Frontier Group



Santa Barbara, CA

Project of:

Center for Public Interest Research



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Frontier Group is a left-of-center think tank that is a project of the left-of-center Center for Public Interest Research. 1 Frontier Group is affiliated with the Public Interest Network (PIN), a coalition of left-of-center organizations headed by Doug Phelps. 2

Frontier Group publishes reports and blog posts to support Center for Public Interest Research and PIN policy goals on issues related to environmentalism, increased public health regulations, increased government control of health care, and increased government regulation of the economy. 3


Frontier Group was founded in 1996 to research and analyze what the group calls “the problems of abundance,” claiming that economic prosperity and free-market economic growth have caused environmental and social “crises.” 4 Frontier Group focuses on research that promotes environmentalism, increased government regulation of the economy, increased public health regulations, and increased taxpayer funding for infrastructure development. 5

Policy Advocacy

On health care, Frontier Group has released articles arguing for government regulation to end surprise medical bills and lower prescription drug prices. 6 7 Aside from advocating for direct intervention in the private healthcare market, Frontier Group has called upon the United States to implement market regulations under the guise of public health regulations, advocating for increased regulations on pollution, animal agriculture, and pesticide use. 8 Frontier Group has also partnered with researchers from other left-of-center organizations, including the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) Foundation, to argue for regulations on greater price transparency in health care services. 9

On transportation, Frontier group has alleged that the United States underfunds the development of transportation infrastructure, especially in limiting investments in experimental transportation technologies. One Frontier Group report series, entitled “Highway Boondoggles,” argues that the United States is hurting prospects for long-term transportation by investing in highway repair instead of investing in environmentalist projects for future transportation technologies built on renewable energy. 10 11

Frontier Group research has advocated for a number of environmentalist regulations couched under the notion of consumer protections, including a report written with researchers from the Environment America Research and Policy Center praising investments in solar power in American cities. 12 Frontier Group has released other blogs and reports calling for bank regulations to stop the funding of fossil fuel companies, a shift to total renewable energy in the United States by providing taxpayer-funded incentives, and limitations on vehicle travel. 13

Despite advocating for a number of left-of-center regulations, Frontier Group released a report in December of 2020 purporting to list “common ground” positions for political process. Authored in collaboration with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) and Environment America, the report lists 12 areas of public policy in which Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are supposed to share common ground, though the positions are traditionally left-of-center policies that the report claims including funding national work programs, increasing gun control provisions, and increasing funding for vocational schools. 14


Susan Rakov is the founding director of Frontier Group. Prior to founding Frontier Group, she was the deputy chief of staff of the Public Interest Network, where she remains a senior vice president. 15 Rakov also chairs the Environment America Clean Energy Team. 16

Tony Dutzik is a senior policy analyst and associate director at Frontier Group. His main areas of focus are transportation, global warming and clean energy. Before joining Frontier Group in 2001, he reported for the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in Lawrence, Massachusetts and was a political writer with the left-of-center Fund for the Public Interest. 17


  1. “Frontier Group — The Center for Public Interest Research.” The Center for Public Interest Research. Accessed January 4, 2021.
  2. The Center for Public Interest Research. Accessed January 4, 2021.
  3. “Frontier Group Reports.” Frontier Group. Accessed January 4, 2021.
  4. Frontier Group. “About Us,” October 30, 2020.    
  5. “Frontier Group Reports.” Frontier Group. Accessed January 4, 2021.
  6. Ridlington, Elizabeth. “All Patients Deserve Protection from Surprise Medical Bills.” Frontier Group, May 11, 2020.
  7. Sundby, Jon. “GoodRx: A Band-Aid, Not a Cure, for High Drug Prices.” Frontier Group, July 16, 2019.   
  8. “Public Health.” Frontier Group, September 25, 2020.
  9. O’Brien, Jesse, Elizabeth Ridlington, and Elizabeth Berg. “Improving Price Transparency.” Frontier Group. Last modified August 17, 2020.
  10. “Highway Boondoggles 2.” U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Education Fund. Last modified January 19, 2016.
  11. Weissman, Gideon, Bryn Huxley-Reicher, Matthew Casale, and John Stout. “Highway Boondoggles 6.” Frontier Group, December 8, 2020.
  12. Ridlington, Elizabeth, Adrian Pforzheimer, Emma Searson, and Ben Sonnega. “Shining Cities 2020.” Frontier Group. Last modified August 7, 2020.
  13. “Global Warming.” Frontier Group, January 6, 2021.
  14. “New Report: Opportunities to Move America Forward Together despite Widespread Political Polarization.” U.S. PIRG, December 10, 2020.
  15. “Susan Rakov.” Frontier Group. Last modified August 27, 2020.
  17. “Tony Dutzik.” Frontier Group. Last modified August 21, 2020.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Susan Rakov
    Managing Director
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Frontier Group

Santa Barbara, CA