News Archive: 2011

Ron Nehring, California Republican Party Chairman (2007 - 2011) – LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week

Hailing from the Golden State, the former California Republican Party chairman works to advance conservatives in leadership throughout the state, country, and world because he knows the value of liberty. The only child of German immigrant parents who experienced the Cold War, Ron appreciates the light and delight that the “City on the Hill” brings to the world.

As California Republican Party (CRP) chairman, Ron and his team raised more than $73 million, permanently retired more $4 million in debt, and instituted a wide array of management and financial reforms in his four years before stepping down earlier this year due to term limits.  

“Leadership Institute training dramatically improves the effectiveness of any candidate, campaign staff member, or activist who attends.  Every day I take the principles we teach at the Leadership Institute and put them into practice,” Ron said.

“The Leadership Institute had a direct and very positive impact at every level of my career, starting with the very first LI training I attended as a 19-year-old College Republican in 1990,” Ron said.

“While I studied political science in the classroom, the Leadership Institute taught me the value and importance of organization and communication, and how those skills directly contribute to individual success, as well as the advancement of the conservative movement,” Ron said.

LI’s Grassroots Training Staff on the Road Half the Year—180 Days—and Trained Record Numbers

The Leadership Institute’s grassroots department of four men trained 4,127 conservatives in 103 trainings across 33 states this year in activism and candidate/campaign training.

The grassroots department offers seven types of training: Campaign Management School; Communications Workshop; Custom Workshop; Fundraising Workshop; Future Candidate School; Get-Out-The-Vote Workshop; and Grassroots Activist School.

“As I have traveled the country this year, I’ve gotten to meet so many great candidates running for office,” said Robert Arnakis, senior director of domestic and international programs. “They truly appreciate what our organization does in preparing them for effective leadership and activism.”  
“My best memory this year was working with my staff," Robert said. "Their energy and dedication to LI speaks volumes. Having traveled more than 180 days, this year was real tough, but my staff kept focused and their positive attitude got us through the months were we saw a hotel room more often than our homes.  Working together we met every goal we set for 2011. This next year—2012—will be an interesting year for our department.  We intend to stay very busy as the election approaches.”

Record Breaking Conservative Students Trained Across America in 2011

In 2011 the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School, known as the “boot camp of politics,” trained 1,042 young conservatives – setting an all-time LI record for this department.

This two-person YLS team trained 1,042 students in 33 trainings across 21 states this year.

The Youth Leadership School is an intense, two-day training that teaches students to organize and lead mass-based youth efforts for the candidates and causes of their choice. The flagship training of the Institute launches more careers in politics than any other LI program. Notable YLS graduates include Senator Mitch McConnell; Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity; and Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa.

The record-breaking year for the YLS department is thanks to LI’s generous donors who support these programs and volunteer faculty who travel on weekends to share their expert political knowledge.

“The YLS can be life-changing,” said Kent Strang, Youth Leadership School director.  “I’ve seen former students elected to office, featured on print and broadcast media, run successful campaigns, and become colleagues.  These success stories make every weekend away from my family well worth the effort.” 

Frank Scaturro’s “Natural Progression” to New York Congressional Candidate

Frank Scaturro is no ordinary candidate.  Born to an Italian immigrant who made the American Dream reality as an entrepreneur, his son Frank knows the value of hard work and high ethics.  

These principles drive Frank to restore freedom back to the citizens and businesses of Long Island and away from the federal government. Conserving liberty is why Frank is running for Congress.

“In New York, it’s still early in the campaign season, so I will typically make lots of phone calls to actual and potential supporters during business hours when I am not handling case work or attending an event,” Frank said.

Frank is active in his community, and one can often find him distributing clothing and supplies to veterans or talking to seniors about the Constitution or speaking at Kiwanis clubs, chambers of commerce, historical-preservation groups, or Republican women’s clubs.  When the weather warms, Frank is out knocking doors and greeting voters.

In August 2008 Frank attended LI training in St. Paul, Minnesota where he learned grassroots lobbying and campaign management tactics, such as: campaign plans, messaging, voter ID, and debating.

Frank’s campaign Communications Director Akeem Mellis is also an LI graduate, taking a Grassroots Communications Workshop and a Campus Action Workshop.

“The Leadership Institute provides the kind of training that is indispensable to winning a competitive election,” Frank said.  “There are so many impressive policy think tanks out there that deal with policy, but the Leadership Institute is unique in devoting itself to process—a dimension of education that is necessary for us to be in a position to build a better future through public policy.”

For Frank, Congress isn’t something new; this legislative body captivated him at age seven.

Ready To Run—Future Candidates Now Equipped

Every year across America thousands of people run for public office. Many lose, and do so from common errors that can be avoided by learning from campaign experts.  

This week 28 conservatives gathered at the Leadership Institute’s Future Candidate School to learn effective campaign techniques as they consider a bid for public office.  

This training helps conservatives thoughtfully consider and proactively strategize their campaign aspirations as well as encourage them to plan ahead.  

