Aspen Institute Names Top Young Elected Officials to its Fourth Class of Aspen-Rodel Fellows

December 3, 2008  • Institute Contributor

  Contact: Mickey Edwards
Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership
(202) 736-5823

Aspen Institute Names Top Young Elected Officials to its Fourth Class of Aspen-Rodel Fellows

Washington, DC, November 28, 2008—The Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership has announced the selection of 24 elected public officials as its 2008 class of Fellows. Each of the members of the class was selected on their reputation for intellect, thoughtfulness, and a bipartisan approach to governing. The class is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and represents Fellows from 22 states, serving at both local and state levels of government. 

Holders of statewide office include Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox*, Vermont Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, and Mississippi State Treasurer Tate Reeves.

State legislators in the Fellowship include New Jersey Senator Jennifer Beck, Texas Representative Dan Branch, Oklahoma Senator Sean Burrage, Hawaii House Minority Leader Lynn Berbano Finnegan, Nevada Assembly Assistant Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, Colorado Senate President Peter Groff*, Virginia Senator Robert Hurt, Ohio Representative Shannon Jones, Pennsylvania Senator John Pippy, Iowa Representative Chris Rants, Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin, Arizona Representative Kyrsten Sinema, Wisconsin Senator Lena Taylor, and Arkansas Senator Robert Thompson.

Local officials include Santa Cruz, California, Mayor Ryan Coonerty; New Castle, Delaware, County Executive Chris Coons; Hamilton County, Ohio, Commissioner David Pepper, and Jackson County, Missouri, County Executive Mike Sanders.

The Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership program, established in 2005, works to enhance American democracy by convening the nation’s most promising young political leaders in a casual, bipartisan setting to explore the underlying values and principles of western democracy, the relationship between individuals and their community, and the responsibilities of public leadership. Aspen-Rodel Fellowships are 24 months long, during which classes meet three times and travel together on two foreign trips. The Class of 2008 will begin their dialogue when they convene for the first time in January 2009.

For additional information concerning the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership, please contact the program’s director, former congressman Mickey Edwards at 202/736-5823 or at More information on Rodel Fellows and the program can be found at

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners.

* Did not actually become a Rodel Fellow.


View Comments