Educating and Electing a New Generation of Republican Leaders

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2013 Emerging Leaders

We select a class of 20 promising state leaders each year to train to campaign and legislate effectively and instruct on successfully promoting conservative principles. The program’s capstone is the Emerging Leaders’ Summit which allows the Emerging Leaders to learn from each other as well as policy experts, Republican Party officials, and veteran lawmakers. These leaders return to their states better equipped to handle the rigors of campaigning and complexities of legislating.

GOPAC’s 2013 Emerging Leaders: Senate

State Senator Mark Green (TN)

Dr. Mark Green is President and CEO of Align MD, an emergency department and urgent care management and staffing company. He also founded Align MD Foundation, which provides health care to underserved populations around the world.

Green graduated from West Point and began his military career in 1987. Most recently, he served as the emergency department medical director for the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Kentucky from 2004 to 2006. He served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, the Air Medal, the Air Medal with “V” device for valor under heavy enemy fire, and the Bronze Star. He was named the Army Aviation Association’s Flight Surgeon of the Year.

Green serves as the Vice-Chair of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee and is a member of the Judiciary and State and Local Government Committees. He is also the Chaplain of the Senate GOP Caucus.

State Senator Tyler Harper (GA)

Tyler Harper is a small businessman and farmer. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering and also holds an Associate of Science Degree from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Harper was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2012 and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and is a member of the Senate Natural Resources and the Environment, Public Safety, and Retirement Committees.

Harper is active in the community and serves as President of the Ocilla Rotary Club and treasurer of the Georgia Young Farmer’s Association. He is also a member of the Ben Hill-Irwin Joint Development Authority.

State Senator Larry Obhof (OH)

Larry Obhof was elected Majortiy Whip for the 130th General Assembly and also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Civil Justice Committee, and is a member of the Senate Rules, the Ways & Means, the Insurance & Financial Institutions Committees, and the Finance Subcommittee on General Government.

Obhof is an attorney with the national law firm Baker & Hostetler LLP and is also an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Obhof graduated with degrees in Economics, History, and Political Science from The Ohio State University. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School.

State Senator Bob Peterson (OH)

Bob Peterson is a farmer, business owner and former county official. Peterson is an eighth generation farmer and raises corn, soybeans, wheat and livestock. Peterson has long been active in the Farm Bureau and served as Ohio Farm Bureau President for nearly five years.

Peterson served as a Fayette County Commissioner for 14 years before being elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2011 and then the Ohio Senate in 2012. Peterson currently serves as the Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee on General Government, Vice-Chair of the Ways & Means Committee, and as a member of the budget-writing Finance Committee, the Agriculture Committee, the Energy & Natural Resources Committee and the Insurance & Financial Institutions Committee.

Peterson received his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, and is also a graduate of its LEAD Program.

State Senator Tom Tiffany (WI)

Tom Tiffany has owned and operated Wisconsin River Cruises since 1991. Tiffany was elected to the State Assembly in 2010. He served as the Vice-Chair of the Assembly Committee on Forestry. Tiffany authored legislation to reform mining regulation and hunting rules. He was elected to the 12th Senate District in 2012.

State Senator Carlin Yoder (IN)

Carlin Yoder is a small business owner and has worked as a teacher, administrator, and District Director for Congressman Stutzman. As a State Senator, he has fought hard to ensure the rights of Hoosiers are protected. He has authored legislation to give students more choice in education and workers more freedoms.

GOPAC’s 2013 Emerging Leaders: House/Assembly

State Representative Jason Brodeur (FL)

Jason Brodeur worked for Procter & Gamble for 12 years before starting his own local health care consulting business. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2010.

Prior to being elected, Brodeur served on the City of Sanford Charter Review Board and the Seminole County Planning and Zoning Commission. He was also tapped by the Governor of Florida to serve on the Medicaid Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee, the Judicial Nominating Commission, and 18th Circuit. He also volunteers for several local community organizations.

Brodeur was raised in Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and MBA from the University of Florida.

State Representative Justin Burr (NC)

Justin Burr took over his nearly 60 year old family business and is a third generation bail bondsman. He is also a real estate broker. He was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2008 and was elected by his colleagues to serve as their Republican Freshman Leader. He was re-elected in 2010 with over 75 percent of the vote.

He serves as Chairman of the Appropriations and Joint Legislative Oversight Committees and Vice-Chairman of  Health and Human Services, Elections, Finance, and Rules Committees. He is also a member of the Government, Insurance, and Judiciary Committees.

He is active in his community, serving on the Board of the Boy Scouts of America Central North Carolina Council, as a member of the Central and Executive Committees of the NC Republican Party, and as an advisor for the state’s Teenage Republicans.

