U.Va.'s Sorensen Institute Welcomes 40 Virginians to its Political Leaders Program

January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009 — The University of Virginia's Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership has selected 40 people to become members of its Political Leaders Program Class of 2009.

The non-partisan political leadership training program welcomes Virginians interested in becoming more active in public service, whether as community leaders or as elected officials. The program seeks to encourage principled leadership, a commitment to public service and bipartisan solutions to issues of governance.

The new class members were selected from among a record number of applicants in a highly competitive process that involved a comprehensive essay-based application and an in-person interview. One essential goal of the selection process is to ensure that the program participants reflect the demographic and geographic make-up of the state.

This year's class represents the spectrum of political leanings and is balanced among Republicans, Democrats and independents. Geographically, the class hails from throughout Virginia and reflects the Commonwealth's diverse population. Class members are of a broad range of ages and have a wide set of personal and professional backgrounds and life experiences. This composition is critical to the effectiveness of the program.

Through the program, the Sorensen Institute seeks to improve political leadership in Virginia, thereby strengthening the quality of governance at all levels of government. The Political Leadership Program's curriculum focuses on three core subject areas: Ethics in Public Service, Public Policy, and Campaign and Advocacy Skills.

Sessions are convened in various locations across Virginia, once a month from March through December. Participation has become a traditional "first step" for future political leaders in the Commonwealth. Sixteen Sorensen alumni now serve in the Virginia General Assembly; dozens more have been appointed to boards and commissions, while nearly 100 have been elected to local office.

The new class will meet for its first session March 5-7 in Williamsburg.

The members of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2009 are:

Kenneth Leo Alger II, Stanley
Jaime A. Areizaga, Arlington
Donald A. Bewkes Jr., Crozier
DeWanda K. Bock, Suffolk
Keela Alicia Boose, Norfolk
Matthew Herndon Charles, Danville
Steven Curtis Cochran, Blacksburg
Michael J. Coker, Portsmouth
Matthew A. Conrad, Richmond
Gordon K. Eplee, North Garden
Carolina Espinal, Arlington
Shawn Renee Eure-Hill, Chesapeake
Suzanne Nettles Gandy, Roanoke
Douglas Manfredo Garcia, Richmond
Amy E. Gardner, Arlington
John Wilkes Hedges, Charlottesville
Alicia Rochelle Hughes, Alexandria
Larry E. Jackson, Forest
Susan H. Kelly, Chesapeake
Rose Lopez Keravuori, Arlington
Nicholas Alexander Kessler, Richmond
Marisa Aliana LeForge, Williamsburg
Arthur H. Major, Winchester
Janet Oleszek, Fairfax
Edgar James Turner Perrow, Jr, Lynchburg
Joshua W. Prueher, Virginia Beach
John Valle Rainero, Bristol
Bree Anne Raum, Arlington
LaTonya Joyner Reed, Richmond
Frederic Scott Reed, Richmond
Bryce E. Reeves, Spotsylvania
Lynne Cathryn Rhode, Crozier
Terrill Scott Robinson, Heathsville
Christopher B. Rogers, Richmond
Stephen Matthew Scott, Kents Store
Timothy McClan Simmons, Staunton
Marion Franklin Trumbo, Covington
Jennifer Michelle Walle, Richmond
B. Keith West, Richmond
Andrea Tersanna Young, McLean