Ohio Teen “Ticked” at Government Now Joins the Fight, Not the Club
Lauren Hart
April 30, 2012
Ohio Teen “Ticked” at Government Now Joins the Fight, Not the Club
Timothy Hershner, now 25, still vividly remembers the story “Big Jim,” his best friend's father Jim Gerwin, shared with him. In the 1970s Henry and Fern, two people who worked in his Ohio shoe factory, both were hard workers, working 40 hours each week plus 10 hours each of overtime. However, they owed the government more than 30 percent of their pay in income taxes. “Jim offered to help the two with their taxes because he thought he could save them money, but due to the couple being scared of the IRS, they decided to just pay the taxes,” Tim recalls. “It is solely this story that got me ticked off with the government and eventually led to my political activity,” Tim said. “From this talk, I remember volunteering for George W. Bush in both his first and second campaigns at the polls.” But it's not just presidential Election Day poll work Tim's done. He was also a volunteer in college for the Brad Wenstrup for Cincinnati Mayor campaign as well as the Debbi Alsfelder for Congress campaign. Leadership Institute graduate Debbi Alsfelder suggested that Tim, her outreach/volunteer coordinator at the time, check out LI for political training. He did. In October 2010, Tim attended the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School in Indianapolis, Indiana. This began his passionate pursuit of public policy learning through many LI trainings and eventually an internship at the Leadership Institute in the summer of 2011, where he worked for LI's Campus Leadership Program and CampusReform.org. “The biggest thing the Leadership Institute instilled in me was to stay aggressive and to make sure that I kept networking. LI showed me how to follow up with my network and how to connect the dots when applying to positions later down the road,” Tim said. Tim has also interned for U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Steve Austria (OH-07). After graduation from the University of Cincinnati, Tim returned to Washington to intern for Congressman Todd Akin (M0-02). Tim now works for Congressman Chip Cravaack (MN-08) full-time in his Washington office. Pictured left is Tim on the balcony of House Speaker John Boehner's office after becoming an official Hill staffer. He serves constituents in answering their phone calls, provides Capitol tours for those visiting DC, and manages the Congressman's busy schedule. Tim's staff assistant position has grown to include executive assistant responsibilities. “LI's Conservative Career Workshop helped me feel more comfortable when interviewing” for his current job on the Hill, Tim said. “The Leadership Institute is a conservative organization that can not only help you hone your talents, but also help turn your weaknesses into strengths. LI will help people be well rounded by gaining a broad knowledge with respect to the world of politics and how this world works.” Tim joins tens of thousands of other Leadership Institute graduates working in “the world of politics” for the causes and candidates of their choice. Please welcome Tim as the Leadership Institute's graduate of the week! To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Navy Man & Entrepreneur Gets Fed Up: Now Congressional Candidate
Lauren Hart
April 23, 2012
Navy Man & Entrepreneur Gets Fed Up: Now Congressional Candidate
In 1993, Dan Sebring bought an old auto service repair station and started to build a business. Dan had worked as a lot of things: assembly line worker, janitor, turret lathe operator, school bus driver, gutter installer, truck driver, printer, painter, disc jockey, bartender, body guard, carpenter, and cabinet maker. Sebring Garage, LLC, his new company, was his way to "provide something better" for his community and, as Sebring's website puts it, "uphold the tradition of the neighborhood garage." The company is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the state where Dan, and his parents before him, were born and raised. Dan moved home to Wisconsin in 1992. He'd left in the 1980s -- the severe recession left him unemployed and living out of his car -- to serve in the U.S. Navy, first at the Pentagon then at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. When Dan came back, he was ready to get involved in his state's politics. He found his opportunity when Milwaukee, his city, proposed a handgun ban in 1994. Dan didn't sit back; he got involved. That sparked a nearly 20-year journey of activism and campaigning. Now Dan is the Second Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County's Milwaukee – South Branch, for which he heads the nomination committee. He's also a candidate for Congress, running for the third time against four-term incumbent Rep. Gwen Moore. Dan first ran in 2008. Rep. Gwen Moore was unopposed heading into Election Day, so he staged a six-week write-in campaign to be her opponent. Though he didn't win, he netted nearly 500 votes and made his point -- and he wanted to do more in the next election. Shortly after Thanksgiving that year, Dan filed his declaration of intent to run for office. Local activists recommended that Dan's campaign manager, Jessica Strautmann, attend Leadership Institute training. She took the Campaign Manager School and Political Voter Mail School in February 2009. When Jessica came home to Milwaukee, Dan recalled, "she was so impressed that she basically demanded that I attend LI's Future Candidate School, which I did in August 2009." Dan seemed glad he'd taken his campaign manager's advice. "Leadership Institute training is an absolute must for anyone seeking public office," Dan said. "It is far and away the most comprehensive, indispensable crash course introduction to political activism for activists, candidates, and campaign staffers on the planet. I recommend it highly to anyone considering running for public office and their staff." Dan has since used his training in his 2010 and 2012 campaigns against Rep. Gwen Moore. His grassroots campaign is focused on what Dan sees as the proper role for the U.S. representative from his district. "It is the job of Members of the House of Representatives to take the ideas, opinions and concerns of the people they represent to Washington and say 'this is what the people want,'" Dan explained. "It is not to bring the policies of the government back to the people and tell them they need to 'get behind it.'" Dan joins thousands of other Leadership Institute graduates working for the causes and candidates of their choice – including themselves! – in this election year. Please welcome Dan as the Leadership Institute's graduate of the week! In 2012, the Leadership Institute is offering its top-notch campaign training -- the Future Candidate School and the Campaign Management School -- in the first full week of every month. Learn more or register online right now. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
One Man’s Story—From Rental Car Employee to Campaign Doctor for Local, State, and National Races
Lauren Hart
April 9, 2012
One Man’s Story—From Rental Car Employee to Campaign Doctor for Local, State, and National Races
Chuck Muth's political roots run deep and have been a lifetime in the making. His father took a break in the 1980s from Baltimore City firefighting and served one term in the Maryland Legislature when Chuck and his three brothers and two sisters were growing up. Later, Chuck's brother worked for former Maryland Congressman Bob Ehrlich, who later became the 60th Governor of Maryland (2003-2007). Chuck was himself pulled into politics in 1995, when he was elected chairman of the local GOP central committee in Las Vegas, where he and his wife of 25 years, Gia, moved in 1988 for a job with a rental car company. Now, Chuck has distinguished titles on his resume—former executive director of the American Conservative Union, National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, Clark County GOP chairman, and former Nevada Republican Party executive director. Today Chuck stays busy as a conservative in Las Vegas. He's president and CEO of the libertarian-leaning, non-profit grassroots advocacy organization Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News and Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com, an online candidate coaching program. “The Leadership Institute came out to do a training program for grassroots activists at my invitation,” Chuck said, “and that established my longtime relationship with and admiration for LI.” For Chuck, “Leadership Institute training has been the basis and foundation of my entire political/public policy career. I wouldn't be where I am today – doing what I love doing, while making a difference – were it not for the training I received early on, and to this day, from the Leadership Institute. That's not hyperbole. That's not spin. That's just fact,” Chuck said. After serving as chairman of the local Las Vegas GOP central committee in 1995, Chuck was hired full-time as the executive director of the Nevada Republican Party and continued to work for the state party for the next six years. After state politics, Chuck moved into the national scene in Washington, D.C., when he accepted the executive director role at the American Conservative Union in 2002. One year later, Chuck was asked to take over as chairman of Citizen Outreach, and, by the end of 2005, the organization was sufficiently funded, so Chuck and his family moved back to Nevada to transition Citizen Outreach to primarily a state-based organization. Chuck