- Spring 2010
Ernest J. Istook Jr. is a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation – and host of the think tank's satellite radio show. Each week, about 100,000 people tune in to hear Istook (a former broadcast journalist) and other Heritage analysts discuss current policy topics during "The Heritage Foundation Live" on XM Radio's "POTUS08" channel. Istook also guest hosts for several national and local talk radio shows, including Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" program and the Mark Levin Show.
Istook first joined Heritage in 2007 as a Visiting Distinguished Fellow, charged with examining the murky process of appropriations. He became a permanent member of the think tank's staff later in the year.
Before coming to Heritage, Istook, the grandson of Hungarian immigrants, represented Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District for 14 years. While on Capitol Hill, Istook served on the House Appropriations Committee, where he also chaired several subcommittees, including Treasury, Transportation, and Special Agencies. He also was closely involved with national defense, homeland security, transportation, education, labor, social services, religious liberty issues and many other areas of government.
Prior to serving in Washington, Istook served in the Oklahoma Legislature, as a City Councilman and headed a state agency. In 2006, he was the Republican Party nominee for Governor of Oklahoma. Before that, he practiced law and was a journalist.
Istook holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Baylor University and law degree from Oklahoma City University. He and his wife, Judy, have five children. Active in the Boy Scouts of America, he spent several years as a Scoutmaster and both his sons are Eagle Scouts. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, moving to Oklahoma after college.
Ernest J. Istook Jr.’s Study Group:
Propaganda in Today’s American Politics