Sorensen in the News

Sorensen Board Member Named Trustee of U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation
Jan 31 2006 - 6:19pm

Sheila Johnson, Sorensen State Board member

A Daily Progress article today discusses Shelia Johnson's appointment as a trustee of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation. Congratulations Shelia!

Sorensen's Candidate Training Program Makes the News
Jan 31 2006 - 6:10pm

Captain J.E. "Chip" Harding of the Charlottesville Police Department and Dave Norris, Executive Director of PACEM in Charlottesville, were both mentioned in a Daily Progress article today in regards to Sorensen's Candidate Training Program. Both Harding and Norris are among Sorensen's newest alumni, having graduated from the CTP this past weekend.

"Sorensen Training the Next Generation of Political Leaders"
Jan 31 2006 - 6:01pm

Radio producer Sean Tubbs of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network recently unveiled a story about the Sorensen Institute's High School and College Leaders Programs. The story was broadcast this week on WVTF, the NPR Station in Roanoke, and was heard throughout much of Southwest and Central Virginia.

Sean interviewed Marc Johnson, Director of Youth Programs, Ashely Boyd and Steven Jones (College Leaders Program Class of 2004), as well as Gabie Kalman and Elizabeth Fife (High School Leaders Program Class of 2005).

You can listen to the complete broadcast here. (Click on "MP3 Download")

The deadline for applications to our Youth Programs Class of 2006 is February 24. Contact Marc Johnson.

Political Leaders Program Highlighted in Virginia Maritimer magazine
Jan 10 2006 - 2:29pm

The November/December edition of Virginia Martimer magazine, the official publication of the Virginia Port Authority,
includes this great photograph of members of the Class of 2005
Political Leaders Program. We were fortunate to enjoy a tour of the
port and an unforgettable visit to the Norfolk International Terminal
tower on Friday, November 11, 2005, where this photo was taken.

Sean O'Brien on 1260AM WCHV
Jan 10 2006 - 12:32pm

Sean O'Brien was a guest this morning on WCHV 1260 AM in
Charlottesville. He discussed the upcoming General Assembly session
with a particular focus on proposed legislation and policy issues. Here
is a photo during the interview showing reporter Venton Blandin (left),
WCHV News Director and Morning host Tommie McNeil (center), and Sean

Audio of Sean O'Brien Interview Today on NewsRadio 1070 WINA
Jan 9 2006 - 6:06pm

Sean O'Brien, Dick Mountjoy, and Jane Foy

Sorensen's Executive Director Sean O'Brien was a guest this morning on
"Charlottesville LIVE" on NewsRadio 1070 WINA. Hosts and well-known
Charlottesville personalities Dick Mountjoy and Jane Foy asked Sean
about the mission and programs of the Sorensen Institute, the 2006
General Assembly session, and ethics in politics.

The complete audio from this morning's interview is attached to this
blog entry as a 5MB MP3 file. The recording lasts approximately 20
minutes. (audio note: there is one commercial break on this recording
which begins at 10 mins. 45 seconds and lasts until 14 mins. 44
seconds). Enjoy!

Gubernatorial Appointments
Dec 9 2005 - 2:59pm

The Sorensen Institute is proud to announce the most recent gubernatorial appointments of some of our alumni, board members, and staff. The following appointments were made by Governor Mark Warner:

Patrick O. Gottschalk of Richmond (PLP 00), a Partner at Cantor Arkema, PC, was reappointed to a four-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.  The 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown is in 2007. Pat will help to plan and oversee a nationally historic commemoration.

George Lyle of Martinsville (CTP 99), an attorney for Henry County, was reappointed to the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. The VMNH works to increase understanding of and appreciation for the natural resources of the Commonwealth. Through a host of outreach program, exhibitions, and public events, the Museum educates over one million people every year.

Ms. Shahnaz Ahmed, a community activist in Danville (PLP 04 and Danville/Southside Leaders Program 03), was reappointed to the State Board for Community Colleges which oversees Virginia's 23 community colleges.

