Political Leaders Class of 2006 is Off and Running
Mar 6 2006 - 11:58am

Sorensen's Political Leaders Program Class of 2006 enjoyed its first session this past weekend in Charlottesville. At the Friday evening dinner, the 37-member class of emerging Virginia leaders was fortunate to hear from former Lieutenant Governor and current Assistant Secretary of Education John Hager. Also in attendance that evening was Hager's wife Maggie, his son Jack, Virginia Delegates and Sorensen alumni John Cosgrove and Jennifer McClellan, Sorensen Board Chairman Barbara Fried, and Chaz Evans-Haywood, the Western and Valley Regional Representative for Senator George Allen.

On Saturday the class spent time hearing from Civic Consultant Brad Rourke, discussing the finer points of ethics in politics.

The Political Leaders Program Class of 2006 will meet next in Petersburg on April 7.

John Hager delivers the kick-off keynote to the PLP Class of 2006

John Hager, former Lieutenant Governor and now Assistant Secretary of Education

CTP Alumn Gets the Dem Nod in Cville
Mar 6 2006 - 9:46am

                        Dave Norris, CTP '06

Candidate Training Program Class of 2006 graduate Dave Norris of Charlottesville was nominated by the local Democratic Party to run for City Council this year. The election will be held on May 2.

Reporter John Yellig of the Charlottesville Daily Progress has the complete story here.

Gala 2006 UPDATE
Feb 28 2006 - 2:24pm

Gala 2006 UPDATE: Thank You to Our Sponsors

The Sorensen Institute is proud to announce the sponsors who have graciously agreed to support our 2006 Gala event on March 22 in Richmond. We are indebted to:

*Shelia Johnson of Salamander Farm, who will sponsor Governor Tim Kaine.
*Barbara Fried of the Fried Companies, who will sponsor Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
*Dominion Resources, which will sponsor Attorney General Bob McDonnell
*Fred Scott
*David Fife
*The Claude Moore Foundation
*Larry Roberts
*Michael Bills
*Norfolk Southern
*Suzann Matthews
*Friedman Billings Ramsey
*Loren Hershey for the LWH Family Foundation
*Loren Hersehy, who will sponsor Delegate Frank P. Hall
*Ukrops/First Market Bank
*Honorable Edythe Frankel Kelleher
*A. Smith Bowman (beverage sponsor)
*Jay Adams
*The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation
* AdResults (Media Sponsor)
*Hunton & Williams
*R.E. Lee & Sons
*Mercantile Potomac Bank
*OMNIPLEX World Services Corp.

Mark your calendars now: The Sorensen Institute's Annual Gala will be held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond on Wednesday evening, March 22, 2006. Governor Tim Kaine, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, and Attorney General Bob McDonnell will each attend and address the audience. For tickets and information contact Kim Hutchinson at the Sorensen Institute: (434) 243-2470 or email:

Alumna Jody Wagner: A Bold Pioneer Making a Difference in Richmond
Feb 27 2006 - 2:38pm

      Jody Wagner, PLP '04

The Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot has a profile of Jody Wagner today. Jody is a graduate of our Political Leaders Program Class of Fall 1994 and serves as Virginia's Secretary of Finance.

From the article:
Kaine asked Wagner to make the transition from administrator to policy maker. "She just has a very strong reputation as a
person who has an interesting mix of backbone and diplomatic tact,
which is helpful in this environment," he said. "This position is so
critical. She's at the center of everything we do. I needed a person
who I knew could be kind of the nerve center in any big policy
discussion we had."

Read the complete article here.

"I don't think there's any other country in the world where that would happen"
Feb 27 2006 - 8:41am

            Alfonso Lopez, PLP '03

Political Leaders Program Class of 2003 graduate Alfonso Lopez was profiled by the Richmond Times-Dispatch today. Governor Kaine appointed Lopez to run the Virginia Liason Office in Washington.

Read the article here.

BREAKING NEWS: Sorensen's Barefoot to Launch Daily Radio Program
Feb 25 2006 - 11:38am

        Coy Barefoot at the WINA Studio

The Sorensen Institute is happy to announce that our Director of Communications and Alumni Relations, Coy Barefoot, will launch an afternoon radio talk show here in Charlottesville on March 1.