currently hosts the monthly “third Thursday” center-right coalition meeting in Las Vagas, the “First Friday Happy Hour” mixer each month in Las Vegas, and the 5th Annual Conservative Leadership Conference, which will run from June 8 to 10 in Las Vegas. This year, Chuck launched CampaignDoctor.com, campaign coaching programs that utilize technology—teleconferences, e-newsletters, webinars, DVDs—to help conservative candidates, tea party leaders, and grassroots activists. After his first LI training in Nevada, Chuck fundraised to come to Arlington, VA for the week-long Campaign Management School, formerly known as the Campaign Leadership School. “That training gave me the confidence to run against the Democrat State Senate Minority Leader in 1996,” Chuck reflected. “I lost, but it wasn't because of my LI training, but because the district had a large, 3-1 Democrat majority. Still, that experience and LI's training helped me begin conducting my own campaign training workshops and seminars throughout Nevada.” Chuck has taken five trainings at the Leadership Institute: High-Dollar Fundraising School; Advanced Direct Mail School; Internet Activist School; Campaign Leadership School; and Public Relations School. He also serves as volunteer faculty for LI's Grassroots Campaign trainings, and he helps to fund dozens of conservative Nevada activists and candidates to attend LI's Campaign Management School. When asked what he learned from LI, Chuck said, “Well, pretty much everything I know. Or let me put it this way: The early LI training I received put me on a path of lifetime learning about the nuts and bolts of campaign operations and public policy advocacy.” You too can be trained and shape your community. Go here for information on the dates for LI's upcoming trainings and locations. Please welcome Chuck as the Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week! To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Graduate Elected to the Washington State House of Representatives at Age 25
Lauren Hart
March 26, 2012
LI Graduate Elected to the Washington State House of Representatives at Age 25
Twenty-seven-year-old Hans Zeiger is no stranger to public life. At age 19, Hans ran for precinct committee officer in the 25th legislative district in Washington state. He was elected two years later in 2006 and then again in 2008. Hans authored a book at age 20, with multiple published works following. He is a regular guest writer to more than 13 newspapers across the country, including the Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, and Human Events, where he's penned hundreds of pieces since teen years, and now, is a distinguished syndicated columnist. In college, Hans was elected president of the senior class. As World Magazine says, “When Hans shared the commencement stage with Mitt Romney as student president of Hillsdale College, the biased campus buzz was that they'd rather vote for (Hans) Zeiger.” Newsweek caught hold of him, and profiled him as one of the “15 College Students You Haven't Heard of … But Will.” In 2010, at age 25, Hans put himself again on the ticket for his beloved Evergreen State. But this time, he took a more public role. Now, Hans is in Washington State House of Representatives. He represents his stomping grounds of Puyallup, where he, his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all grew up. Hans brings his district's voice to the state capital as their state representative. “I was able to put some of the Leadership Institute's training to practice while working on campaigns, and then really put it practice on my own campaign for the state legislature,” Hans said. “LI training was essential to my success as a candidate.” Hans serves on several committees: higher education, transportation, capital budget, and joint legislative audit and review. He is also on the William Ruckelshaus Center Advisory Board and the American Legislative Exchange Council Environment and Energy Task Force. Hans serves as the alternate House minority member for the Community Economic Revitalization Board. He is actively engaged with his community through civic and community groups in roles like Boy Scouts of America executive board member, South Hill Historical Society vice president, Kiwanis Club of Puyallup member, One Another Foundation board member, Mainstream Republicans of Washington board of directors, and Action for Washington Evans Fellow, among many others. Hans is a graduate of the Leadership Institute's Broadcast Journalism School in March 2008, Grassroots Activist School in March 2003, and Grassroots Preparation Workshop in January 2003. “Four lessons I learned from LI,” Hans said, “and put to use in my campaign and public service are: first, stick to your campaign message at all times. Second, wear your nametag on your right side. Third, ask for more money than you think you can get. Fourth, for campaign events, it's better to have a room too small than a room too big.” Hans is a graduate of Hillsdale College, where he studied American Studies. He received his Master's degree in public policy from Pepperdine University, and did graduate studies in American politics and political philosophy at Claremont Graduate University. “LI is an excellent program for learning how to win in politics,” Hans said. “I recommend LI training strongly for campaign managers, policy professionals, and others who are shaping the future of our communities, state, and country.” You too can be trained to influence and serve your community. Go here for information on the dates for LI's upcoming trainings and locations. Please welcome Hans as the Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week! To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
From Constituent to Congressional Staffer: One LI Graduate’s Story
Lauren Hart
March 12, 2012
From Constituent to Congressional Staffer: One LI Graduate’s Story
James Wesolek leads constituents on tours around the U.S. Capitol. He drafts reply letters back to citizens living in his district. He helps keep the Congressman's website up to date. James is on the front lines of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he works as a staff assistant to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), his Member of Congress since boyhood. “The training the Leadership Institute offers is second to none in my book, and I owe a good portion of my career to it,” James said. “The things I have learned have put me far above my peers with only real world experience, so I recommend LI training to anyone thinking about making a career in politics.” His childhood passion for politics and teenager activism has only grown in recent years. Now, James is making a career of it all. James previously worked as an assistant for The Carlyle Gregory Company, LLC, a media and political consulting firm for candidates, public figures, political institutions, and businesses. Before that, he was a campaign coordinator for Blaine Young for County Commissioner and a field director for Hough For Delegate. “I grew up hearing about the Leadership Institute,” James said. “However, it wasn't until after college and after managing a campaign that I realized how invaluable LI's training is.” James grew up in Frederick, Maryland and was homeschooled with his two younger sisters. “We were taught from a young age that individuals can always make a better choice than the government,” James said. “Election Day was one of the few ‘homeschool holidays' we had. Our house was a block away from the local polling location so my family would go wave signs and pass out literature outside the polls," James remembered. "My mother would even make a large pot of soup to pass out to volunteers.” But it wasn't until James was 15-years-old that he made campaigning his own. He went door-to-door and chatted with fellow Marylanders about State Senator Alex Mooney and his campaign. After taking LI's Youth Leadership School and Campaign Management School back to back, James applied for LI's internship, and was placed last spring in the Institute's development department. Since then, he's taken eight LI trainings. “I've taken many schools at the Leadership Institute,” James explained, “and each school offers something different, and has helped me in different ways throughout my campaign and consulting experiences.” James continued, adding an example, “The things I learned in the LI's direct mail school have come in handy as I work on constituent letters in my current job.” You too can be trained in direct mail and fundraising. LI's High-Dollar Fundraising School is Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25 with the Online Fundraising Workshop Tuesday evening. LI's Direct Mail School and Advanced training are Monday, May 14 to Wednesday, May 16. Register now to get a discount. “LI training is like drinking from a fire hose,” James said. “There is so much great material thrown at you, just try your best to soak it all in!” Please welcome James as the Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Grad Manages Presidential Race in Africa’s Mali
Lauren Hart
March 5, 2012
LI Grad Manages Presidential Race in Africa’s Mali
