- Alumni News
- Campaigns and Elections
- Employment and Internships
- Political Leaders Profile
- PLP Class of 2006
- PLP Class of 2007
- PLP Class of 2008
- PLP Class of 2009
- PLP Class of 2010
- PLP Class of 2012
- PLP Class of 2013
- Sorensen in the News
- Sorensen Programs
- Candidate Training Program
- College Leaders
- Danville-Southside Program
- High School Leaders
- Political Journalists Program
- Political Leaders Program
- Youth Programs
- Sorensen Staff
- State and Regional Boards
PLP Alumni News
Julie Strandlie (PLP 2011; CTP 2012) was an organizer of this year's Law Day events at Columbia Elementary School in Annandale, featuring Sandra Day O'Connor. The former Supreme Court Justice read to the students and spoke about her time on the Court.
Bryan Rhode (PLP 2008, CTP 2009) was recently appointed as Commissioner of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Rhode previously served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond where he has prosecuted thousands of cases ranging from drug distribution to murder. He is a member of the office’s narcotics distribution team, was the Community Assisted Public Safety Program liaison and headed the office’s asset forfeiture program. He began his public service as a Marine Corps infantry officer where he deployed overseas twice and was both a platoon and company commander.
Garrison will begin his new position on March 26. The State Operation Vote Director develops and executes a metrics-based constituency mobilization and communications plan that focuses on turning out key demographic groups in support of President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket. Working with other senior leadership, the SOVD will develop and manage programs aimed at increasing the vote for core demographic groups. There will be a heavy emphasis on field mobilization efforts. All mobilization programs will be executed by Field staff, in coordination with Operation Vote Directors. Other responsibilities potentially include but not limited to: representing Our Movement or The President’s Grassroots Organization at community events and meetings, speaking on the record with press in consultation with the OFA Communications Director, and serving as an in-state contact person for local campaigns, allied organizations, and community leaders.
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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."
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.
We're in the middle of accepting applications for our 2012 Political Leaders and Candidate Training Programs. If you or someone you know would be a strong applicant, please encourage them to apply today, before the November 14th deadline passes them by.
The Political Leaders Program is a leadership development program for residents of Virginia interested in becoming more active in public service. Participants spend one weekend a month from March through December traveling across the state along with 35 other civic-minded individuals. The cost of the Political Leaders Program is $2,250, though financial assistance is available.
The Candidate Training Program, set for Jan. 19-22 at Montpelier, is an intensive, four-day program focused on the fundamentals of running a winning campaign for office. Participants will explore the nuts and bolts of building a strong campaign from the ground up, with a focus on Virginia. The cost of the Candidate Training Program is $900 for an individual room, and $750 for a shared double room.
Sorensen seeks participants from all political affiliations, socio-economic backgrounds, and professions from Virginia. Scholarships and tuition assistance are available.
Michele Zehr (PLP 2010) accepted a position with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services as a Program Analyst for the Community-Defined Solutions to Violence Against Women program. In this role, she will be responsible for coordinating multiple trainings for Virginia's law enforcement officers on responding to sexual and domestic violence, as well as coordinating the projects of a state-level multidisciplinary team consisting of representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, Virginia Department of Health - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Supreme Court of Virginia - Office of the Executive Secretary, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.
Atima Omara-Alwala (PLP 2010) was recently elected to serve as Vice President for the Young Democrats of America. She had previously served as Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for the last two years, and before that served three years as the Chair of YDA's Women's Caucus. Atimas has also served in the state and local leadership within the Young Democrats, including state women's caucus chair and national committeewoman in the Virginia Young Democrats. Congratulations, Atima!