Dates for Special Session on Transporation Announced
Aug 28 2006 - 10:11am

THIS JUST IN: Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William J. Howell and Virginia Senate Floor Leader Thomas K. Norment have just announced the dates for the Special Session to discuss transportation issues. According to their statement:

"By agreement, the Special Session now underway will conclude no later than Saturday, September 30, 2006.  To ensure appropriate consideration, legislators are expected to file all transportation-related legislation no later than Friday, September 15, 2006.  The full House and Senate are expected to convene on Wednesday, September 27.  Respective committees are anticipated to meet earlier that week to consider legislation."

Alumnus Miyares Praises George Allen in RTD
Aug 28 2006 - 10:07am

Alumnus Jason Miyares of Virginia Beach, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2000, is the author of a Letter to the Editor published in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch. Miyares, a former Aide to Senator Allen, writes, "I am proud to have worked with such an exemplary leader. The grace and
dignity with which he treats his fellow man is a wonderful example for
all who are blessed to know him."

Click here to read the complete letter.

Political Leaders 2006 Profile: Krysta Jones
Aug 28 2006 - 8:44am

Name: Krysta Jones

Age: 27

Born: Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Current digs: I live in Arlington and work in D.C.
Occupation: Government Affairs Representative for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Favorite part about the job: I get to be involved first-hand with a lot of important women’s health issues and meet many of the leaders and decision-makers in my field.
First job ever? Teaching gymnastics 

Favorite book? 1984
Favorite movie? Same Time, Next Year with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. A love story about two people that are having an affair with each other. They meet for one weekend a year, each year, for about 30 years. The movie follows them as they go through changes in their lives from the 1950s-1970s. At the end they end up with each other.  I love that time in American history/culture and I like love stories. 

Must See TV? Grey’s Anatomy
Comfort food? Penne Pasta with marinara sauce and a lot of parmesan cheese with garlic bread 

What's in your car CD player right now? Tribe Called Quest Anthology 

Next journey? Hopefully London and Paris
One thing people might be surprised to learn about you? I take a choreographed hip-hop dance class. I am not sure why this surprises people…maybe that is not a good thing!
Last gift you received? Ipod
Best advice you ever got? Follow your heart and do not be afraid to take risks. 

Whom do you admire and why? I admire people who live life to the fullest everyday. Its easy to become preoccupied with the negative aspects of our lives, but I hope to get to the point where I can live each day as if its my last.
If you could have dinner with any one currently living, whom would it be and why? Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the newly elected President of Liberia. She has to have such courage and passion for her country to take on such a huge task. She also is in a great position to make major changes within Liberia and the continent of Africa. I would love to learn from her, hopefully catch some of her energy and wisdom, and hear her thoughts on where the country has been and where its going. 

Ambition, political or otherwise? To found and lead an organization that increases political participation among African Americans in Virginia. Start a magazine that is the political counterpart to Black Enterprise.
Describe a perfect day. Get up early and attend an event where I believe I can empower others, like encouraging political empowerment at a workshop or giving a speech. Then play tennis in the early afternoon. Then spend the rest of the day/evening with friends or family watching good movies, cooking a delicious meal together, playing games and having great conversations.

WSJ Election Coverage
Aug 28 2006 - 8:18am

Sorensen alumni and friends may enjoy the Wall Street Journal's Battleground States Poll webpage which tracks polling in this year's U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial races. The headline polling news in Virginia this morning is that challenger Jim Webb has pulled slightly ahead of incumbent George Allen--still within the margin of error but up from up from a double-digit deficit less than eight weeks ago.

Governor Kaine Appoints Alumna Ryals to Top Post
Aug 25 2006 - 2:16pm

Governor Kaine announced today that he has appointed Sorensen graduate Sandra Whitley Ryals (Political Leaders Program Class of 1999) to be the Director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions. According to a statement from the Governor's office:

Ryals was appointed by Governor Kaine in February 2006 as VDHP Chief Deputy Director.  A registered nurse and nursing instructor, she served previously under Governor Warner as Executive Director of the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation, and as Chief Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. 

“Sandy brings impressive experience to her position as director at VDHP, and I am confident that the agency will continue to provide a high level of service to both practitioners and the public under her leadership,” Governor Kaine said.

VDHP licenses, registers, or certifies more than 270,000 health care professionals through 14 health regulatory boards established by state law.  The Department has a staff of 200 employees, with central headquarters in Henrico County and inspectors and investigators serving across the state.


Ferraro To Speak in Charlottesville
Aug 25 2006 - 10:43am

Friends and alumni of the Sorensen Institute will be interested to know that Geraldine Ferraro, former Vice Presidential nominee, will speak in Charlottesville on Wednesday September 13. The event will be held at 7pm in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom at the University of Virginia. It is free and open to the public. Ferraro's appearance will be sponsored by the UVA Center for Politics and is a part of the Women & Politics 2006 National Symposium series.

Alumnus Muse Reports on Elections in the Congo
Aug 24 2006 - 6:33pm

Adisa Muse, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2003, was a recent guest on WINA's "Charlottesville--Right Now" with host Coy Barefoot. Adisa discussed his work as a political consultant in the historic Congolese elections, and his speedy flight from the country shortly before violence broke out in Kinshasa.


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.

Sorensen Graduates Provide Leadership at Chesapeake Hospital
Aug 24 2006 - 12:44pm

The Sorensen Institute congratulates Lonnie Craig, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2000 and the Candidate Training Program Class of 1999. Lonnie was recently elected Chairman of the Chesapeake Health Authority. Lonnie will serve in that position for two years. A former chief of the Virginia Capitol Police and Virginia Port Authority, Lonnie has been a longtime active member of the Authority.

Congratulations are also due Dr. Cynthia Romero, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005, for having been elected president of the Chesapeake Health Medical Staff. She is the first female physician to hold that post. Way to go Cynthia!

Alumna Jones Celebrates New Baby Boy
Aug 21 2006 - 1:31pm


Maurice Jones, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2002, is the proud new father of a baby boy: Mr. Joseph Erich Jones arrived safe and sound on Wednesday August 9th at 2:45 a.m. Both mommy and baby are doing very well.

Jones recently joined the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs as Director of Development.


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Featured Alumni

  • Chuck Smith.jpg

    Chuck Smith

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2005

    Chuck is a self-employed attorney and current candidate for Virginia Beach City Council. He is a a former Marine and U.S. Navy JAG Officer (Retired). From 2006 to 2008, Chuck served as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.