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