The training began with a day dedicated entirely to candidate development. Holly Davis, co-founder and vice president of Gauge Market Research started it off with a simple question—“Are you ready to run?”
John Paul Wagemann is running again for the Washington State House of Representatives in the 28th district. He lost by around 600 votes with no campaign training.

“My original plan was not as well-written as it could have been.  All four days of LI training reinforced the importance of having a solid plan going into a campaign,” John said.

John says the lectures on the Leesburg Grid and public speaking were particularly encouraging. “I learned much more about public speaking and how to articulate what is important to me and my constituents,” John said.

Yesterday at LI: President of the National Right to Work Committee Mark Mix Remains Optimistic about Battle Against Unions

Yesterday 43 people braved the wind and the rain to hear Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Committee and National Right to Work Foundation, who spoke at the Leadership Institute’s December Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast.

Mark Mix credits the Leadership Institute’s techniques with his start in politics. He said a member of a conservative campus group at his college stood in front of a table, shook his hand, and invited him to their meeting.

In the following years, Mark went on to take LI’s Legislative Project Management School, newspaper training, television training and other Institute trainings he could make. “I probably have more LI diplomas than most,” he joked.

Standing before conservatives and supporters of the Institute, Mark spoke about his organization’s efforts to establish right to work laws across the nation.

Rachel Hoff—the International Affairs Expert—Is LI’s Graduate and Faculty of the Week

Rachel Hoff’s passion for politics and international affairs has been a journey in the making, and is certainly quite distinguishable.

A daughter of expatriates, who worked in Japan, Rachel attended Tufts University and then went to work for the American Enterprise Institute, United States Congress, National Republican Congressional Committee, and, now, at the Foreign Policy Initiative as director of government relations & outreach.

“Leadership Institute training was absolutely formative in the early stages of my career,” Rachel said.

“The lessons I learned at LI schools taught me how to do the leadership positions I held in the Young Republicans as national field director and director of media relations. Working hard at these volunteer positions during my first several years in Washington propelled my professional journey in a way that focusing solely on my day jobs could never have done,” Rachel said.

Rachel was born in Japan and grew up near Tokyo as her parents taught at the U.S. military base school.  After high school graduation in Japan, Rachel attended Tufts near Boston, where she majored in political science and philosophy and was an active member of the Tufts College Republicans.

And so began the integration of her international experiences living abroad, her formal political education, and her hands-on political training and experience.

$50,000 AND $25,000 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowships Offered By The Phillips Foundation

The Phillips Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2012 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program.  Print and online journalists with less than 10 years of professional experience are eligible.  The Foundation created this program to provide fellowships for writing projects by journalists who share its mission to advance constitutional principles, a democratic society and a vibrant free enterprise system.

The Phillips Foundation awards $50,000 full-time and $25,000 part-time fellowships to undertake and complete a one-year project of the applicant's choosing focusing on journalism supportive of American culture and a free society. In addition, the Foundation offers separate yearlong fellowships on the environment, on the benefits of free-market competition, and on law enforcement.  There are also Alumni Fund Fellowships funded by donations from current and former Novak Fellows.  Alumni Fund Fellowship winners write one magazine-length article on their topic.

Canadian Richard Dur Brings Home Conservative Victory

Richard Dur, the Leadership Institute’s graduate of the week, helped bring home a victory for conservatives in Canada.

“Your training and tutorship was absolutely invaluable. Thank you! Putting much of what I learned from and at LI made for a victory of the Wildrose Alliance Party in the 2009 Calgary-Glenmore By-election in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It’s a party that is now a real force in Alberta politics,” said Richard.

Richard and another LI graduate, Tony Reznowski, teamed up to work on the successful campaign.

Richard first came to the Leadership Institute in May 2008 for the week-long Campaign Manager School and then for the Internet Activist School.

“LI graduate and Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders said it well when he described LI training as ‘taking a drink from a fire hose,’” Richard said. “I would encourage all conservative activists to take LI training, work on a campaign, take more training, and do more campaigns.  This method I found grew my understanding of campaigns and increased my ability to put that understanding into practice.”

A Thankful Heart

Workaholic Washington does stop. I’ve witnessed it today.

This morning I commuted to work in a record-breaking 12 minutes, when it usually takes 30-45. Commuters left the Beltway for the holiday. My well-attended Wednesday morning meeting in the district was sparse, and cut short.  It’s quiet in the office this afternoon. Many of my fellow Leadership Institute co-workers have ditched me for home (I don’t blame them).

But before I leave the office to start cooking for tomorrow’s feast with my boyfriend’s family, I pause to reflect.

What a privileged joy this past year has been working at the Leadership Institute.

I have met some of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and passionate people while here.

These folks I have worked alongside many an hour. They have been fellow LI employees, volunteer faculty for our trainings, and students who have given up weekends and nights to learn political technology. The donors who support our mission to train conservative activists, students, and leaders give a priceless gift, and do so voluntarily, because it’s their delight.

In my year here, I have seen many walk into our building with nothing more than a great passion to make a difference within the public policy process. They’ve left armed with the tools to make that dream a reality.

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