Renting camels are not traditionally budgeted for most campaigns' get-out-the-vote efforts. But, for American-born and Leadership Institute-trained Patrice Pederson, camels are crucial to her candidate's success on Election Day. Patrice manages Yeah Samake's presidential race in the African country of Mali, a 14.1 million person country with 30 percent unemployment and a literacy rate of 46.4 percent. She first started on Yeah's campaign as a general consultant, but eventually accepted the campaign manager role. “The Leadership Institute has played such a huge role in my life,” Patrice said. Patrice first learned of LI when she was 15-years-old and attended LI's Youth Leadership School in Utah. She remembers the training as--originally--a good excuse to get out of junior high for a day. “I went to the Youth Leadership School, took good notes, and before I knew it,” Patrice said, “I was the vice-chair for the Utah Teenage Republicans and had a job working for Enid Waldholtz for Congress, who won the race as part of the Republican Revolution in 1994.” After working for several campaigns in high school, Patrice came to LI to become a summer intern before college. While at the Institute, Patrice took LI's Campaign Leadership School and Broadcast Journalism School. At Brigham Young University, later her alma mater, Patrice met a constitutional law professor who inspired her to learn more about family policy internationally. She spent the next 12 years fighting for life, marriage, parental rights, and religious liberties on the international level at organizations including the UN, European Union, Organization of American States, African Union, and the Human Rights Council. “During this time I was also able to give back to the Leadership Institute by teaching at their International Leadership Training Seminar,” Patrice said. She has been a volunteer faculty member for LI's Youth Leadership Schools and for various International Leadership Training Seminars. After the African Union passed the Maputo Protocol, which legalized abortion across the continent, Patrice was distraught. “I had lost my hope for Africa,” she explained. Enter Yeah Samake, candidate for president in Mali. “What Mali needs is an awakening,” Yeah said on his campaign website. Patrice was awakened. Shortly after Patrice committed to work on Yeah's campaign, she came back to LI in October to retake the Campaign Management School. “I returned to LI to update my campaign skills and to review all of that information from an African perspective. For example, my get-out-the-vote budget includes camel rentals because two-thirds of Mali is covered by the Sahara,” Patrice explained. “It was great to be back at the Leadership Institute since I feel like I practically grew up there!” “The Leadership Institute will teach you how to do whatever you want to do in politics,” Patrice said. “Once people are committed to the 'why' of politics, they need to go to LI to learn the 'how'. Even after taking almost every LI training and teaching as faculty, there is always so much more to learn.” Make a difference this year for the candidate or campaign that inspires you. LI now offers week-long campaign training the first week of every month. For more information on Yeah, please visit www.samake2012.com The Leadership Institute is a non-partisan 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. The Institute does not endorse or oppose any candidates or legislation, and all programs are open to the public. Please welcome Patrice as this week's Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Tech Entrepreneur Ethan Wingfield, LI Graduate of the Week, Enters NC Congressional Race
Lauren Hart
February 27, 2012
Tech Entrepreneur Ethan Wingfield, LI Graduate of the Week, Enters NC Congressional Race
Native North Carolinian Ethan Wingfield is now running to represent his stomping grounds in Congress. Ethan's background of growing his small business and later, advising the CEO of a Fortune 500 company—Capital One—has prepared Ethan for running a campaign. “Building a campaign is a bit like starting a business, so I have been drawing on my experience as a tech entrepreneur in getting the campaign off of the ground,” Ethan said. “Like starting a business, I have to recruit a team, develop a strategy, and raise the funds to power our campaign through the election.” “The Leadership Institute was very helpful in teaching me how to approach a campaign in a structured fashion,” Ethan said. “We've developed a concrete plan for how we will reach out to voters, cultivate support, and turn that support into votes on Election Day. LI helped demystify the whole process and flattened the campaign learning curve for me quite a bit." Ethan, originally from Buncombe County, is running for Congress in North Carolina's 11th district. A self-described “Christian businessman,” Ethan helped create thousands of jobs through his work as a successful tech entrepreneur at Elan Design + Development and strategy executive at Capital One. Growing a small business has its challenges: making payroll, meeting government regulations, serving clients, and creating new products and services that fill a gap in the marketplace. Despite these, his company Elan Design + Development grew and was later bought by Fuzz Productions, a NYC-based web development firm in April 2007. Ethan then took a job with Capital One, one of America's leading financial services firms, where he rose to become a senior strategy consultant, advising the CEO. In this position, Ethan worked with senior leadership to help the bank be more focused on the needs of hardworking Americans while driving the company's growth to create thousands of jobs during this tough economic season. Homeschooled with his five siblings in Weaverville, North Carolina, Ethan earned his Eagle Scout badge before attending Asheville-Buncombe Technical College for two years. He was then admitted to Brown University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in ethics and political philosophy. At Brown, Ethan was president of the 200-member Christian fellowship group and was state chairman of the Rhode Island College Republicans. Since, Ethan has assisted many conservatives running for offices ranging from city council to U.S. Senate. Now, he's running himself—and putting to practice what he's learned in other campaigns and at LI. Ethan took LI's Grassroots Activist School in August 2011. LI also offers a Future Candidate School and a Campaign Management School, both full-week trainings. “Campaigns are complex organizations that operate under a tremendous amount of pressure. There is a lot to accomplish in a very limited amount of time, so knowing how to focus your limited resources of time and money is critical to a winning campaign,” Ethan said. “LI's training will teach you," Ethan said, "how to focus your limited time and resources in the most effective way, which can mean the difference between winning and losing.” Sign up today to get trained on how to win. The Leadership Institute is a non-partisan 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. The Institute does not endorse or oppose any candidates or legislation, and all programs are open to the public. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Latinos’ Conservative Liaison Mario Lopez: LI Graduate of the Week
Lauren Hart
February 13, 2012
Latinos’ Conservative Liaison Mario Lopez: LI Graduate of the Week
Mario Lopez has a top-notch resume: U.S. House of Representatives' Congressional Hispanic Conference former executive director; the Republican National Committee's Hispanic Advisory Board member; George W. Bush administration's presidential appointee; House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. J.C. Watts' deputy director of coalitions and outreach; and California and Virginia campaigns staffer. Mario's most recent achievement was founding, in April 2008, the Hispanic Leadership Fund, where he currently serves as president. This group is the first non-partisan, national Latino advocacy organization run by political and public policy professionals that promotes limited government, individual liberty, and free enterprise. “I make sure that we are developing in a way that furthers our goal of expanding the conservative base to include more Latinos,” Mario explained. “The Leadership Institute helped me gain a foot into the door in Washington by helping with job searches and career development, and LI continues to help me guide our organization to new heights,” Mario said. “I am a lifelong conservative and have always been passionate about making sure that the free enterprise, limited government message reaches new audiences. The Leadership Institute has helped me carry out that mission through the Hispanic Leadership Fund.” Before founding the Hispanic Leadership Fund, Mario was tapped to serve as executive director of the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Hispanic Conference, where he served as liaison to the White House, executive branch agencies, the private sector, and public policy groups. This group comprised of between eight and 16 Members of Congress who together promoted legislation and policy that sought to foster Hispanic prosperity through free enterprise and traditional values. House Republican Conference Coalitions and Outreach Director Rick Manning said in October 2009, “Mario understands the big picture, and he is extraordinary at translating that understanding to action. It is just a matter of time before Mario is one of the most influential people in Republican politics.” Just two-and-a-half years later, influence marks Mario. Just last month, the Hispanic Leadership Fund was permitted to intervene as a defendant in U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen's (D-MD) lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission. After the U.S. District Court's DC decision, Mario's defense challenged the FEC's donor disclosure rules to protect First Amendment rights. Mario said, “We are glad that the Hispanic Leadership Fund