PLP Alumni News

Election Recap: Sorensen Graduates Claim Victory at the Polls
Nov 8 2006 - 11:11am

Today the Sorensen Institute celebrates the continued success of our graduates at the polls.

Christopher Hilbert (Candidate Training Program Class of 2004) won re-election to the Richmond City Council from District 3 (unopposed).

Corey Stewart (Candidate Training Program Class of 2003) was elected Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors (This was a special election to fill a seat recently vacated by Sorensen Fellow Sean Connaughton, Political Leaders Program Class of Fall 1995, who was appointed by President Bush to serve as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration).

Evette L. Wilson (Candidate Training Program Class of 2002) was re-elected to the Richmond School Board from District 9 (unopposed).

We also want to congratulate and thank those Sorensen graduates who demonstrated great leadership by stepping forward to get involved—men and women who care very deeply about the Commonwealth and will surely find other ways in the future to serve the communities they love.

Jacqueline Jackson (Political Leaders Program Class of 2002) was an incumbent candidate for the Richmond City Council from District 8.

Jerry Miller
(Candidate Training Program Class of 2004) was a candidate for the Richmond School Board from District 4.

Gail Parker
(Candidate Training Program Class of 2003) was an Independent candidate for U.S. Senate here in Virginia.

Barbara Pryor (Political Leaders Program Class of Spring 1994, the first Sorensen class) was an Independent candidate for U.S. Congress in  the 6th District.

Jeanette Rishell (Candidate Training Program Class of 2006) was the Democratic candidate in a special election in the 50th District of the Virginia House of Delegates (a seat that was held for 24 years by Harry Parrish until he passed away in March).

Al Weed (Candidate Training Program Class of 2003) was the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in the 5th District.

Ready To Run NOW: Sorensen Fellows Provide Leadership
Nov 7 2006 - 8:42am

Tarina Keene of Norfolk, a Fellow with the Political Leaders Program Class of 2006, is co-organizing the "Ready To Run" Candidate Training Program being established in cooperation with Virginia NOW. The program will cater to pro-choice women who want to get involved in politics in Virginia. Sandra Brandt of the Virginia Women's Political Caucus and a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of Fall 1994, is also providing leadership in creating this new program.

Haskins Authors Commentary in Richmond Style Weekly
Nov 2 2006 - 7:51pm

Conaway Haskins, a member of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2006, is the author of a commentary in this week's Richmond Style Weekly titled "Red, Blue, and Black."

Haskins writes: "Hang around politics long enough, and it becomes difficult to ignore
the growing perception that the Democratic Party takes
African-Americans for granted."

Click here to read the article.

PODCASTS: 2006 Alumni Reunion
Oct 31 2006 - 10:00am

Vickie Williams (PLP 2005)


Sean O'Brien, Executive Director


Delegate John Cosgrove, State Board member and alumnus (PLP 1998)


Marc Johnson, Director of Youth Programs and alumnus (CLP 2003)


Andrew Almand (CLP 2006)


Carolyn Lincoln (PLP 2001, CTP 2002)


Tim Heaphy (PLP 2005)




PODCASTS: 2006 Alumni Reunion Awards
Oct 30 2006 - 10:30am

A total of five awards were presented at the Sorensen Institute's 2006 Alumni Reunion on Saturday, October 14. The event was held at in the Grand Ballroom at the Jefferson Hotel. The awards were presented by Director of Alumni Relations, Coy Barefoot (other podcasts from the Reunion will be posted to this blog shortly).

The Most Enthusiastic Class Award--which recognizes the alumni class with the highest percentage turnout at the reunion--was given to both the High School Leaders Program Class of 2006 and the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005. The awards were accepted by HSLP 06 Class Chair Ellen Marsteller and PLP 05 Class Chair Cathie France.

Ellen Marsteller



Cathie France


The Most Generous Class Award
--which recognizes the alumni class in which the greatest percentage of its members have given a personal donation to the Sorensen Institute during the past year--was presented to the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005. Class Chair Cathie France accepted the award.

