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The Sorensen Report for Friday, June 9 is attached to this post.
This Week: A Constitutional Crisis in Virginia?
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 13--June 8
Reported by: Veronica Tessler of Virginia Commonwealth University
Veronica Tessler, Emad Maghsoudi of VCU, and Katherine Ely of Old Dominion University
Today began rather unusually, as my roommate and I were awoken by our suitemate urging us to evacuate due to a fire alarm. Fortunately, it was a false alarm apparently due to someone taking too long and too hot a shower? Aside from the early awakening, the day was an interesting and productive one.
Our first speaker today was Delegate David Toscano. He was a genuine and personable man. I found it interesting that he had been actively involved in some international issues before entering into politics. For example, he helped encourage South Africa to change from an apartheid regime to adopt democratization. Of course, the current budget crisis was brought up and Delegate Toscano shared his views on that issue. He really held my attention by providing insight on many topics.
After Delegate Toscano, Barbara Kessler of UVAâ€™s School of Continuing and Professional Studies led a resume workshop. She had edited copies of each of our resumes, and we learned about how to improve on a clear, concise and creative â€œmarketing toolâ€ as we move toward finding a professional career. Ms. Kesslerâ€™s workshop served as a breath of fresh air, as she offered some practical and non-politically related material.
After lunch, Sheri Iachetta talked to us about her job as the City of Charlottesvilleâ€™s Registrar. She touched on voter apathy, since we in Virginia are (or should be) constantly voting. It was interesting to recognize the level of power one person has in controlling who can and cannot vote. Ms. Iachetta brought to light the law of domicile and place of abode regarding college studentsâ€™ ability to vote in the localities of their universities. Apparently most Virginia state universities, aside from UVA, do not allow students to vote in local elections while living at school.
Sadly, today was our second-to-last class with Dr. Kidd, as our Informed Citizen lens is coming to a close tomorrow. We have really enjoyed having him teach us and appreciate his dedication to the program, embarking on 5-hour round-trip drive several times a week. Today we discussed state government issues, revenue stream problems, and transportation. Tonight we met with our parties for the mock General Assembly and voted on the leadership of the party. This will be a busy night with our individual bill proposals for the mock General Assembly and our group culminating project meetings. Off to workâ€¦
--Veronica Tessler, Virginia Commonwealth University
Delegate Jennifer McClellan of Richmond recently joined Governor Tim Kaine for her first bill signing ceremony.
McClellan is a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2001, the Candidate Training Program Class of 2005, and a member of the Sorensen State Board.
Sorensen's Coy Barefoot interviewed Delegate McClellan this past Tuesday on his radio program. They discussed movement towards a compromise on the state budget as well as the new Virginia Civil Rights Memorial.
The Sorensen Institute's College Leaders Program was the subject of a recent radio interview in Charlottesville. Marc Johnson, Director of Sorensen's Youth Programs, and two current CLP students-- Chalana Williams of Radford University and Andrew Lamar of the University of Mary Washington--were recently interviewed on "Charlottesville--Right Now."
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 12--June 7
Reported by: Emily Reijmers of Virginia Commonwealth University
Today I had the humbling opportunity to visit a youth correctional facility. I was shocked at the lack of funding the facility receives. Yet I was comforted by the success stories that were told by the assistant supervisors. Although the correctional facility does not provide large salaries to its employees, there are a variety of people who take these jobs in order to help improve their community. The overall trip to this facility was a reality check. It reminded me how privileged we are to be able to attend college and participate in a program like the Sorensen Institute.
After the visit to the correctional facility, we went on to the General Assembly in Richmond, where we spent the rest of the day. It was fun to be sitting in the House of Delegates committee room and to imagine what it would be like to have our fellow classmates actually in the House one day. Delegate Jennifer McClellan and Delegate Chris Peace spoke to our class and discussed their experiences as freshmen delegates.
We were also quite fortunate to hear from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Speaker of the House William Howell, and Clerk of the Senate Susan Clark Schaar. The trip to Richmond was very informative but also a fun opportunity to see state politics at work.
It was perfect timing to visit the General Assembly as our class is preparing bills and gathering data for the "Mock General Assembly" which we will hold on Saturday. As the program continues into our second week the material and requirements are becoming more challenging each day. Itâ€™s going to take a good balance of sleep, eating well, and working hard to survive the rest of this program successfully!