can be at the forefront of protecting the First Amendment rights of our members and all who seek to inform the American public about political candidates and their positions on issues. We will continue to oppose liberal attempts to force federal courts to impose rules restricting free speech. ” Mario has taken seven LI trainings, including the High-Dollar Fundraising School, Online Fundraising Workshop, Introduction to TV Techniques, On-Camera TV Workshop, Blogging Workshop, and Campaign Management School. “The points I learned during the TV training in particular always stick in my mind every time I do an on-camera media interview,” Mario said. “The trainers did a wonderful job instilling the sometimes subtle, but always crucial points on how to make sure you are communicating effectively with the audience, and how to deal with the sometimes intimidating world of live television.” Mario has appeared in numerous English and Spanish language print, television, radio, and online outlets, and been quoted by Fox News, the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard, and Terra Colombia – to name just a few media outlets. Mario is a graduate of The Fund for American Studies' Institute on Political Journalism and earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of San Diego. He performed graduate work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in both political science and the Master of Professional Writing programs. “One thing that has always stood out to me is Morton's Laws of the Public Policy Process. I've read those points a few dozen times over the years, and it is always interesting just how many times I've been dealing with an issue or making a decision about what course of action to take. Inevitably, one or more of the laws always apply. The Laws of the Public Policy Process shed a succinct light on how to succeed in politics and public policy,” Mario said. “The training provided by the Leadership Institute is invaluable,” Mario said. “LI training provokes thought, open doors, and makes sure you are prepared to win, and win the right way. Even folks with experience will always end up with important takeaways.” Mario shares his expertise as a faculty member at LI's Campaign Management Schools. You too can take the same TV training Mario did and attend LI's Future Candidate School. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Scooter Schaefer: LI Helped Me Progress in Each Stage of My Career
Lauren Hart
January 30, 2012
Scooter Schaefer: LI Helped Me Progress in Each Stage of My Career
Scooter Schaefer is on the front lines fighting liberal bias in the media every day. His turf: the internet. His work: communications marketing coordinator for the Media Research Center (MRC), a leader in documenting, exposing, and neutralizing liberal media bias. Scooter's special focus at MRC is a new project, which he describes as “a major drive to demand fair election coverage of the 2012 presidential election.” He added, “One key component to our fair election coverage campaign will be social media, which is where I come in.” Scooter is a graduate of four LI trainings, two of which were focused on new media. “I can attest that the Leadership Institute training I received is first-rate and has had a direct impact on my professional development,” Scooter explained. “While all of the classes have benefited me in one way or another," Scooter said, "the Comprehensive Online Activist School and New Media Workshop provided me with the training and tools I needed to take the next step into a career in social media and politics.” Scooter continued, “The training that LI provides is unique in that they offer real and effective political training by conservative leaders in the movement. There is no better place to receive interactive, hands-on political training from experienced conservative leaders than the Leadership Institute.” “As a young activist hoping to break into conservative politics in Washington D.C., the Leadership Institute provided me with practical and useful training as well as access to leaders in the conservative movement,” Scooter said. Of course, Scooter did not always dream of a move to Washington, D.C. and a career in politics. “I grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota, went to high school in Burlington, Vermont, and eventually settled in the D.C. metro area after attending college at George Mason University,” he said. After a post-graduation backpacking trip through Europe with his wife, Scooter came home with a “new-found appreciation for America,” and ended up working for a Member of Congress, as director of communications for ProEnglish, and – ultimately – the Media Research Center, where he can combine his interest in politics and social media. You too can take the same training as Scooter by attending this Wednesday's Advanced New Media Workshop: Campaigns offered at LI's Arlington, VA office. Or you can register for LI's Comprehensive Online Activist School February 27-28. LI's New Media Training Coordinator Carol Wehe said, “LI's expert new media faculty are founders of digital technology consulting firms, presidential campaign staffers, and consultants with first-hand political experience. Scooter and many other LI graduates have grown careers and expanded the conservative movement through strategies they learned at trainings like the Comprehensive Online Activist School and Advanced New Media Workshop.” Want to jumpstart your career in politics like Scooter? Scooter credits LI's ConservativeJobs.com resource for his career in politics and social media. “For any young conservative activist eager to get involved in politics, ConservativeJobs is a critical job placement service and resource that should not be passed up,” Scooter said. “ConservativeJobs not only helped me land my first internship, but it has helped me progress in each stage of my career in conservative politics.” ConservativeJobs.com is where employers and jobseekers connect online. Employers post openings and search for conservative employees using the resume database and robust 200-question public policy questionnaire, at no cost to either employers or jobseekers. Create your jobseeker or employer account today. Contact LI's Director of Employment Placement Service Emily Miller for questions. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Naples Councilman: LI Training Is Essential For Success In Politics
Lauren Hart
January 23, 2012
Naples Councilman: LI Training Is Essential For Success In Politics
City Councilman for the City of Naples Sam Saad, III brings a wealth of experience with him to the job: attorney; business entrepreneur and owner; former presidential campaigner; and political appointee for the Department of Labor, among others jobs working for Members of Congress and a governor. “We have wonderful people and wonderful potential in our town,” Sam said. “It is my goal to ensure that Naples remains THE premier place to live, work, and raise a family—today and tomorrow.” Sam's main focus, he says, is economic development in the downtown area. “Specifically, I am working to reduce fees, permitting times, and zoning issues so that Naples is a more attractive place to invest.” Sam took LI's Campaign Leadership School in November of 1995. “Going to the Leadership Institute's Campaign Leadership School was the jumping off point from volunteer to professional campaigner,” Sam said. “I use those skills to manage my business and my political office.” When asked about the Institute's programs, Sam said: “LI training is INVALUABLE. It is essential for success in politics whether an elected official or an activist.” “The part I remember and use the most are list management and GOTV,” Sam said. “I always worked in the field operations part of campaigns and I am pretty good with an Excel spreadsheet so I could create walk lists and manage the ‘sign war'.” Sam is the owner of a real estate and business law practice, Sam J. Saad III, PA, which provides general legal advice and tax planning to small business owners. Before starting his business, Sam was an attorney with Advocate Aircraft Taxation Co. in Naples. There he implemented tax planning strategies for aircraft owners, negotiated aircraft acquisition, financing and insurance terms. Before moving to Naples, Sam was a presidential appointee serving as special assistant to the Solicitor of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor. Before that, Sam was coalitions, management and communications assistant on the Bush-Cheney 2004 reelection campaign. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sam earned his bachelor's of science degree in business administration. He holds his Juris Doctorate (JD) from the Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska. Sam has previously worked as a field operative for Bresow for Governor, an intern for Stenberg for Senate, and as an intern for Rep. Jon Christensen. Sam is involved with the local Naples business community as an executive member of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and as an active participant in the Collier County Bar Association and Young Professionals of Naples. If you are interested in taking you're campaigning to the next level—from volunteer to professional campaigner or candidate—register for LI's campaign training. LI now offers campaign training every month for a full week. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Andrew McIndoe Educates Young People in Conservatism
Lauren Hart
January 16, 2012
Andrew McIndoe Educates Young People in Conservatism