PLP Class of 2005


The Most Philanthropic Class Award--which recognizes the alumni class that has generated, both personally and professionally, the greatest financial support for Sorensen during the last year--was given to the Political Leaders Program Class of 2001. Virginia Delegate, Sorensen State Board member, and class member Jennifer McClellan accepted the award.

Jennifer McClellan


The First Annual Service to Sorensen Award recognizes a graduate who has most given of his or her time, talents, and efforts in supporting the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership in the year since the last alumni reunion. This first-ever honor was awarded to Craig T. Fifer, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2003.

Craig Fifer


The First Annual Expression of Ideals Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has, in the year since the last alumni reunion, best represented the ideals at the heart of the Sorensen mission: a spirit of ethics, bipartisanship, and civic engagement. This first-ever award was presented to the Secretary of Virginia's State Board of Elections, Jean Jensen (Political Leaders Program Class of 1996).

Jean Jensen




Young and Old, Men and Women: the Virginia General Assembly
Oct 27 2006 - 8:11pm

The Sorensen Institute was well represented recently on a panel convened to discuss the present state and future of women serving in the Virginia General Assembly. A Women's Initiative Network event hosted by the law firm Hirschler Fleischer, the panel included Executive Director Sean O'Brien; Delegate, Sorensen alumna, and State Board member Jennifer McClellan; and Secretary of Administration and Regional Board member Viola Baskerville. During the presentation, Sean O'Brien discussed the following slide: an image which speaks volumes about the presence of men and women leaders at the state level—and the difference in their ages.

Peace Joins D.C. Bar
Oct 26 2006 - 8:56am

We want to congratulate alumnus and Virginia Delegate Chris Peace (Political Leaders Program Class of 2004) who has became a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association. Chris was also recently hired to be the Executive Director of the Historic Polegreen Church Foundation which works to preserve the birthplace of religious and civic liberty.

Alumnus Doug Smith on "Charlottesville--Right Now"
Oct 23 2006 - 7:38am

The Reverend C. Douglas Smith, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005, and the Executive Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, joined Coy Barefoot on "Charlottesville--Right Now" this past week to discuss a new study which reveals that more Virginians are having to go on food stamps.


PLP's Krysta Jones Launches Leadership Organization
Oct 19 2006 - 9:23am

Krysta Jones, a member of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2006, has recently launched a new leadership organization that is aimed at getting more African-Americans elected to office in Virginia. The Virginia Leadership Institute was founded in May 2006 and just last week unveiled its new website.

Jones writes, "The organization emanated from my Master's thesis at George Washington University, where I studied the lack of black congressional representation in Virginia. There has been only one black Representative in Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction, Representative Bobby Scott of the 3rd district, and in 2001 there were less than 250 black elected officials across the state. We can do better."

She continues, "Despite a general increase in African-American office holders in the last 40 years throughout the South, Virginia has lagged behind. The VLI will increase training, networking and mentoring opportunities for blacks interested in running for office, and aims to conduct research on voter attitudes and barriers to electing blacks throughout the Commonwealth."

For more information please visit the website of the Virginia Leadership Institute.


Alumnus Israel Unveils New Project at Center for Public Integrity
Oct 11 2006 - 8:50am

Sorensen graduate Josh Israel (Political Leaders Program Class of 2004) is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Public Integrity. He and his team recently unveiled The Takings Initiatives Accountability Project, which seeks to better inform citizens about issues surrounding ballot initiatives related to "regulatory takings" of property.

Featured Alumni

  • Craig Fifer.jpg

    Craig Fifer

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2003

    Craig is the E-Government Manager for the City of Alexandria. At our 2006 Alumni Reunion, Craig was presented the annual Service to Sorensen Award for the generous donations of his time, talents, and efforts to the work of the Sorensen Institute.