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 11--June 6
Reported by: Jarrett Ray of James Madison University
Jarrett Ray of James Madison, Anja Davis of Virginia Commonwealth University, Brian Coy of James Madison, and Chelsea Rock of the University of Richmond at the General Assembly building in Richmond
Dr. Quentin Kidd led today's class, during which we discussed the idea of an "ideal" candidate for political office. It began with a discussion of the movie A Perfect Candidate and how negative, vacuous, and dreadful the 1994 Senate race between Oliver North and Chuck Robb had been.
As we began to generalize about good and bad candidates, a member of our class warned us that by buying into generalizations we have the effect of validating and enhancing those generalizations. Most of us disagreed with that, however. Eventually we came up with the characteristics of an "ideal" candidate (Democrat or Republican) for a gubernatorial race. The ideal candidates on either side did not look all too different. The main difference was class distinctions for the Democrats and values distinction on the Republican side.
After lunch we returned to class to learn about the Virginia Public Access Project, which is an online, searchable database that tracks fundraising by and donations to political candidates and elected officials in Virginia. We considered in detail the fundraising by Tim Kaine, Jerry Kilgore, and Russ Potts during the most recent governor's race. The rest of the afternoon was spent on random articles that brought up Dillonâ€™s Rule and the editorial leanings of Virginia newspapers.
--Jarrett Ray of James Madison University
BREAKING NEWS: Bill Bolling, Virginia's Lieutenant Governor, has been confirmed as a speaker at the Sorensen Institute's Second Annual Summit on Blogging and Democracy in the Commonwealth.
The Summit will bring together over 100 bloggers from around the state to discuss a variety of issues related to politics and Internet journalism.
The Summit will be held next week in Charlottesville on Friday June 16 and Saturday June 17.
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 10- June 5
Reported by: Michael Sizemore of Virginia Tech
Chelsea Rock of the University of Richmond, Mike Sizemore of Virginia Tech, and Anja Davis of Virginia Commonwealth University at the Ropes Course last week
The College Leaders Program rolled into its 2nd week by delving further into state government and hearing the ins and outs of campaign fundraising—as well as seeing Marc Johnson in a t-shirt and shorts!
Karen Kolber visited the classroom this morning to share her experiences working on political campaigns. We had an insightful and in-depth discussion. Karen is the founder of FFD, Inc., which is a non-profit agency which assists political campaigns in developing successful fundraising strategies. She shared with us her experiences in fundraising for various Democratic candidates, including Governor Tim Kaine, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ), and various Virginia delegates. Her lecture provided great tools on how to fundraise effectively, including everything from identifying prospects to crafting the perfect pitch. In political campaigns money is almost as important as the message, and Karen provided great instruction on how to boost the bank account.
After lunch, Christie New Craig spoke to the class. She shared her knowledge about being a legislative assistant in the House of Delegates. An "LA" for Delegate John Cosgrove (R-78), Christie spoke of the high level of responsibility and diversity of tasks in being an LA. She also shared several humorous stories of working behind the scenes. For someone who has never been involved in such a role, I can definitely say she sold the idea of working in such a position in the General Assembly very well.
Following our guest speakers, we continued our Informed Citizen lens with Dr. Quentin Kidd. Today we examined the trends of the Democratic and Republican parties in Virginia history, from the Byrd Machine to the formation of the modern partisan makeups. Virginia political history is incredibly interesting, and Dr. Kidd conveys his knowledge of the topic quite well. Following class, we all break apart for some limited free time and some group work as we begin work on our culminating projects. Tomorrow brings a full day of class time; and on Wednesday, a trip to Richmond to meet with prominent legislators looms for the CLP.
--Michael Sizemore, Virginia Tech
The Reverend C. Douglas Smith, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005, was interviewed for an article about the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, for which he serves as Executive Director. The article appeared today in the Lynchburg News & Advance.
Doug was also recognized recently by his alma mater, James Madison University, as a graduate who is helping to change the world.
Mary Loose DeViney, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005, was interviewed for a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about businesses in Charlottesville. Mary is the Vice President of Tuel Jewelers, which her family has owned and operated since 1945.
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