Andrew McIndoe's commitment to conservative principles has been years in the making. Andrew, as a young twenty-something, has a resume with experience at Grove City's Center for Vision and Values, the Leadership Institute, Young America's Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, The Fund for American Studies, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation's Associate Program, and the Bill of Rights Institute, where he is currently a director of development. “Attending my first Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School in 2002 led to my first job as a youth campaign coordinator in the most expensive congressional primary race in 2004,” Andrew said. “My first experiences in Washington, D.C. came to fruition because of my internship at the Leadership Institute. That summer served as a springboard for me in many ways.” Since 2002, Andrew has attended 22 Leadership Institute trainings. “When I was an intern at LI, during the summer of 2007 in Morton's office, I decided that I would try to attend every training that was offered during those few months,” Andrew explained. “LI interns didn't have to pay to attend trainings and we lived a few, short blocks away so learning how to win was a never-ending process.” “I love how LI trainings provide attendees with both the theoretical background information on a subject and the technical, pragmatic know-how that's important to delivering a victory for conservative causes,” Andrew said. “After attending a wide variety of schools, I felt much more well-rounded and prepared to engage in the fight.” Andrew said, “Be it direct mail, public relations, grassroots organizing, television training, or campaign management, I gained a much better understanding of how to be effective.” Interning at the Leadership Institute was “also my first exposure to the incredible network of generous people who choose to invest in shaping the next generation of liberty-minded leaders. Little did I know that I would end up working in this field professionally after college,” Andrew said. Following his LI internship, Andrew was a summer development intern at the Heritage Foundation and a summer Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar at Young America's Foundation. After college, Andrew participated in the Charles G. Koch Associate Program, a one-year competitive management training program, during which he worked at The Fund for American Studies as a development associate. Currently, Andrew is director of development for the Bill of Rights Institute, a non-profit organization that educates young people about the words and ideas of America's founders, the liberties guaranteed in the founding documents, and how the founding principles continue to shape our free society. “Working in development, I act as a philanthropic consultant, enabling generous people to achieve their charitable goals and reaching their dream of returning a Constitutional culture to the United States,” Andrew said. Andrew was born in Oak Ridge, North Carolina and graduated from Grove City College in 2010 with a degree in political science and entrepreneurship. At Grove City, Andrew was a marketing Koch fellow for Grove City's Center for Vision and Values, a free-market campus think tank. He also founded the Crimson Conservatives, a campus organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual freedom. Crimson Conservatives are affiliated with LI's Campus Leadership Program, which aids students in starting and maintaining conservative organizations on their campus. Andrew also made school history when he won a second, year-long term as executive president of the Student Government Association at Grove City College. “LI training is the best bang for your buck out there,” Andrew said. “The staff and faculty work hard to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. The faculty members are great which means the thousands of Institute graduates are constantly learning from the best in the field." To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Ron Nehring, California Republican Party Chairman  (2007 - 2011) – 
LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week
Lauren Hart
December 23, 2011
Ron Nehring, California Republican Party Chairman (2007 - 2011) – LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week
Hailing from the Golden State, the former California Republican Party chairman works to advance conservatives in leadership throughout the state, country, and world because he knows the value of liberty. The only child of German immigrant parents who experienced the Cold War, Ron appreciates the light and delight that the “City on the Hill” brings to the world. As California Republican Party (CRP) chairman, Ron and his team raised more than $73 million, permanently retired more $4 million in debt, and instituted a wide array of management and financial reforms in his four years before stepping down earlier this year due to term limits. “Leadership Institute training dramatically improves the effectiveness of any candidate, campaign staff member, or activist who attends. Every day I take the principles we teach at the Leadership Institute and put them into practice,” Ron said. “The Leadership Institute had a direct and very positive impact at every level of my career, starting with the very first LI training I attended as a 19-year-old College Republican in 1990,” Ron said. “While I studied political science in the classroom, the Leadership Institute taught me the value and importance of organization and communication, and how those skills directly contribute to individual success, as well as the advancement of the conservative movement.” Before he was chairman of the CRP, Ron served as chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County “specifically because I said that if elected I would apply the campaign methodologies taught at the Leadership Institute. During my tenure, we did precisely that, and in the course of so doing we built one of the largest and most successful county Republican committees in America,” Ron explained. Ron took three LI trainings: Student Publications School in February 1990; Youth Leadership School in March 1990; and Broadcast Journalism School in June 1993. Ron has served as LI faculty at more than 33 trainings in the U.S. and abroad from places as various as Texas, Hawaii, England, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, California, Louisiana, Colorado, New York, Tennessee, and New Mexico. Ron is a past chairman of the Republican National Committee's State Chairmen's Committee. From 2005 to 2006 Ron was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a member of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. From 2004 to 2006, he was a member of the Grossmont Union High School District Board of Trustees, where he proposed a bold plan to transform all of the district's 11 high schools into charter schools to be managed by boards elected by parents of the children attending each school. In 2003, Ron was unanimously chosen by his peers to serve as president of the California Republican County Chairmen's Association. “I know my fellow chairmen appreciated how we institutionalized the sharing of information and political technology. I learned the importance of sharing such valuable information from my work with LI,” Ron said. During his term, the association took on major new roles in providing professional training and support for county chairmen, sharing information between counties, and serving as a strong advocate for increasing support for volunteers through 58 county committees. “When I moved to San Diego in 2000 we held a Leadership Institute school in San Diego, and I invited local activists to participate,” Ron said. “A few months later, when a change of leadership was coming to the county Republican Party, I was recruited to run for chairman, and I developed a plan for the county party based on what we teach at the Leadership Institute. I was elected by acclamation, and we put those plans into action.” In 2001, when Ron was elected chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego unanimously, the county was one of America's largest counties with a population exceeding more than a dozen states. During his chairmanship: fundraising increased more than twenty-fold; support for local candidates surged; and the party pioneered the largest, ongoing Republican voter turnout program in California. Ron inherited a committee long in debt, and through a combination of strong fundraising and solid financial management, he left it with large cash reserves and debt-free. Ron is a former president of his College Republican club, and is a first generation American born here in the Land of the Free. “I'm the only child of two German immigrant parents. My father was a sailor in the German merchant marines, and when he left at age 26 he decided that of all the places he had seen as a sailor, he most wanted to raise a family in the freedom he saw defined America,” Ron reflected. “During the Cold War, my parents watched as Germany remained divided and the East was dominated by the Soviet Union. My father saw little difference in between the socialists in Europe and the Democrats here in America in that both groups wanted government prerogative to supplant individual liberty,” Ron said. “When I got to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I immediately joined the College Republicans and while there, I learned of the Leadership Institute,” Ron said. “I traveled to Washington the next year to attend my first LI school,” Ron remembered. “It was at this first training that I met Morton Blackwell and my first LI faculty, and I finally felt like there were others in the country who shared my conservative ideas, and more importantly, wanted to teach me how to win. I was hooked.” Come get “hooked” on how to win like Ron was by registering for an upcoming Leadership Institute training. Ron might even be one of your faculty members. “The best part about teaching at Leadership Institute trainings is the people who attend – both the participants, and the faculty. LI training becomes a one- or two-day learning and networking event benefitting everyone in the room,” Ron said. “I really enjoy meeting the candidates, activists, and future campaign staff who take the time to attend and learn what it takes to win,” he continued. “By being there, they've already shown they have a level of commitment and they recognize the importance of organizing and communicating so we can leave prepared to defeat the left.” To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Frank Scaturro’s “Natural Progression” to New York Congressional Candidate
