Congratulations to LI's 100,000th Graduate, Alejandro Capote

November 21, 2011 | By Abigail Alger

The Leadership Institute announced its 100,000th student trained since 1979: Alejandro Capote. Alejandro, a Florida State University sophomore and recently naturalized US citizen, graduated from the Institute’s Youth Leadership School, its flagship training.

After completing his first Youth Leadership School in Arlington, Virginia in July, Alejandro organized a 35-person Youth Leadership School on his college campus in Tallahassee, Florida on October 15. The two-day training taught students to organize and lead mass-based youth efforts for candidates and causes of their choice.

At the Tallahassee training, Alejandro was named LI’s 100,000th graduate. He receives free Institute training for life and a travel scholarship to any LI training in the U.S. in 2012.

“In 1965, experienced conservative friends much older than I advised me there was no way to earn a living doing what I hoped to do, building the conservative movement, so I am proud today to celebrate the 100,000th student trained by my Leadership Institute,” said Morton Blackwell, president and founder of the Institute. “Alejandro Capote demonstrates the purpose of my Institute’s training: to produce a new generation of conservative leaders and activists.”

Born outside Havana, Cuba, Alejandro immigrated to the United States at age six with his mother and his siblings. On April 28, 2011, he became a naturalized American citizen.

“The American Dream is not a house or a car, but the chance to be free and live in a country where the individual comes first,” Alejandro explained.

Now a sophomore at Florida State University, Alejandro plans to teach high school classes on government and political science and, someday, to run for elected office in Florida. (His immediate next step, though, involves the Leadership Institute: he’d like to intern for LI in summer 2012.)

Alejandro’s political inspiration is President Ronald Reagan. “I was not around when President Reagan was around,” he said, “but his story continues to call upon a new generation of Americans, so that we can meet the challenges of our time. It is a story that continues to call upon people from all over the world to come to our shores, because they all believe that if they work hard, they can achieve the American dream. That is the greatness of our country. It is a nation built upon free ideas and free people.”

Alejandro hopes someday to meet Mrs. Reagan to share how much she and her husband have shaped his ideas about government and American politics.

“I want to change history,” Alejandro said. “If someone else can do it, why can’t I?”

Since its founding in 1979, the Leadership Institute has trained more than 100,421 students. Graduates include members of the US Senate and House, governors, state legislators, media personalities, and conservative activists and officeholders at every level.

Notable graduates of training include Sen. Mitch McConnell, US Senate Minority Leader; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity; and Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee.

Join more than 100,421 conservatives who got political training – or the start of their careers in politics – at the Leadership Institute. Learn more about LI training and register for a training near your hometown.