Focusing on local and statewide issues, the call-in program (“Charlottesville—Right Now,”) will be broadcast on NewsRadio 1070 WINA and streamed live on the Internet every weekday from 4 to 6pm.

“I am humbled and honored by this opportunity,” Barefoot said. “This will be yet another avenue by which we can raise the profile of the Sorensen Institute. And we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it.”

Though it is not a “Sorensen show,” the program will showcase many Sorensen alumni, students, and supporters on a regular basis—including a weekly interview with Executive Director Sean O’Brien.

Barefoot, who has worked in radio in the past as a host, producer, and investigative reporter, said he is taking a “Sorensen approach” to the new show: “The program will have no political agenda, and the ad hominem attacks that have characterized so much of talk radio will in no way be a part of my program. I want to share the Sorensen approach with the talk radio world, an approach to discourse that has worked incredibly well with hundreds of our students for over a decade. We can disagree on issues, but that doesn’t mean we should demonize one another simply because we disagree. This radio program will do much to demonstrate the positive and powerful presence of the Sorensen Institute in Virginia.”

Charlottesville's Hook newspaper recently ran a profile of Barefoot titled "Being Coy: If TJ Had Done Talk Radio," in which they discussed the new program and the Sorensen Institute.

An Elvis Chapel Coming to a Virginia Near You?
Feb 25 2006 - 11:07am

        Rev. C. Douglas Smith, PLP '05

The Washington Post today quoted Political Leaders Program Class of 2005 graduate Doug Smith regarding the General Assembly's efforts to lift the cap on fees for getting married in Virginia. Doug is the Executive Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

Read the article here.

Mash Makes Two in Radford Race
Feb 25 2006 - 10:56am

                    Martin Mash, CLP '05

College Leaders Class of 2005 graduate Martin Mash has entered the race for SGA President at Radford University. Martin is currently serving as SGA Vice President. You can visit Martin's website here.

Also running for the same office is fellow Sorensen classmate Mallery Spencer.

The Radord polls open on March 7.

(As a sidebar, you'll also want to check out Martin's petition drive to seek fairer treatment for Radford University students by the City of Radford Police Deparment. )

Governor Kaine Reappoints Alumna Anderson to State Board of Elections
Feb 23 2006 - 6:04pm

            Lynda Sharp Anderson, PLP '05

Governor Tim Kaine announced late today that "Lynda Sharp Anderson of Richmond will continue to serve as Deputy Secretary of the State Board of Elections, a position she has held since 2003. Prior to her appointment, Sharp Anderson served as Chief Executive Officer of The Metropolitan Business League in Richmond for ten years." Congratulations Lynda!

Political Leaders Class of 2005 Reunion
Feb 21 2006 - 1:10pm

On Friday evening, February 17, members of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005 gathered in Richmond for their first Alumni Reunion. They dined together at the Marriott Hotel and enjoyed hearing from Sorensen graduates Delegate Chris Peace (PLP 2004) and Delegate Jennifer McClellan (PLP 2001, CTP 2005, and State Board member) discuss their experiences as freshmen in the House of Delegates. Following the dinner and talks, the more hearty members of the group adventured into Richmond's night life in search of "Tier Four."

Photos from the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005 Reunion
February 17, 2006 in Richmond

Delegate Chris Peace of Mechanicsville, PLP 2004

Class of 2005's Lou Arnatt and Vickie Williams

Class of 2005's Cynthia Romero, Chris and Ashley Peace

Vickie Williams, Sorensen Executive Director Sean O'Brien, and Class of 2005's Casey Peters

Delegates Jennifer McClellan and Chris Peace

Delegate Jennifer McClellan speaks candidly about being a freshman in the House of Delegates


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Featured Alumni

  • Kelly Porell.jpg

    Kelly Cannon

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2007

    Kelly is the past Executive Director for Virginia21, the nation's first political action committee for college students. She is Director of the Run for the Dream road race weekend in Williamsburg, benefitting An Achievable Dream and Wounded Warrior programs.