People / Staff

Will Marshall

Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), established in 1989 as a center for political innovation in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he has been one of the chief intellectual architects of the movement to modernize progressive politics for the global age.

Called “Bill Clinton’s idea mill,” PPI’s policy analysis and proposals were the source for many of the “New Democrat” innovations that figured prominently in national politics over the past two decades. The Institute also has been integral to the spread of “Third Way” thinking to center-left parties in Europe and elsewhere. Marshall is an honorary Vice-President of Policy Network, an international think tank launched by Tony Blair to promote progressive policy ideas throughout the democratic world.

Marshall is editor or co-editor of many books, including Memos to the New President (PPI, January 2009); With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); The AmeriCorps Experiment and the Future of National Service (PPI, 2005); Building the Bridge: 10 Big Ideas to Transform America (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997); and Mandate for Change (Berkley Books, 1992), PPI’s best-selling policy blueprint for President Clinton’s first term. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers, as well as The American Interest, The American Prospect, Democracy, and other journals.

In 1985, Marshall helped to found the Democratic Leadership Council, serving as its first policy director.

Marshall currently serves on the board of directors for the National Endowment for Democracy.

Marshall’s previous campaign and political experience includes posts as press secretary, spokesman and speechwriter for the 1984 United States Senate campaign of former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, speechwriter and policy analyst for the late U.S. Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and, spokesman and speechwriter in the 1982 U.S. Senate campaign of former Virginia Lt. Governor Dick Davis.

Before becoming involved in politics and public policy, he was a journalist in Virginia, including a stint with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1952, Marshall is a 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History. Marshall and his wife, Katryn S. Nicolai, live in Arlington, VA. They have two children, Olivia and William.


Op-eds and Articles

By / 2.12.2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders narrowly took first in the New Hampshire primary, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar rode a wave of last-minute support to a surprisingly strong third-place finish. But the prize for most impressive performance goes to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who came in second. More than the other candidates, he displayed the kind of broad, cross-cutting […]


By / 2.4.2020

“The PPI community mourns the death last week of Jim Kiss. Jim was “present at the creation” of PPI in 1989. He served not only as a founding member of our Board of Trustees but also as an enthusiastic recruiter of other prominent figures. Jim was the quintessential “New Democrat” – optimistic, forward-looking, pragmatically progressive […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 2.2.2020

Senate Republicans turned President Trump’s impeachment trial into a farcical exercise in partisan whitewashing. That leaves the job of canceling Trump’s reality show presidency to U.S. voters. A heavy responsibility thus lies on Democratic caucus and primary voters as they start selecting their party’s nominee next week. If they make the wrong choice, it means four […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 1.14.2020

Six Democrats running for president – a skeleton crew by campaign 2020 standards – will gather in Des Moines tonight to make closing arguments. It’s the last debate before the February 3 Iowa caucuses, when Democratic voters finally get a chance to cut through the fog of polls and punditry and start picking the party’s […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.18.2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s thumping victory last week confirms that 2016 was a political watershed. It marked the beginning of a new political alignment that is rewriting the rules of party competition here and abroad. That was the year voters stunned the UK political establishment by voting narrowly to leave the European Union. Then […]


By / 12.16.2019

Dear Friends, I look back on 2019 with mixed feelings. It’s been another terrific year for the Progressive Policy Institute. But it hasn’t been a great year for our country. Thanks to Rep. Adam Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, the public knows exactly how President Trump misused the power of his office to […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.11.2019

When British voters go to the polls Thursday, it probably will be their last chance to stop Brexit. If they don’t, Jeremy Corbyn will bear much of the blame. Wait – isn’t the Labour Party leader running to oust the man actually driving the UK toward Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson? Yes, but polls show Johnson’s Conservatives holding […]