August 29, Arlington, VA—For Brenda Stedham her life-long dream was to hold public office. She made that dream a reality in 2008 when she was elected as the Presiding Circuit Judge in the Family Court Division of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Alabama.
As Brenda’s youngest daughter approached the end of high school, Brenda seized the opportunity and reached for her dream. “One of the people I met as I began considering my political future was Vicki Bailey, a campaign consultant, who felt strongly that I attend the LI’s week-long candidate training,” Brenda said. Vicki is also a LI graduate, having attended six trainings. Brenda goes on, “I applied, was accepted, and was glad for the opportunity to go to the Leadership Institute.”
Brenda made the trek to Arlington, Virginia for LI’s Future Candidate School the week of July 23, 2007. In addition to LI’s Future Candidate School, Brenda attended LI’s Grassroots Campaign School the month prior.
“The training I received that week was amazing! I learned how to prepare a campaign budget, how to organize a finance committee, how to do grassroots campaigning, how to work with the media, and how to present myself in a way that would be successful,” Brenda said.
Brenda began her activism right away by getting involved with the local and statewide political scene. She founded the Cheaha Republican Women’s club where she served as the first president and represented the club at the statewide meetings at both the Alabama Federation of Republican Women and the Alabama Republican Party.
“I also became an active member of the Calhoun County Republican Executive Committee,” Brenda remarks, “making even more connections. Because of the connections I made with the AFRW and the Calhoun County Republican Executive Committee, in 2008 the State Republican Chair, Mike Hubbard, appointed me to serve as a member of the State Republican Executive Committee!”
Brenda continues: “When the Republican nomination for Calhoun County Family Court became open in the summer of 2008, I was ready to apply. I was able to prepare an impressive resume, listing my training with the Leadership Institute as well as the other political activities that I had been involved with as the direct result of my training at LI.”
Brenda is now more than half way through her third year as Presiding Circuit Judge. She says, “I handle cases from Calhoun and Cleburne Counties, which are both in the State's Seventh Judicial Circuit. Caseload includes divorces, divorce modifications, delinquency and dependency cases, adult abuse and neglect, and protection from abuse cases.”
Brenda received her B.A. in political science from Birmingham—Southern Alabama, graduating cum laude. She went straight on to earn her J.D. from the University of Alabama, where she was on the editorial board for the Law & Psychology Review. Previously, she was an attorney-at-law and solo practitioner from 2001-2009. She was also a staff parish committee member for the Anniston First United Methodist Church.
Brenda encourages candidates and staff to attend LI training: “I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering a political campaign, whether at the local, state, or national level, sign up for LI training immediately. It prepares candidates the right way to organize a campaign and avoid many of the pitfalls that can doom a campaign.”
Interested in getting political training like Brenda? Visit our website for a list of our upcoming trainings.
The Leadership Institute welcomes Honorable Judge Brenda Stedham as LI Graduate of the Week!
To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate for LI Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.