HELENA — Montana Public Service Commissioner Travis Kavulla has been named as director of energy and environmental policy at the R Street Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization.

He will begin work in January, when his term on the PSC ends, and he and his wife Laura will relocate to Washington, D.C., R Street officials said Monday in a news release. Term limits prevented him from seeking another four years.

According to its website, R Street promotes free markets and limited, effective government. It has offices in Georgia, Texas, Ohio, California and Massachusetts.

The company states it works on state and national policy, and issues that others tend to neglect.

“Our specialty is tackling issues that are complex, but don’t necessarily grab major headlines,” R Street officials said. “These are the areas where we think we can have a real impact.”

Kavulla, a Republican, was first elected to the PSC in 2010 and now serves as vice chairman. He represents District 1, which is geographically the largest of the five districts. It stretches from Toole to Sheridan counties and from Wibaux to Cascade counties,

He has also served as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He has represented states on the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute.

“R Street prizes deep expertise and individual initiative,” Kevin Kosar, vice president of policy, said in a news release. “Travis has these qualities in abundance.”

Kavulla said he was “excited” to lead the R Street team through an increasingly complex, highly regulated energy policy landscape.

“It is essential that the conservative movement field people who actually understand the detail of energy regulation,” he said in the news release. “In this respect, I cannot have asked for a better home than this organization.”

Kavulla worked as a journalist and served as associate editor for National Review. In 2008, he was awarded the yearlong, full-time writing fellowship from the Phillips Foundation.

He received his bachelor’s in history at Harvard University and holds a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge, England, where he was a Gates Scholar.

Kavulla said his major accomplishments include implementing performance-based regulation for electric utilities’ procurement of energy, ending barrier-to-entry regulation for the passenger-transportation sector and discontinuing the rate regulation of major telecommunications firms.

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