College Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day 12: June 22, 2016
Reported by Marc Reiner, Christopher Newport University
There is nowhere else better to learn about state government than the Capitol in Richmond. The CLP 2016 class hit the road for “The River City” early this morning. Lively and with high spirits, the CLP students were ready for the upcoming speaker series and visitation to the Virginia State Police training facility in Midlothian.
Felix Sarfo-Kantanka, Deputy Secretary of Administration for Governor McAuliffe, and Jeff Britt, Senior Vice President of McGuireWoods Consulting, began the day by describing their experiences as lobbyists for both the public and private sector. Both speakers emphasized the importance of making ethical decisions in government work and always focusing on the end goal, helping the people.
Next on the CLP speaker docket was Delegate Lashrecse Aird (VA-63). She empowered the group with a motivational speech on connecting with your constituents and staying above the fray in pursuit of the "Virginia Way." Integrity is what makes a good public servant and Delegate Aird embodies that in her everyday life. Delegate Aird is the youngest elected delegate in General Assembly history and hails from Petersburg.
Alexsis Rodgers, Policy Director for Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, and Chris West, Deputy Director of Communication and Policy for House Speaker Bill Howell, followed up to touch on reaching across the aisle. With bipartisanship, meaningful change creates long-term effects throughout the Commonwealth.
Lastly, John Hager, Chairman of the Sorensen Institute Statewide Advisory Board, touched on how the Sorensen Institute and its graduates are making large strides in making a more ethically driven Virginia. With 28 graduates of the Sorensen Institute currently serving as members of the General Assembly, Sorensen alumni are creating lasting change across the Commonwealth.
After leaving the Capitol, the CLP headed to the Virginia State Police Training HQ for a tour of the facility. At the facility, Troopers Crespo and Spencer demonstrated the importance of the Canine Unit and allowed students to step into the shoes of a State Trooper in a virtual risk de-escalation activity. Every student walked away with a greater level of respect and admiration for our State Troopers.
The ride home was not void of important discussions and moments of teaching. While some caught up on lost sleep from the night prior, others talked about light topics, like women's reproductive rights, future career plans, and the national debt.
With Sorensen CLP 2016 coming to a close, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the many donors that made this possible, the faculty that have taught us along the way, and all of the staff that make the Sorensen Institute the leader of ethical change in the Commonwealth of Virginia.