Jay Gilliam of Raphine (PLP 01), owner of Gilliam's Landscape and Garden Service, was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Natural Resources Foundation which promotes environmental education, pollution prevention, and cooperative efforts among businesses, citizens, communities, local governments, and state agencies.

Edward Mullen of Richmond (PLP 05), currently studying law at the University of Virginia, was appointed to the Virginia Scenic River Advisory Board which identifies and helps to protect rivers and streams in Virginia that possess outstanding scenic, recreational, historic and natural characteristics.

Coy Barefoot of Albemarle County, the Director of Communications and Alumni Relations for the Sorensen Institute, and a best-selling author, was appointed to the State Historical Records Advisory Board. This Board serves as the central advisory body for historic records planning and related state projects.

Wiley F. Mitchell, Jr. of Virginia Beach, counsel of Wilcox and Savage PC, and a member of Sorensen's State Board, was appointed to the Rail Advisory Board, which identifies, develops, and advocates projects and policies that enhance the quality and use of rail transportation in Virginia.


"Sorensen Institute Graduates Grab Virginia Political Seats"
Nov 18 2005 - 10:16am

Bob Gibson of the Charlottesville Daily Progress writes today about the Sorensen Institute Fellows who impacted the recent elections:

A leadership program that teaches ethics and civility in the political process has 11 of its graduates taking seats in the House of Delegates in January, up from nine this year. The University of Virginia's Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, which has had 531 Virginians take its political leadership or candidate training programs, now counts 90 of those it has trained in state or local office around the state.

Last week, 32 Sorensen Institute graduates ran for election and 20 were elected, including 11 delegates, five members of county boards of supervisors, one commonwealth's attorney, one sheriff, a treasurer and a county school board member. The dozen graduates who lost elections included 10 who sought House of Delegates seats plus one who ran for sheriff and another who lost a board of supervisors' bid. The program that stresses bipartisan cooperation had nine Democrats, seven Republicans and four independents among its graduates elected last week.

Sean T. O'Brien, executive director of the non-partisan institute, said the growth of elected graduates will be good for politics and governance in Virginia. "I hope that this means that there will be a gradual increase in civility and the willingness to work across the aisle for the betterment of the commonwealth," O'Brien said.

J. Scott Leake, executive director of the Virginia Senate Republican Leadership Trust and former director of the General Assembly's Joint Republican Caucus, said the shared experience gained by Sorensen graduates does help lawmakers work together across party lines at times. "Once you get down there, you are still a member of a caucus and Sorensen doesn't trump party or caucus," Leake said. "The shared experience has been an influence. They are doing the best they can given the nature of partisanship today."

Sorensen has become a model program for other states and nations, said Coy Barefoot, the institute's director of communications and alumni relations. "We are going to be setting up youth programs in Germany," Barefoot said. "Clearly, Sorensen is doing something right and Virginia is doing something right."

Locally, Nelson County supervisors Stuart Armstrong and Connie Brennan were re-elected after receiving training in Sorensen's political leaders program, a 10-month course that stresses improving the quality of governance in Virginia and strengthening civic engagement.

The two new members of the House of Delegates elected this month are David Bulova, a Fairfax County Democrat who replaces Del. J. Chapman Petersen, a Fairfax City Democrat who left the House to make an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor, and Jennifer McClellan, a Richmond Democrat replacing Del. Viola Baskerville, who also lost in the state's June 14 Democratic primary.

Other winners include Republican Dels. John Cosgrove of Chesapeake, Robert Hurt of Chatham, Daniel Marshall of Danville and David Nutter of Christiansburg.

The incumbent Democrats who won re-election are Dels. Kenneth Alexander of Norfolk, Adam Ebbin of Arlington, Lynwood Lewis of Accomac, Stephen Shannon of Vienna and Mark Sickles of Fairfax County.

(Daily Progress, November 18, 2005)