Newsroom Archive for 1/, 2012


Positions Open: Now Hiring Youth Program Managers
Jan 5 2012 - 12:39pm

Youth Program Manager
Position Announcement

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is seeking applicants to be Youth Program Manager in the summer of 2012 for its College and High School Leaders Programs.

Both programs are residential at the University of Virginia. The College Leaders Program runs for four weeks from May 26 to June 23, 2012, while the High School Leaders Program runs from July 7 to 21.

Desirable Qualifications are: effective time management skills; a high degree of organization; the ability to work with high school and college students in a residential and classroom setting; knowledge of Virginia government and politics; significant peer leadership experience; experience working in a peer-to-peer counseling setting; strong written and oral communication abilities; and excellent human relations skills.  Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree by the program start date.

The regular positions will run from May 22 to July 22, 2012. During the program, youth program managers will be required to live in residence with the students every night and work on average 6 days a week, with some vacation between the two programs. There will be some limited work requirements for recruitment and review of applications starting in February 2012. Program Coordinators will receive room and board with the students during the programs in addition to a $3,250 stipend.

Applications should include a current resume and relevant references, in addition to a brief letter explaining why the applicant is interested in the position. Letters of reference are welcome, but not required.

Please submit all materials to Lauren Gilbert, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, P.O. Box 400206, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Questions and applications can be directed to Lauren Gilbert at or (434) 243-2844.  Applications must be submitted by January 30, 2012 for consideration.  Applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview.

$3,250 plus room and board during program

A. The full time position runs from May 22 to July 22, 2012.
B. Be in residence at the University of Virginia at all times when students are in the dorms with one day off each week.
C. Assist in the daily operations of the programs - supervise students during the day, be on call certain evenings to assist students, etc.
D. Travel with the programs on all field trips.
E. Advise students in preparation of their culminating project as outlined in program materials. Oversee at least one student research group.
F. Provide administrative support during the program - help with coordination of activities, contact with speakers, development of culminating project groups, evening activities.
G. Coordinate social events for the students in the programs.
H. Provide reasonable assistance to the Sorensen Institute in the recruitment and selection of program participants.
I. Assist in evaluating students completing the CLP or HSLP for academic credit.
J. Other tasks necessary for the operation of the programs as requested by the Sorensen Institute's staff.

Holihan Announces for Alexandria City Council
Jan 11 2012 - 3:41pm

Sean Holihan, a member of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2007, officially announced his candidacy for Alexandria City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 10. He joins two current council members and three challengers in the Democratic primary scheduled for June 12.

Get the full story at Alexandria Times.

Jackson Appointed Abingdon Assistant Town Manager
Jan 11 2012 - 3:57pm

The Abingdon Town Council appointed Garrett Jackson (PLP 2011) to the position of Assistant Town Manager on Jan. 3. The town's press release about this appointment appears below.

Abingdon Town Council Appoints Assistant Town Manager

Upon recommendation of Town Manager, Greg Kelly, the Abingdon Town Council, at its January 3 meeting, appointed Garrett Jackson as the Assistant Town Manager. This position was recently created by the Town Manager and Town Council. Jackson has served as the Planning Director and Zoning Administrator since August 2005, overseeing zoning, preservation and community development and will continue in that role. Prior to August of 2005, he served two years as the Assistant Town Planner.

Jackson’s 12-year career has been dedicated to public service in local and regional government and education. Prior to his tenure with Abingdon, he served as a Public Administration Specialist and Regional Planner at the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission (MRPDC) in Marion, VA from 1999-2003, where he also worked in Planning/Zoning and Town Management through the MRPDC Regional Town Management Program in Damascus, VA. Mr. Jackson also served as an adjunct professor of Cultural Geography at the Southwest Virginia Community College from 2001-2008.

Mr. Jackson, a native of Abingdon, holds a B.A. in Geography from Emory & Henry College; Graduate Certificates in Urban Design and Planning and Local Government Management from The Ohio State University and Virginia Tech, respectively; and a M.A. in Community and Organizational Development from Emory & Henry College, where his capstone project was the creation of the Abingdon Civic Academy, a program designed to educate employees and citizens on the aspects of the Town as an organization, its history, values, structure and vision. In December 2011, Mr. Jackson graduated from the Political Leadership Program of the Sorensen Institute at the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia Local Government Managers Association (VLGMA), the Southwest Section Director of the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association, a Certified Zoning Administrator through the Virginia Association of Zoning Officials, a Certified Planning Commissioner through PlanVirginia, the Treasurer for the Southern Appalachian Greenways Alliance, and is the Virginia Representative Board of Directors Overmountain Victory Trail Association.

According to Greg Kelly, “the Town has grown rapidly over the past five years during his tenure as Town Manager. He noted that the position of Assistant Town Manager is “long overdue given the fast track of growth and major upcoming town projects. This rapid pace necessitates much more direct hands on involvement by management. As such, Jackson’s past proven work ethic in his role as Director of Planning and Zoning Administrator, his love and commitment for the town, along with his education and his respect both for and by town employees and town residents made Jackson an obvious fit for the job,” said Kelly. In addition, Kelly stated “I have worked closely with Garrett over the past five years and I know him to be a very loyal and dedicated team player. This loyalty and team effort on the part of Town staff, along with the dedication and effectiveness of the Abingdon Town Council, are what make Abingdon the successful town that it is. I am confident that with Garrett’s assistance, we will continue this trend for many years to come."

