Sorensen Staff

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.

O'Brien Comments on Foley Fallout
Oct 7 2006 - 11:13am

Executive Director Sean O'Brien was interviewed recently by CBS News in Charlottesville regarding the possibility of the Mark Foley scandal impacting the U.S. Senate race here in Virginia.

Click here to watch that interview

O'Brien Provides Commentary on Senate Race
Oct 3 2006 - 9:37am

Sean O'Brien, Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute, was quoted in three separate articles today regarding the U.S. Senate race here in Virginia between incumbent George Allen and challenger Jim Webb.

Click here to read the Washington Post article ("Allen Seeks to Refocus Campaign With Long Ad") regarding Allen's two-minute commercial that ran in five different markets around the state last night.

Click here to read an article in the Washington Examiner
("Allen tries to change subject").

Click here to read another article in today's Washington Examiner that explores the immigration issue in the Senate race ("Virginia Senate Race Dominated by Character Omits Immigration Issue").

O'Brien Comments on Macaca Remark on CBS 19
Aug 31 2006 - 1:46pm

The Sorensen Institute's Executive Director Sean O'Brien appeared last week on Charlottesville's CBS 19 to comment on Senator George Allen's "macaca remark" and its impact on the race between he and Jim Webb.

O'Brien made clear his position that this controversy has the potential to crowd out other important discussions about issues facing Virginia and the nation such as stem cell research, immigration, and certainly the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Click here to watch the video.

Speaker Howell Joins Barefoot on Radio Program
Aug 31 2006 - 1:27pm

Delegate William J. Howell, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, recently joined the Sorensen Institute's Coy Barefoot on "Charlottesville--Right Now," an afternoon radio program that Barefoot hosts and produces. Speaker Howell discussed in some detail the upcoming special session on transportation, the recent $137 million accounting error in the state budget, and his vision for the 2007 General Assembly session.


NoVA Youth Leaders Visit the Sorensen Institute
Aug 24 2006 - 12:56pm


This afternoon the Sorensen Institute was proud to host a visit by the Class of 2006 Youth Leadership and Mentor Program-- a Northern Virginia- based group sponsored by the League of Korean-Americans Virginia. Jeff Ahn (at far left in photo), is a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005 and President of the League.

This exceptional group of Junior and Senior high school students from across northern Virginia is studying the qualities and skills of effective leadership so that they may in turn apply those lessons in their communities.

The group spent some time with Executive Director Sean O'Brien, Sorensen's Director of Youth Programs Marc Johnson, and Director of Communications and Alumni Relations, Coy Barefoot, before touring the grounds of the University of Virginia.

College Leaders Update
Aug 15 2006 - 11:18am

The Sorensen Institute's Director of Youth Programs, Marc Johnson, also a graduate of the College Leaders Program Class of 2003, was the opening speaker at the Annual Leadership Retreat for the College Republican Federation of Virginia which was held at the University of Virginia this past weekend.

The new Chairman of the CRFV is Andrew Lamar, a graduate of the College Leaders Program Class of 2006. Lamar also spoke to the group and discussed in detail how much he enjoyed his experience at Sorensen this summer.

In other news, Marc Johnson and Lucy Hutchinson, a graduate of the College Leaders Program Class of 2005,  were Volunteer Instructors last week for the International Youth Democracy Summit, jointly sponsored by the Center for Politics, Presidential Classroom and the Jamestown 400 Commission.  This week-long program for high school students from around the world is the kickoff in a series of conferences being sponsored by the Jamestown Commission over the next year.

O'Brien Comments on Webb Campaign Fundraising
Aug 8 2006 - 1:16pm

The Washington Examiner quotes Sean O'Brien in today's issue in an article titled "Webb Raises Nearly $100K Through Web Site."

Sean O’Brien, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for
Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, said it was
imperative for Webb to grow his campaign war chest this month to
convince people he can be competitive in the fall. “We’re in
August now, and it’s hard to get campaigns to get traction in August.
It’s one of the most important times,” he said.

Click here to read the full article.

O'Brien Comments on Senate Race
Aug 2 2006 - 12:45pm

Sorensen Executive Director Sean O'Brien was quoted in today's issue of the Washington Examiner regarding the U.S. Senate Race in Virginia:

"...a University of Virginia political expert warns that without a
large fundraising push this month, Webb will likely not be able to
compete with incumbent George Allen. According to federal
campaign finance records, as of June 30 Webb has raised $1.1 million in
funds, compared to the $10.3 million that Allen has raised.

going to take Webb several million to be competitive,” said Sean
O’Brien, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political
Leadership at the University of Virginia. O’Brien said the amount
of money being raised will likely be a self-fulfilling prophecy — if
Webb begins to raise money, more is likely to come in, as more voters
will believe he has a chance to defeat Allen. However, if he cannot
improve fundraising, it will be difficult to convince people to

Click here to read the complete article.

UPDATE: O'Brien was also quoted in the August 3 edition along with UVA's Larry Sabato.
Click here to read that article.

"The Virginia Politics Hour"
Jul 31 2006 - 12:10pm

Sean O'Brien and Kojo Nnamdi

Sean O'Brien was a guest on "The Virginia Politics Hour" on the Kojo Nnamdi program on WAMU (88.5 FM). He appeared with Bob Gibson of the Charlottesville Daily Progress and Amy Gardner of the Washington Post. The panel discussed in detail the Allen/Webb race for the U.S. Senate in addition to the current strategies of the two major parties in Virginia.

Delegate Joe May joined the conversation and the topic turned to the transporation challenges facing the Commonwealth.

Other topics followed, including the changing nature of politics in Northern Virginia, the recent news regarding Congressman Tom Davis, a federal audit in Arlington, and development in Loudoun County.

You can listen to an audio archive of the program by clicking the player below.


Featured Alumni

  • Chip Harding.jpg

    Chip Harding

    Candidate Training Program

    Class of 2006

    A former Captain for the City of Charlottesville Police Department, Chip was elected Sheriff of Albemarle County in November 2007. Chip was recognized by Parade magazine as one of America's "Top Police Officers of 2007."