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Our Board of Advisors is composed of an array of legal and business talent from around the state. Their availablity as a resource for advice and counsel will play an important role in the Institute's effort to fulfill its mission.


Tom Ashcraft

is an attorney from Charlotte who practices in the areas of civil rights, election law, federal criminal defense, and civil litigation. In 2003, Tom received the John William Pope Award for Leadership. Appointed by President Reagan, Ashcraft served the state as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina from 1987-1993. He served as a Reagan Delegate to the N.C. State Republican Convention and was a legislative assistant to Senator Jesse Helms from 1981 to 1987. Ashcraft writes a column for The Charlotte Observer twice a month. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Jesse Helms Center Foundation and of Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia.


Marilyn Avila

is Director of Organization for the John Locke Foundation. Ms. Avila serves as Assistant Secretary.


Gene Boyce

of Boyce and Isley is known as the People’s Champion when it comes to suing the state of North Carolina for violations of citizens’ constitutional rights. He served as the lead counsel in Bailey v. State of N.C., Smith/Shaver v. State, and Faulkenbury v. TSERS, CJRS and is currently litigating the highway trust fund case (Harrington and Goldston v. State) and the retro tax case (Coley v. Secretary of Revenue). Boyce formerly served as Asst. Majority Counsel to U.S. Sen. Sam J. Ervin, Watergate Committee in 1973; Counsel to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, N.C. Federal District Judge appointments; and Counsel to U.S. Senate Ethics Committee. In 2002, Boyce received the John W. Pope, Sr Award for the Advancement of Freedom in North Carolina.


Tom Ellis

was formerly of Maupin Taylor & Ellis and now practices at Haynsworth, Baldwin, Johnson & Greaves. Ellis is a legendary figure in North Carolina politics, acting as the alter political ego of former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms; creating a powerful political organization called The National Congressional Club; and helping elect Republicans John East and Lauch Faircloth to the Senate. He also is widely credited with helping save Ronald Reagan's political career by helping him win the 1976 presidential primary in North Carolina. According to Ellis, one of the most important North Carolina cases right now is the redistricting lawsuit; Ellis and his colleagues represent the NC Republican Party in this case of constitutional significance.


Tom Farr

concentrates his practice at Haynsworth Baldwin Johnson and Greaves in employment litigation, occupational safety and health law and constitutional and election law. In 2002 and 2003, he was chosen as a member of the Legal Elite. He is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Council for the U.S. Court of Appeals. Some of the representative matters in which Farr has been involved are: lead counsel in Stephenson v. Bartlett (the redistricting battle); lead counsel in Shaw v. Hunt; and counsel for Senator Jesse Helms and North Carolina Republican Party in Hendon v. State Board of Elections, which successfully challenged the constitutionality of NC ballot-counting procedures.


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John Hood

is a weekly panelist on N.C. Spin, and is chairman and president of the John Locke Foundation. Hood is a former reporter for The New Republic and authored two books: The Heroic Enterprise and Investor Politics. He is a syndicated columnist for the High Point Enterprise, Durham Herald-Sun and thirty other newspapers in North Carolina.


Walter Nunnallee, Esq.

is a CPA and a professor of tax law at North Carolina Central University School of Law. He worked as a CPA with Peat, Marwick, Main CPAs, Raleigh, North Carolina from 1975 to 1978, and from 1981 through 1988 he was an attorney with the law firms of Poyner & Spruill and Manning, Fulton and Skinner, in Raleigh, North Carolina. He received a B.S. from Florida State University, a J.D. from the University of North Carolina, and an LL.M in Taxation from the University of Florida. He has authored numerous tax articles published in The Tax Lawyer, Tax Notes, and The Review Of Taxation Of Individuals. Mr. Nunnallee frequently lectures at tax conferences including the University of Montana School of Law Tax Institute; the University of North Carolina School of Law Annual Tax Institute; and various state tax institutes. He is a frequent discussion leader for tax oriented CPE seminars throughout the country. Mr. Nunnallee served as visiting interim professor at the University of Florida School of Law 1985-1986, and is a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and the North Carolina Bar Association (past chairman of the Tax Section, 1991-92). He also serves on the Board of Advisers of the J. Nelson Young Tax Institute.


Paul Stam

currently serves in the NC House of Representatives and practices law at Stam Fordham & Danchi. He has extensive litigation experience on the appellate level and is co-chair of the House Election Law Committee. He is also a former chair of the Religious Liberty Task Force of the NC Christian Legal Society.


Philip Strach

is an associate at Haynsworth, Baldwin, Johnson & Greaves. A Campbell undergrad, Phil received his Master of Public Administration and Juris Doctor (with honors) from UNC- Chapel Hill. Currently, Phil is Legal Counsel for the Wake County Republican Party and Associate Counsel in the Stephenson v. Bartlett case. As a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and the Raleigh-Wake Human Resources Management Association, he occasionally speaks to human resources groups and attorneys regarding employment law matters.

Kory Swanson

is Vice President of Administration for the John Locke Foundation and serves as Assistant Treasurer.