Though she calls South Carolina home, Samantha Bonsack – soldier, world traveler, and writer – will be the first to tell you she is a Multi-State American Girl. She recently added Iowa to her repertoire of states due to her new job as Congressional Staff Assistant to Rep. Rod Blum.
Samantha, though forging ahead in her political career, came relatively recently to the working world of politics. After a life of military service, and several other jobs that took her across the country and around the world, Samantha sought a new direction in life.
“I began to question the direction of my life,” Samantha said. “I had one job and I was lucky if I got 18 hours! I was pretty bad off at 31 with a degree and a 10 year military background but no open doors.”
Samantha said the Leadership Institute (LI) helped her open a door where at first it seemed there were only walls.
Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District was over 60% Democrat and the media had painted the race as “unwinnable” for a Republican. But that didn’t stop one dedicated conservative from running against the odds.
Unlike many who run for public office, Jacob Turk didn’t plan to run. He graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is a Marine Corps veteran, business owner, volunteer, proud father, and grandfather.
“Honestly, if I had not felt the Lord calling me distinctly to run for this office, I can’t imagine deciding to do it on my own. It was a step of faith to run.”
Jacob Turk ran for U.S. Congress in Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District in 2012 and again in 2014.
“We are not wealthy nor do we have powerful political connections,” Jacob said. “One of the biggest obstacles was...
Chip Englander has a track record. He wins.
When Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was at the bottom of a four-way primary at the beginning of his campaign, he knew he needed a winner. He turned to Chip for a campaign manager.
In a state President Obama swept by 25 percent in 2012, Rauner became the first candidate to defeat the governor of a president’s home state since 1892, ousting incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn.
Making his success even more remarkable, Rauner was outspent during the final three months of his campaign in one of the top five most expensive non-presidential races in American history.
For Brendan Steinhauser, politics is personal.
“Politics for me is about real world issues that affect us every day,” said Brendan, campaign manager for Senator John Cornyn of Texas.
Since playing an integral part in the organization of the tea party in 2010, Brendan has helped elect many prominent conservative politicians, including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and many others.
Brendan isn’t alone in his effort to make conservative politics personal. He helps recruit and train new grassroots activists for a growing movement. And it’s paying off.
With a Republican majority in Congress, many incumbent and newly-elected conservative politicians have local grassroots efforts to thank. More importantly, they have the people behind those efforts to...
He didn’t leave anything to chance. He knew what was needed to win.
West Virginia Congressman-elect Alex Mooney knows politics well enough to know a good heart isn’t all it takes to win an election.
The first Hispanic elected to Congress in West Virginia history, Alex is a Leadership Institute (LI) grad who will join a U.S. House of Representatives with a Republican majority. Owning a majority brings expectations, and Alex is excited to do his part in meeting those.
“With the strong majority I will be joining in the U.S. House of Representatives, voters are going to expect us to fight for them and deliver results,” he said.
One of Alex’s primary focuses is scaling back...
Few activists have accomplished as much as Carl Andersen has at his age.
The son of a successful construction entrepreneur and raised on a chicken farm in South Jutland, Denmark, Carl has begun fighting for the conservative cause in his home country.
Despite being a 19-year-old recent high school graduate, Carl is already very involved in Danish politics.
“I have been a member of Liberal Alliance and Liberal Alliance Youth since 2009, and have risen in the party on every single level,” he said. “I am on some boards at local, regional, and national levels, and run some campaigns for our candidates. I got elected to the county board in Vejen last year. I am now sitting as a member of the Technique and Environment Committee.”
In September 2014, Carl began working as an intern at the Leadership Institute (LI). As an intern, he has been able to take trainings he believes will help him continue advancing conservative principles in Denmark.
“Especially, I like that LI is an international organization; LI does not only focus on Americans and America, but on freeing the world from...
Recalling his life in the Soviet Union, Igor Birman paints a dreary picture.
“Imagine every aspect of your life from the cradle to the grave being dictated to you by government,” said Igor. “No matter your talents or wishes, you had little say in your own future.”
Igor Birman was born in the Soviet Union in 1981. After a decade of Soviet refusals for exit permits, his family arrived in California in 1994.
Igor first felt compelled to defend conservative principles as a student columnist at UC Davis, where he studied Political Science.
“My parents risked everything to get me out of the Soviet Union where freedom did not exist and into the United States, which was founded on the notions of personal responsibility, limited government and individual liberty,” said Igor. “How could I possibly not dedicate my life to ensuring...
It is not always enough to be right -- as in correct -- candidates have to know how to win. It takes preparation.
Since 1979, future candidates have attended Leadership Institute trainings. At LI, they learn the tools to win -- persuade voters, effectively fundraise, and get-out-the vote.
Because they graduated from LI training, many winning candidates in 2014 understood how to effectively run and win.
"Thanks to you Morton and LI staff, there are countless conservatives making a difference in public policy across the country," said soon to be Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. "As one of your earliest students, I know firsthand what a wonderful foundation the Leadership Institute’s education provides for someone involved in public service."
Here are some of the many LI and Morton Blackwell trained candidates who won accross the United States in 2014...
Paula Bolyard knew something was wrong.
An Ohio native and Toledo graduate, Paula got her start in online activism with her work on education. Following a series of articles bashing homeschooling published in a large local newspaper, Paula began educating others on homeschooling through emails, message boards, and blogs.
“Homeschooling crosses all demographic lines and there is also an incredible amount of variety and diversity in the education styles we see in homeschooling families,” Paula said.
After receiving nationwide attention, Paula launched her own blog, primarily focusing on homeschooling and education.
Eventually, the exposure she generated led to...
Robert Stuber has known the value of hard work since his childhood.
Currently the Director of Development and Direct Marketing at Americans for Prosperity (AFP), Rob began his career on a farm in Louisville, KY, when he was 12. He and his father decided to grow extra tomato plants and sell them on the side of the road. After two years of success, Rob recalls, “We were going to become rich and planted hundreds of plants and worked our butts off, but so did everyone else and the price of tomatoes collapsed to almost nothing. I learned a lot about free markets…and never ate a tomato again.”
Since that early entrepreneurial experience, Rob has continued working hard to help the conservative movement thrive. He was elected...