Political Leaders 2006 Profile: Sharon Jadrnak
Jul 24 2006 - 10:49am

Name: Sharon Jadrnak
Age: 42.
Born: Hammond, Indiana, a suburb of Chicago.
Current Digs: Emporia
Occupation:  Executive Director (part-time) of Emporia-Greensville Habitat for Humanity, stay-at-home mom, and community activist.
Favorite part about the job:  My time is fairly flexible, and I can set my own schedule.  Working for Habitat gives me an opportunity to help other people and put my Christian faith into action to address local housing needs.
First job ever?  I had a paper route when I was in middle school.
Favorite book?  I've read a lot of books over the years, and I'm too lazy to pick one favorite one.  I read more magazines than books now because they are shorter!
Favorite movie?  I especially the animated movies that seem to be for kids but have a lot of adult-oriented humor, like Shrek and Toy Story.
Must See TV?  If I do sit down to watch, I usually put on HGTV and watch a home-improvement show.
Comfort food?  Chocolate.
What's in your car CD player right now?  I don't have a CD player, just a tape player and AM/FM radio, but the radio is tuned to NPR.
Next journey?  For the foreseeable future, most of my trips will be to visit relatives. The best trip I ever took was my honeymoon to Nepal.
One thing people might be surprised to learn about you?  I like Bluegrass and Cajun-Zydeco music and dancing.
Last gift you received?  A new kitchen table, washer & dryer, and recliner for the house we moved into in December. I like practical gifts.
Best advice you ever got?  I don't know if this is advice, but it is a quote that I like by anthropologist Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Whom do you admire and why?  A fictional character, Atticus Finch, the lawyer in "To Kill a Mockingbird", because he stood up for what he believed was right, even though many people in his small town did not support his views. 
If you could have dinner with any one currently living, whom would it be and why?  Richmond Mayor and former Governor Doug Wilder because he has spent a lot of time in public service and is trying to address issues facing Richmond so it can be a better city.  I heard him speak recently at a fair housing conference, and I think he would be very interesting to talk to.
Ambition, political or otherwise?  I'd like to see my community be a good place for all of its citizens to live, work, and recreate.  I'd like to bring people together across racial and jurisdictional (city/county/town) boundaries to work on the issues facing the community. Whether or not I can do that as a community activist or elected official is still to be determined.
Describe a perfect day.  Sunny, definitely sunny, but not scorching. Traveling somewhere with my husband and son where we can be outside and see, hear, and/or experience something new. And we’d eat out so I don't have to cook!

Governor Kaine Reappoints Sorensen's Barbara Fried
Jul 20 2006 - 10:30am



In a statement released yesterday, Governor Tim Kaine reappointed Barbara Fried, Chairman of the Sorensen State Board, to the board of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Fried is also a member and former chairman of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees.

Mr. O'Brien Goes to Harvard
Jul 20 2006 - 10:14am


Sorensen Executive Director Sean O'Brien was invited to participate in an exciting program at the Harvard University Business School this week.

Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management brings together dozens of executive directors and managers from across the country, representing a variety of nonprofits--including Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, the YMCA of the United States, Outward Bound International, and many more.

Sean and the Sorensen Institute are very proud to be a part of this positive and effective program.

2006 High School Leaders Program: Day 8
Jul 20 2006 - 8:47am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 9-- Sunday July 16
Reported by: Ellen Marsteller of Manakin-Sabot

    After a long week of classes and homework, we all boarded the bus that would take us tubing.  We arrived at the James River tubing shop in Scottsville, and made sure we put on plenty of sunblock.  We were all excited to get in the water and grabbed our tubes and set off.  Floating for about an hour, we stopped at a little island to eat lunch.  The food tasted so good – as we were all starving – and I even saw a Jack Russell terrier just like mine. 
    After a leisurely lunch, we jumped back in the water and made our way back to the shop.  The weather was perfect all day, but a lot of us got sunburned.  Kendall was definitely burned the worst but toughened it out as we made our way back to Charlottesville. 
    At 5pm we all met for the High School Leaders Program Reunion and enjoyed meeting last year’s graduates.  Dinner was great; and after a relaxing day, we realized we had a lot of reading to finish.  It was over all a memorable day.

Political Leaders 2006 Profile: Christie Craig
Jul 19 2006 - 10:51am

Name:  Christie New Craig
Age: 39 and holding!
Born: Portsmouth, VA and grew up in Chesapeake, VA
Currently Digs: Chesapeake, a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Occupation: Legislative Aide to Delegate John Cosgrove
Favorite part about the job: Politics and working with people
First job ever? Sales Clerk at Bradlees
Favorite Book? Anything by Daniel Steel
Favorite movie? Pretty Woman
Must See TV? Emeril Live
Comfort food? Filet and Lobster
What’s in your car CD Player right now? Eagles Live
Next Journey? Expand my “Christie’s Catering” to new heights
One thing people might be surprised to learn about you? I’m shy, just kidding; I am a very sentimental person.
Last gift received? Diamond earrings, a girl’s best friend!
Best advice you ever got? Earn everything on your own, and then no one can ever take it away from you.
Whom do you admire and why? My parents, Mom who passed away in 1997 and my Father. They brought me up in a loving and caring environment and taught me morals and values and what it takes to succeed.
If you could have dinner with anyone currently living, whom would it be and why? Oprah, I just love her. She is an inspiration to all.
Ambition, political or otherwise? I enjoy working with Delegate Cosgrove and have learned so much, but I also thrive on politics, sooooo maybe one day I will run for office.
Describe a perfect day. Early morning dip in the hot tub with coffee and husband then off to a fun day of boating, fishing and sunning with my family and two black labs.

