelphia.

The association cited Gardner’s three decades of work at the Center for Governmental Research, where he helps advance CGR’s mission for clients in various sectors. Governmental research aims to inform communities about governmental activities through data and analysis.

“The Governmental Research Association brings together organizations—like CGR—that are committed to nonpartisan public policy analysis,” Gardner says. “We’re an endangered species—in my 30+ years in this field, the media, think tanks, universities and foundations have increasingly tended to take sides. The whole notion of objectivity has come into question.

“My colleagues in GRA remember that there are many sides to every issue and believe that policy guidance demands a dispassionate assessment of conflicting views,” he adds. “We take sides—the issues are too important to just offer a menu of alternatives. But the effort at objectivity remains critically important. My involvement with GRA has been an education and the award from my peers is a distinct honor.”

With CGR since 1991, Gardner joined the agency as director of economic analysis and served as president from 2005 to 2012. As president, he expanded CGR’s presence and offerings to web-based community profiles, like ACT Rochester, and directed the development of data and analysis tools.

Gardener is known for his ability to connect the dots—linking policy action and programs to impact. Currently, he leads CGR’s economic impact assessments and contributes to its program evaluation.

Before joining CGR, Gardner was associate professor of economics at Potsdam College, where he founded the North Country Economic Research Center.

The Governmental Research Association is the national organization of individuals professionally engaged in governmental research. Gardner has served as secretary, vice president and president of the organization.

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