As Senator Rand Paul said, "If more conservative candidates have the same secret weapon I had -- top staff and key volunteers trained by the Leadership Institute -- you and I will see many more conservative victories in the future."
You can imagine how many LI staff, graduates, and donors have that line committed to memory. It cuts to the core of the Institute's mission -- and what graduates like you do every day.
Just see some of the highlights from this summer.
For Wiley Bird, polycystic kidney disease left him kidney-less after a failed transplant 10 years ago and more recently, many emergency surgeries, hooked to a dialysis machine, without a job and on disability, and once again on the transplant waiting list – hoping for a miracle. Enter Nick Steward, a city councilman in Tennessee and Leadership Institute graduate, who donated his kidney to Wiley, a stranger.
Heroes should die famous.
Sadly, many don’t, and that’s why Freethink Media—a production company started in 2010 that’s devoted to telling stories about freedom, human well-being, and achievement—produced the heartwarming, award-winning documentary film Honor Flight.
And Jo Jensen, the marketing director for Freethink Media and also a Leadership Institute graduate, has been busy this year raising awareness for Honor Flight in part because it’s personal to her.
Research drives policy messaging. Well, at least for smart conservatives.
For Abbey Brokos, she’s found a career doing research in her passion: political communications.
First she worked for the Republican National Committee as a junior research analyst, and now she’s a political communications specialist at FP1 Strategies.
Before that, she interned at Concerned Women for America, the Leadership Institute, and the State Department.
Have you heard the famous proverb: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again?”
For Lee Cohen, trying again proved very successful.
In 2012, he ran for student body president at Indiana University South Bend and lost by just 57 votes. This year, running against two other candidates, Lee received 55.9 percent of the vote, while the second place person received 35.9 percent and the last received 8.2 percent. In other words, Lee overwhelmingly won 1.5 times more votes than the second highest candidate and 6.5 times more votes than the third.
So, what changed?
Representative Justin Amash (MI-03) will speak at the Leadership Institute's Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast on Wednesday, June 5 at 8:00 A.M. Rep. Amash will discuss his election to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and his experience as an advocate for limited government.
"Congressman Amash is part of the next generation leading the fight for limited government -- no small feat in Washington, D.C.," said Morton Blackwell, Institute president. "Conservatives are likely to enjoy his remarks."
Update: Watch online Representative Amash's speech at LeadershipInstitute.org/speakers/
Jayson Veley, 19, already has done so much: he's been a spy; he's founded Junior Factor Nation -- a network of radio programming, video clips, and columns all created by teens and 20-somethings; he's appeared as a guest on Glenn Beck's show (in 2010); he's authored a book, called The Other Side; and he just finished his freshman year in college.
So you think you’re a politics addict?
Leah Courtney says she’s one.
Leah was raised in a conservative, military family who idealized Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Oliver North. However, it wasn’t until college that these ideas spurred action and developed into her career calling: online communications.
At the same time the IRS was bullying tea party and conservative groups, it was auditing the Leadership Institute. After a year investigation and 23,430 pages of records, the IRS accepted the Institute's tax return as filed.
"The IRS’ indefensible behavior is worse than we first thought, as it targeted both new and existing conservative groups in politically motivated attacks," said Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute.
Read more to see the timeline and some of the questions the IRS asked.
Jarrett Ray, Director of Online Fundraising at The Prosper Group, explains his obsession with to-do lists and three things he'd tell every political junkie to read in this week's 22Q, an informal interview series featuring young conservatives connected to LI.