Women in Politics Conference, Friday July 21
Jul 19 2006 - 10:35am

The University of Virginia's Cooper Center for Public Service and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership are proud co-sponsors with the Center for Politics of the Ninth Annual Virginia Political History Project: Virginia Women and Politics. The one-day conference will be held this Friday July 21 in Richmond at the Jefferson Hotel. Speakers include Ms. Anne Holton, First Lady of Virginia, Mary Sue Terry, former Attorney General of Virginia, Delegate Jennifer McClellan, Sorensen alumna and state board member, as well as many others.

Click here for a complete agenda of the event.

This program is held in conjunction with the Center for Politics' National Symposium on Women and Politics,
a year-long series of national events evaluating how women are
impacting politics, both as elected officials and political insiders.

Fifer Puts Podcasting on the Map in NoVA
Jul 17 2006 - 7:01pm

Craig Fifer, an alumnus of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2003, was quoted in a recent article in the Virginian-Pilot about podcasting.

As the E-Government Manager for the City of Alexandria, Fifer has overseen the creation of "Alexandria Podcasting."

Click here to read the article.

Alumna Horne Elected Vice Mayor of Leesburg
Jul 17 2006 - 6:47pm

Susan Horne, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 1999, was recently elected Vice Mayor of Leesburg. Horne is now beginning her third year on the Leesburg Town Council. She is the President and CEO of Leadership Fairfax. Congratulations Susan!

Click here to read coverage of Horne's election.

2006 High School Leaders Program: Day 7
Jul 17 2006 - 9:36am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 7-- Friday July 14
Reported by: Kaitlyn Bennett of Chesapeake

Today the High School Leader's Program was very fun and informative. It was our final class with Mr. Mark McGuire. We discussed Larry Sabato's view on politics in the Commonwealth as well as the Allen/Webb U.S. Senate race. We wrote campaign ads for both Jim Webb and George Allen, and in so doing we analyzed the different techniques that can be used to target different voters across the state. Also at the close of the class we discussed Mark Warner and his campaign for President in 2008.

After we said our farewells to Mr. McGuire, Ms. Sheri Iachetta came to speak to the class. She is the Registrar for the City of Charlottesville. She showed us different types of voting machines and even passed around a bag of "chads." A lot of us were unaware of what a Registrar did, so Ms. Iachetta's talk was especially important to us as citizens.

Our final speaker was Mary Loose DeViney, who discussed the parliamentary rules for discussion in any meeting or governmental setting.The most important aspects were to follow the rules and to be civil with one another. The rules she taught us, derived mostly from Robert's Rules of Order ,will be particularly helpful in tomorrow's mock General Assembly.

The classroom part of the day came to a close with the presentation of the Culminating Project ideas from the various groups. Each group has a unique idea on a different aspect of public policy, and each is formulating a bill based around it. Today's presentations were rough sketches of what each project will be by the end of next week. I am excited to see what they will turn out to be. 

The HSLP is going wonderfully. All of the 21 members of the class are having a blast and bonding together in a way I'm sure we didn't think imaginable a week ago. With one more week in store, and we are all anxious to see what the future holds.


-Kaitlyn Bennett.

2006 High School Leaders Program: Day 6
Jul 14 2006 - 10:55am

High School Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 6--Thursday July 13
Reported by: Evan Davis of Virginia Beach

Classes began today with student groups offering amendments to the Virginia State Constitution. Some amendments succeeded and survived the class debate. One such amendment suspended the property tax for two years on a new business in “developing” areas. While some amendments succeeded, others did not. Among those which failed was one which forced the governor to get the General Assembly’s approval before granting pardons and/or clemency. 

After playing the role of legislators and debating constitutional amendments, we heard from three special guest speakers. The first person we heard from was Andrew Lamar [CLP Class of 2006], Chairman of the Virginia College Republicans. One of the hot topics discussed with Mr. Lamar were the three hotly contested elections. These heated races are for the Senate, between Sen. George Allen and Jim Webb, the second is for Virginia’s Second Congressional District (mainly Virginia beach), between Rep. Thelma Drake and Phil Kellam; while the third race is for Virginia’s Eleventh Congressional District (Fairfax and Prince William Counties) between Rep. Tom Davis and Andrew Hurst.

The next speaker we heard from was Barbara Kessler, who helped us build attractive resumes that will undoubtedly help us in the future. After this resume workshop, we met Connie Jorgensen, a former Legislative Assistant and lobbyist, who discussed with us the Legislative Process in Virginia. During this lecture we left the world of Schoolhouse Rock Videos and heard the story of what Mrs. Jorgensen called, “How a Bill REALLY Becomes a Law.”      

Following class, we ended the day by working on our culminating projects, which focus on a specific public policy issue in Virginia.

--Evan Davis                                                                    

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