Perhaps one of the more interesting tidbits about Virginia Politics is the fact that Virginia has a "finishing school" for up-and-coming leaders of all parties, The Sorensen Institute at the University of Virginia.
Sorensen was founded in 1993 to bring together diverse individuals with a passion for politics and public service. All have a wide variety of viewpoints and backgrounds but want to work together for the common good. Our non-partisan mission is to strengthen and enhance the quality of government at all levels throughout Virginia.When I was at UVA, the Institute was just getting started and I knew nothing about it (in spite of being a Government major). Today, it has flourished into a remarkable producer of political talent. No fewer than seven Sorensen graduates are running for Congress in Virginia this year!
That is why it is gratifying to see our own Councilmember, David Butler, among the current crop of Sorensen students.
Favorite Virginia vacation spot? Visiting my niece and her family in Floyd. Beautiful family, beautiful country.The Sorensen institute's curriculum forces its students to be able to argue the side opposite their personal philosophy, and emphasizes trying to work together to solve problems, in spite of differences and conflicts. This approach to training for governance serves our commonwealth, and we can hope that its graduates will take these lessons to heart if and when they spread through the ranks of elected offices in Virginia.
First political memory? Getting public water down my street 20 years ago. Found out people can get really wound up about something that I thought would be an easy sell.
Whom do you admire and why? Fred Shaufeld, my company's Chairman and Founder. He took $79 and started a company, essentially in his dorm room. The company now has over 5,800 employees, and the $79 has turned into "quite a bit" more. Fred has always focused on customer and employee satisfaction, and still is active in the company. I'm not normally easily impressed, but I sure couldn't have done what he's done.