Youth Program Proposal Becomes House and Senate Bill
Jan 12 2012 - 6:21pm

House Bill 300, introduced by Delegate Ed Scott (R-Madison County), and Senate Bill 354, introduced by Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), were originally the brainchild of members of the College Leaders Class of 2011. The policy group, comprised of Rebecca Lamb, Scott Bennett, Danny Yates, Kelli Montgomery, and Kevin Muchiri, presented their cumulative project at the end of their month-long Sorensen experience last June.  

HB 300 and SB 354 would create a tax credit for new beehives of $200 per hive for registered beekeepers who have the hives inspected by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The bill limits the credit to $2,400 per taxpayer per calendar year. These are the first bills with strong ties to Sorensen youth program alumni to be proposed this session.

Executive Director Bob Gibson stated, "It's great to see that the College Leaders Program, which develops legislative solutions to Virginia's problems, has yet another proposal introduced as legislation."

The bills are currently awaiting a vote in the Finance Committees of each legislative body.  

To track HB 300, use the Richmond Sunlight or the Commonwealth's Legislative Information System.

Follow SB 354 in the Richmond Sunlight or the Commonwealth's Legislative Information System.

Accepting Youth Program Applications Through March 5th
Jan 17 2012 - 10:39am
The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is now accepting applications for the High School and College Leaders Programs. The High School and College Leaders Programs offer advanced, concentrated study in state and local politics, gaining hands-on training in politics, acquiring the information necessary to discuss Virginia politics and the skills to make a difference.
Students in the Sorensen Institute programs engage in substantive debate about challenges facing the Commonwealth. Students have the opportunity to learn key advocacy skills such as lobbying, fundraising, opinion writing, media and more. Students interact with Virginia's current public, private, and nonprofit leaders. Past speakers have included U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, Governor Bob McDonnell, Governor Tim Kaine, members of the General Assembly, Congressional leaders and other policy makers from around Virginia. 
The College Leaders Program will take place from May 26 - June 23, 2012 and is made up of 30 student leaders from across Virginia. The cost of the College Leaders Program is $2,250, which includes all room and board, and scholarships and financial aid are available. Read more at
The High School Leaders Program takes place from July 7 - 21, 2012 and is made up 30 student leaders from across the state that are at least rising juniors or 16 years old by the program start date. Students will receive three undergraduate credits from the University of Virginia for their participation. The cost of the High School Leaders Program is $1,625, which includes all room, board and U.Va. tuition, and scholarships and financial aid are available. Read more at
The College and High School Leaders Programs applicant pool is evaluated to create a highly qualified and diverse class. Participants will be chosen from among all academic majors and backgrounds. Scholarships for program tuition are available and potential applicants are strongly urged to apply regardless of financial concerns.
To learn more about the programs or to apply please visit
* The application deadline will be Monday, March 5th at 5:00 p.m.*


HSLP 2011 Alumna Lobbying in Richmond
Jan 30 2012 - 1:33pm

One of the tenets of the High School Leaders Program is teaching Virginia's youths to be active participants in the legislation process.  Alumna of the 2011 HSLP, Dana Raphael, truly took this principle to heart.  During her time at Sorensen, she and her classmates Aejoo Hong, Anna Carson, and Nitin Nainani worked on a policy proposal that advocated the repeal of a law which prohibits public schools from opening before Labor Day.  Dana met with Delegate Robert Tata, Chair of the House Education Committee (R-Virginia Beach), who agreed to sponsor the bill.  Soon after, Governor McDonnell spoke out in support of the legislation, and now Delegate Tata and Dana are supporting the governor's bill, HB 1063.

Dana has spent the past week in the General Assembly testifying to the House Subcommittee on Teachers and Administration and lobbying on the bill's behalf.  She is also working to ensure that the bill would receive support should it move past the House of Delegate and onto the Senate.  
Executive Director Bob Gibson stated, "The hard work by Dana Raphael on behalf of legislation inititally crafted by Sorensen summer youth program students demonstrates the high degree of commitment shown and experience gained by wonderful groups of students who care about good governance in Virginia. The Sorensen Institute is proud to have students working on behalf of two measures that stemmed from 2011 High School Leaders and College Leaders small group projects. Participants presented and defended the projects they had developed to legislators and academic leaders in the Rotunda last summer."  College Leaders Program graduates Rebecca Lamb, Scott Bennett, Danny Yates, Kelli Montgomery, and Kevin Muchiri worked to created a Honeybee Incentive Program that inspired House Bill 300, introduced by Delegate Ed Scott (R-Madison County) and Senate Bill 354, introduced by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County).  The five presented their cumulative project at the end of their month-long Sorensen experience last June.  HB 300 and SB 354 would create a small tax credit for new beehives.  
To track HB 1063, use the Richmond Sunlight or the Commonwealth's Legislative Information System.
To track HB 300, use the Richmond Sunlight or the Commonwealth's Legislative Information System.
Follow SB 354 in the Richmond Sunlight or the Commonwealth's Legislative Information System.


EVENT: Sixth Annual General Assembly Reception
Jan 30 2012 - 5:15pm

You Are Invited!

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
Sixth Annual General Assembly Reception

Tuesday, February 7
5:00pm - 8:00pm

The SunTrust Building, 24th Floor
919 East Main Street, Richmond

By Friday, February 3



This event, which has become a must-attend gathering in the Richmond political social calendar, recognizes our alumni in the Virginia General Assembly. Sorensen is proud to honor our twenty alumni currently serving.

This event is free and open to all Sorensen alumni, supporters, and members of the Virginia General Assembly.

Sorensen wishes to thank our Event Sponsors:
Advantus Strategies
Alliance Group
Capital Results
Kemper Consulting
Norfolk Southern
Vantage Consulting
The Vectre Corporation
Virginia Association of Health Plans


*Image courtesy Devign Elements