Lauren Hart
December 12, 2011
Frank Scaturro’s “Natural Progression” to New York Congressional Candidate
Frank Scaturro is no ordinary candidate. Born to an Italian immigrant who made the American Dream reality as an entrepreneur, his son Frank knows the value of hard work and high ethics. These principles drive Frank to restore freedom back to the citizens and businesses of Long Island and away from the federal government. Conserving liberty is why Frank is running for Congress. “In New York, it's still early in the campaign season, so I will typically make lots of phone calls to actual and potential supporters during business hours when I am not handling case work or attending an event,” Frank said. Frank is active in his community, and one can often find him distributing clothing and supplies to veterans or talking to seniors about the Constitution or speaking at Kiwanis clubs, chambers of commerce, historical-preservation groups, or Republican women's clubs. When the weather warms, Frank is out knocking doors and greeting voters. In August 2008 Frank attended LI training in St. Paul, Minnesota where he learned grassroots lobbying and campaign management tactics, such as: campaign plans, messaging, voter ID, and debating. Frank's campaign Communications Director Akeem Mellis is also an LI graduate, taking a Grassroots Communications Workshop and a Campus Action Workshop. “The Leadership Institute provides the kind of training that is indispensable to winning a competitive election,” Frank said. “There are so many impressive policy think tanks out there that deal with policy, but the Leadership Institute is unique in devoting itself to process—a dimension of education that is necessary for us to be in a position to build a better future through public policy.” For Frank, Congress isn't something new; this legislative body captivated him at age seven. “My candidacy marks a natural progression from the moment I was captivated by American history at age 7 to my more recent opportunities for public service and scholarship,” Frank said. Born in New York City in 1972, Frank, the Eagle Scout, worked hard at his high school summer jobs: restaurant busboy; store cashier; high school maintenance help. Interestingly, in college (1993) Frank interned for Rep. David Levy, who represented NY's 4th congressional district, the seat for which Frank is currently seeking. “I had my first opportunity to encounter Congress from the outside while I was studying at Columbia University during the early 1990's. I volunteered with the National Park Service nearby at President Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb and discovered a level of desecration and neglect that I considered a national disgrace,” Frank remembered. “In the face of the bureaucracy's unwillingness to remedy the problem, I pursued the general public and the New York congressional delegation so that we could secure a restoration of the monument by its 1997 Centennial,” Frank said. He founded a non-profit organization, the Grant Monument Association, which served as an outlet for citizen support for the monument and a source of education on the life and legacy of President Grant. By 1997, his many reports and memos were answered with a $1.8 million face-lift. Victory! After law school, Frank worked as an attorney in private practice while continuing to pursue truth in the fields of history and law by taking every opportunity to publish. What emerged was one study on the civil rights amendments to the Constitution and a volume he co-authored on how to be a responsible public company in the wake of the corporate scandals of the early part of the last decade. Following private practice, Frank served more than four years as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he handled constitutional law matters and judicial nominations, including the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Frank also served as a visiting professor at Hofstra Law School, where he taught courses on the legislative process and constitutional law. This year he joined the law firm FSB FisherBroyles, which puts “the traditional law firm structure in a clean room and dismantles it. This new law firm 2.0 model discards costly inefficiencies such as expensive overhead, inexperienced attorneys, and the multi-layered approach to delivery of services,” according to their website. But now it's time for Frank's next stage of public policy: running a New York congressional campaign. “The Leadership Institute training I attended was certainly helpful in refining strategies for walking neighborhoods and targeting voters,” Frank said. “I had been involved in dozens of campaigns since high school, and my district is conducive to traditional forms of campaigning like walk-through canvassing, phone banks, and signs.” Frank continues, “LI keeps up to date on the best of the new technology and combines it with the best advice on perfecting traditional methods of voter outreach. It has left me that much more aware of the inexpensive methods that are available to connect with voters and even to register new ones.” “My only regret is that my schedule did not permit me to attend LI's week-long candidate school,” Frank said. If you are considering a bid for office or ready to run a conservative's campaign, considering coming to LI's next campaign training Monday, Jan. 30 through Thursday, Feb. 2. For more information, go here. Please welcome Frank Scaturro as LI's Graduate of the Week. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Rachel Hoff—the International Affairs Expert—Is LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week
Lauren Hart
December 5, 2011
Rachel Hoff—the International Affairs Expert—Is LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week
Rachel Hoff's passion for politics and international affairs has been a journey in the making, and is certainly quite distinguishable. A daughter of expatriates, who worked in Japan, Rachel attended Tufts University and then went to work for the American Enterprise Institute, United States Congress, National Republican Congressional Committee, and, now, at the Foreign Policy Initiative as director of government relations & outreach. “Leadership Institute training was absolutely formative in the early stages of my career,” Rachel said. “The lessons I learned at LI schools taught me how to do the leadership positions I held in the Young Republicans as national field director and director of media relations. Working hard at these volunteer positions during my first several years in Washington propelled my professional journey in a way that focusing solely on my day jobs could never have done,” Rachel said. Rachel was born in Japan and grew up near Tokyo as her parents taught at the U.S. military base school. After high school graduation in Japan, Rachel attended Tufts near Boston, where she majored in political science and philosophy and was an active member of the Tufts College Republicans. And so began the integration of her international experiences living abroad, her formal political education, and her hands-on political training and experience. Rachel attended LI's Youth Leadership School in August 2004, directly before entering her first full-time job in Washington at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). “The YLS I attended in 2004 taught me everything I know about organizing youth politics – how to recruit, organize, and mobilize young people for the conservative cause,” Rachel recalls. Several months later, Rachel began as the Foreign and Defense Policy Studies research assistant at AEI working on issues in the Middle East, democracy promotion, counterterrorism strategies, and weapons nonproliferation. She was at AEI for two years before heading to Capitol Hill to work as a legislative assistant and research analyst in the U.S. House of Representatives for Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), for whom she focused on foreign affairs and national security issues. After almost two years on the Hill, Rachel joined the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), where she worked as a media coordinator in the independent expenditures unit. At the NRCC, Rachel coordinated a $20-million program of TV, radio, and mail advertising in 35 congressional districts around the country. A half-year later, Rachel moved to her current role at the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), where she's been since February 2009. As the director of government relations and outreach, Rachel is responsible for outreach to Capitol Hill, candidates, media, and like-minded organizations. She runs all of FPI's public events, from major conferences to young professionals programs in Washington, D.C. and New York. She also directs the FPI Future Leaders Program, which identifies and cultivates 20 rising foreign policy leaders annually. When asked about Institute programs, Rachel said, “LI training is conservative boot camp! This training is absolutely necessary for any aspiring young leader on the right.” A big believer in LI training, Rachel worked with LI staff to bring a Grassroots Communications Workshop to the Young Republicans National Conference in April 2006, where she managed conference logistics. Rachel has volunteered her time as an LI faculty member since 2009. Just last month she taught at LI's Conservative Career Workshop about her experience in Washington. Rachel shared how her career started and how to successfully climb the “ladder” of political careers. It was the fourth Conservative Career Workshop from LI at which she's spoken. “LI offers young conservatives a solid grounding in proven, time-tested techniques along with fresh, contemporary approaches across the spectrum of political work, all taught by some of the finest practitioners and operators on the right,” Rachel said. Please welcome Rachel Hoff as LI's Graduate and Faculty of the Week. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Canadian Richard Dur Brings Home Conservative Victory
Lauren Hart
November 28, 2011
Canadian Richard Dur Brings Home Conservative Victory
Richard Dur, the Leadership Institute's graduate of the week, helped bring home a victory for conservatives in Canada. “Your training and tutorship was absolutely invaluable. Thank you! Putting much of what I learned from and at LI made for a victory of the Wildrose Alliance Party in the 2009 Calgary-Glenmore By-election in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It's a party that is now a real force in Alberta politics,” said Richard. Richard and another LI graduate, Tony Reznowski, teamed up to work on the successful campaign. Richard first came to the Leadership Institute in May 2008 for the week-long Campaign Manager School and then for the Internet Activist School. “LI graduate and Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders said it well when he described LI training as ‘taking a drink from a fire hose,'” Richard said. “I would encourage all conservative activists to take LI training, work on a campaign, take more training, and do more campaigns. This method I found grew my understanding of campaigns and increased my ability to put that understanding into practice.” Richard came back for more training in February 2009. He took LI's Political Voter Mail School and the week-long Campaign Manager School for a second time. “You're bound to learn something as LI teaches so very much, but bound to miss lots too given the sheer volume and density of the program,” Richard explained, “hence the benefit of taking the training several times, complemented with actual work on political campaigns.” When not campaigning, Richard manages his business, Blue Direct – Political Services, which provides consulting and telephone services for conservative candidates running for office at all levels and for conservative organizations across Canada. “Morton Blackwell's ‘The Laws of Public Policy Process' adorns my office wall,” Richard said, “and it has provided constant insight and guidance throughout my career.” Richard was born and raised in Alberta, Canada as the youngest of three children, and graduated from St. Mary's University College (Calgary). He and his wife Chantelle, pictured above, have two children. His family currently resides in Calgary. LI offers campaign training the first full week of every month. Come the week of December 5 for LI's Future Candidate School. LI has an International Leadership Training Seminar the week of December 11 in Arlington, VA. Contact LI's Director of International Programs Miguel Moreno at MMoreno@LImail.us for more details. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Congratulations to LI's 100,000th Graduate, Alejandro Capote
Abigail Alger
November 21, 2011
Congratulations to LI's 100,000th Graduate, Alejandro Capote
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.
LI Graduates of the Week: Newly Elected Virginia Delegate Mike Watson and Campaign Manager Annette James
Lauren Hart
November 14, 2011
LI Graduates of the Week: Newly Elected Virginia Delegate Mike Watson and Campaign Manager Annette James
Leadership Institute graduates Mike Watson, founder and president of Control Automation Technologies Corporation and, as of last week, newly elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, together with his Campaign Manager Annette James are this week's Leadership Institute Graduates of the Week. “Mike Watson and I met at LI just under one year ago and this past week, we brought home a victory for Mike as the new delegate over an incumbent in a district with a 53 percent Obama approval rating, and where the generic ballot test favored the Democrat,” Annette said. “It was an uphill battle, but we succeeded.” Mike and Annette met at LI's week-long Campaign Management School in December 2010. “LI is one of the best things that you can do if you are interested in politics,” Annette said. “The amount of information you receive is a bit like ‘drinking from a fire hose.'" Mike said: “I have a clear vision of goals for the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation. As I determine the route that I will take to accomplish these, rest assured, I will make a difference. Without a doubt, the knowledge and skills learned through LI will be a significant facilitator in this effort.” Mike has taken many LI trainings: Television Workshops (both introduction to techniques and also on-camera); Public Speaking Workshop; Campaign Manager School; Future Candidate School; and Legislative Project Management School. Annette too has come for lots of training, including the Event Planning Workshop; Travel-Campaign Management School; Public Speaking Workshop; Campaign Manager School; and Youth Leadership School. Mike and Annette pursued the goal of “working to preserve the American dream,” Mike's campaign slogan, and brought home a victory last Tuesday in Virginia's state elections. As Mike heads to work in Richmond, Annette is heading back to her home in Florida before gearing up for a national campaign. “Mike and I are both willing and eager to come back to LI and tell our story at any training class you would like us at,” Annette said. “Any way we can help to promote the heck out of LI through this victory, we would be thrilled to do so!” Annette added, “We will always be grateful to LI; you hold a special place in our hearts.” LI offers campaign training the first full week of every month. Mike and Annette met at one of these week-long campaign trainings. Come to a training; you just never know. To read a former story on Annette, please click here. To read a former story on Mike, please click here. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Madrid Taxi Driver to Texas Congressional Campaign Manager: Thomas Beach, LI’s Graduate of the Week
Lauren Hart
November 7, 2011
Madrid Taxi Driver to Texas Congressional Campaign Manager: Thomas Beach, LI’s Graduate of the Week
Thomas Beach packed his bags and left his beloved Alabama for a new opportunity in the Lone Star State: managing a congressional campaign for James Kuiken in Texas' 15th district. “My main focus is on the Republican primary election in March and using what I learned about the science of campaigning at the Leadership Institute to win,” Thomas explained. This campaign is his fifth. On his first political campaign, Thomas explained, “I was full of spit and fire, and thought I knew what it took…We won 16% of the vote. I had no experience and no training at the time, but I poured my heart and soul into that campaign.” After his candidate lost, Thomas wanted to understand why. “In my search for answers,” he said, “I discovered the Leadership Institute. Afterward, I helped on various campaigns and organizations, and now I am in Texas fighting for the conservative cause.” Thomas was raised by his Mexican mother and Jewish father. After several tours as a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, he traveled the world by way of various jobs: Madrid taxi driver; English teacher in Brazil and Mexico; and fisherman in South Korea. As Thomas' international perspective grew, so did his conviction that liberty is the only solution. “I witnessed firsthand the results of centralized governments and their progressive policies,” Thomas recounted. So began his involvement in the public policy process. Thomas returned to the United States with his wife, a native of Brazil, and they now have a two-year-old daughter. “I went to school at the University of Alabama for a degree in political science,” Thomas said, “and entered the political ring to fight bare-knuckled for the conservative cause.” Thomas first came to the Leadership Institute's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA in December 2010 for several LI trainings: the week-long Campaign Management School; the Blogging Workshop; and the Public Speaking Workshop. But that wasn't enough. He wanted more. Two months later, Thomas attended the Conservative Career Workshop; the Public Speaking Workshop for a second time; the On-Camera Television Workshop; and LI's High-Dollar Fundraising School. Within six months, Thomas was back. This time, for the week-long, intensive Future Candidate School and LI's Online Fundraising Workshop. “I would highly encourage folks to go to LI training if they've never been,” Thomas said. “It's a great place to network with fellow conservatives and learn exactly what it takes to win elections...Plus, there is a dorm which helps on keeping the cost of staying in the Washington, D.C. area down.” Thomas said, “For anyone who has plenty of experience and assumes that they will not learn anything new, I encourage them to put their pride in check and take notes. You will learn something new. For anyone who is new to the conservative fight, take notes till your fingers bleed. Write down every word and then go home and type it all on your computer. Yes, do it exactly that way. Taking any course and stuffing the handouts in a closet till the next election cycle does not help the conservative cause.” LI now offers campaign training like Thomas took every month. LI's next week-long, intensive training is the Future Candidate School the week of December 5. Come get trained. Register here. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI’s Graduate of the Week: Passionate Public Policy Pro Jessica Talbert
Lauren Hart
October 31, 2011
LI’s Graduate of the Week: Passionate Public Policy Pro Jessica Talbert
Ohio native Jessica Talbert first became interested in politics as a student at Flagler College in Florida. Her passion for politics and participation in public policy only grew. Now, Jessica has worked in most areas of the public policy process, ranging from the executive and legislative branches to PACs, lobbying groups, Capitol Hill, and political committees. Jessica came to the Leadership Institute first for the Capitol Hill Staff Training School in November 2010 and returned for the week-long Campaign Manager School in December 2010. “I highly recommend the Leadership Institute for conservatives who want to get firsthand training in a variety of topics from campaign management, public speaking, grassroots, and the list goes on,” Jessica said. “In addition to offering great training, the Leadership Institute also brings together conservatives from across the nation, creating relationships that will last our entire careers.” Jessica continued, “Having volunteered in numerous capacities with campaigns, I attended LI's Campaign Manager School to learn the overall operations of a campaign. I was amazed by the experts who spoke at this training…. This training was thorough, extremely informative, and overall a great experience.” Jessica worked in government affairs in D.C. for seven years, but, as she explained, “once Republicans took over the House, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to get firsthand experience working on policy and legislation.” So, Jessica registered for LI's Capitol Hill Staff Training School in November after the elections. She joined 146 other conservatives, making it the largest training in LI's Steven P.J. Wood Building at that time in the Institute's history. “My goal in attending the Capitol Hill Staff Training School was to network with the students and seasoned Republican staffers,” Jessica said. “The class provided a well-rounded explanation on the various issues facing job seekers and also what to expect after finding a position on the Hill.” Jessica got a job working in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Steve Austria (OH-7), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, in February 2011. As his legislative assistant, Jessica handles appropriations and policy issues concerning judicial programs, transportation and infrastructure, homeland security, health care, Medicare, Social Security, education, and labor. In college, Jessica said she “was honored to intern for Congressman John Mica in his district office where I learned the importance of constituent services. I then spent a semester in D.C. interning with the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy and Congressman Dave Camp. This was a unique semester because I simultaneously interned with the Executive and Legislative branches, which was an eye-opening experience on how our government really operates.” “After my semester in D.C.,” Jessica reflected, “I knew I wanted to live here after college. Two days after graduation, I moved to D.C. and started my career.” Her first job was at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Then, she moved to do policy research on substance abuse issues at a small firm. Before moving the Capitol Hill, Jessica most recently ran a political action committee in the health care industry. As Jessica worked during the day, she attended law school at George Mason University School of Law in the evenings. When she wasn't working or going to school, Jessica was volunteering in politics. “As an attorney, I volunteered in Alaska last year for the Senate contest and also volunteered as the Election Day Coordinator in Stark County for the Ohio Republican Party,” Jessica said. “Campaigning is also a passion of mine, and I have volunteered on a Florida State Representative race and Team Ohio.” LI is offering the Conservative Career Workshop November 15-16, similar to the Capitol Hill Staff Training School that Jessica took last year. Register now to reserve your spot. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General Rob Carter, LI’s Graduate of the Week, Transitions to Capitol Hill
Lauren Hart
October 24, 2011
Former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General Rob Carter, LI’s Graduate of the Week, Transitions to Capitol Hill
After being away from Washington, D.C. for nearly 15 years, the Leadership Institute's Graduate of the Week Rob Carter has returned to join the fight on Capitol Hill. “I knew I could learn the new ropes, but I didn't know where to start until I stumbled across a Facebook ad for a Leadership Institute course,” Rob remembers. “That changed everything.” “Nobody—and I mean nobody—can understand how this town works without someone guiding you through the process,” Rob said. “LI gives you the tools and connections you need to get your foot in the door. What you do once you're there is up to you.” In September 2010, Rob attended the Leadership Institute's Legislative Project Management School, and in November 2010 and February 2011 he attended LI's Capitol Hill Staff Training School. In June 2011 Rob came back for the Television Workshop's Introduction to Techniques. “The Leadership Institute taught me how a Congressional office functions and how to get recognized by potential employers. Hill resumes are quite different than those for law firms, and LI really helped me with that,” Rob said. A lawyer by trade, Rob has also worked for: the State of New Jersey as the deputy attorney general; Rep. Bill Posey (FL-15) as a legislative aide; and now for Rep. Bob Turner (NY-9) as his senior legislative assistant. “LI introduced me to many of the people I now see on a weekly (if not daily) basis,” Rob said. "LI also helped me to understand the way political campaigns work and how to market our message in a way that connects with our constituents.” Campaigning is in Rob's blood. He was victorious on three Republican campaigns that were formerly held by Democrats: Senator Scott Brown (MA); Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-3); and Congressman Bob Turner (NY-9). “Two of my classmates from LI's September 2010 Legislative Project Management School were also on the Runyan campaign,” Rob said. “I acquired a large number of contacts through my LI classes, both from presenters and fellow classmates. That alone was worth the small price of the classes,” Rob said. In September, Rob took on a new job: senior legislative assistant in the office of Congressman Bob Turner. In this role, Rob handles homeland security and national defense issues. “Being a tax attorney,” Rob said, “I also review legislation involving taxation, budget & financial services. I meet with constituents and issue advocates, draft legislation, attend committee meetings, monitor floor activity, and prepare vote recommendations.” Previously, Rob worked for Rep. Bill Posey's (FL-15) as a legislative aide. There, he “handled Financial Services Committee affairs for our office, and did legal work on taxation, Government Sponsored Entities (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), FDIC bank oversight rules and FDA regulation,” Rob said. “During that time, my favorite project was preparing a 12-minute PowerPoint presentation on the debt crisis for Congressman Posey's website,” Rob said. “It proved invaluable during the Continuing Budget/Government shutdown debate in April and the debt ceiling battle this August.” During his college years at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, Rob interned for the U.S. State Department and at the Jesuit Refugee Service when not working on his political science degree. Rob went onto graduate from: Loyola University of Chicago with a M.A. in Philosophy and Theology; Seton Hall Law School with a J.D.; and, New York University School of Law with a LL.M. in Taxation. Rob suggests LI training for all conservatives: “I speak to countless people, both students and long-term career folks, who want to get a start in Washington. I can think of no place better than LI to get the skills you need for the road ahead.” LI is offering the Conservative Career Workshop November 15-16, similar to the Capitol Hill Staff Training School that Rob took last year. Register now to reserve your spot. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
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