State Representative John Cabello (IL)

John Cabello has dedicated his life to serving his community. He served as a police officer and detective for over 20 years and continues that role while also serving as a legislator. He was sworn in to office as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in August 2012.

He previously served on the Winnebago County Board and the Harlem Township Board. He was Chairman of the Machesney Park Zoning Board of Appeals and on the Administrative and Finance Committees.

Delegate Peter Farrell (VA)

Peter Farrell is owner and founder of Recast Energy, which provides thermal energy to industrial customers. He has also served as a Legislative Aide to Senator Kenneth Stolle. He currently serves on the Tuckahoe YMCA Board of Directors and the Little Sisters of the Poor Advisory Board. He is a former member of the Collegiate School Alumni Board.

Farrell was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 Leaders by Style Weekly.

State Representative Tony Hwang (CT)

Tony Hwang is the living embodiment of the American Dream. His family emigrated from Taiwan when Hwang was a young child and through hard work Hwang successfully graduated from Cornell University. He founded his own recruiting company and for the past twelve years has been involved with residential real estate.

Hwang is involved with his community, taking an active role in the PTA, Rotary Club, and recreational sports leagues. He was elected Town Meeting Representative in 2005 and to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2008. He was reelected in 2010 with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

State Representative Stephanie Kunze (OH)

Stephanie Kunze is a founding member of Local Level, an organization which connects people to their community and supports local businesses. She served on the Hilliard City Council and currently chairs the newly formed Lifelong Community Enrichment Committee.

Kunze also serves as an elected member of the Franklin County Republican Party Central Committee and is a member of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, Upper Arlington Lutheran Church at Mill Run, Hilliard Area Republican Club, Capital Area Republican Women and is a graduate of the Hilliard Citizens Police Academy. She also volunteers for local charities and schools.

State Representative John Landon (IA)

John Landon is a small business owner and family farmer. He is a fourth generation Iowan and a veteran. He is also a partner at Peoples Company, a farm management and real estate business, where he served as a farm manager and agricultural realtor.

Landon is active in his community, serving as a member of the Ankeny Area Chamber of Commerce and an active leader in Polk County Republicans. He has served as a church Deacon and currently leads the Stewardship Committee at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Ankeny.

State Representative Polly Lawrence (CO)

Polly Lawrence is an officer and board member for Lawrence Construction. She also serves as a Legislative Committee member for the South Metro Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Colorado Contractors Association.

Lawrence is a lifelong Republican. She gives back to her community by serving as PTA President and volunteering for Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. She is also a sponsor for the National Sports Center for the Disabled. She graduated from Colorado State University.

State Representative Tom Leonard (MI)

Tom Leonard served as an Assistant Attorney General and prosecutor. Leonard is also very involved in the community. He is a member of the DeWitt Lions Club, the St. John’s Kiwanis Club, and currently serves as Chair of the Dewitt Township Public Safety Committee. He is also a member of the National Rifle Association and the Clinton County Farm Bureau.

Tom received his Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law and was his Graduating Class President. While studying, Tom received the Ralph M. Freeman Scholarship which is annually awarded to the student that most exemplifies the Rules of Professional Conduct by treating others with courtesy and respect.

State Representative Charles McCall (OK)

Charles McCall is the President and CEO of AmeriState Bank and served as Mayor of Atoka for seven years. He is a fourth generation banker and continues his family business after working his way up in the company.

McCall is an active member of his church and gives back to his community. He has been President of the Atoka Chamber of Commerce and the Atoka Lions club, Vice-Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Trustee of the Atoka County Health Care Authority, and Trustee of the Atoka Perpetual Cemetery Trust.

He also serves as Chairman of the Atoka City Industrial Development Authority, the Atoka Municipal Authority, and the Lake Atoka Reservation Authority, and as Vice-Chairman of the McGee Creek Authority. Charles has also served in numerous state organizations including Chairman of the Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma, Board Member of the State Chamber of Commerce, and a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (CA)

Melissa Melendez was elected to the Lake Elsinore City Council and was elected by her colleagues to serve as Mayor in her second year on the Council. Melendez entered the Navy upon graduating high school. She became one of the first women approved by the U.S. Navy to fly aboard EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft overseas and served as a translator for ten years.

Following the Navy, Melendez formed her own successful transcription company, contracting with the Chief of Naval Operations, and providing services to the Secretary of the Navy as well as other top-level Pentagon officials.

Melendez gives back to her community by serving as a former PTA President, former Home Owners Association President, member of the Lake Elsinore Woman’s Club, the American Legion, a member and supporter of the Lake Elsinore Storm Booster Club and member of the Lake Elsinore Friends of the Library. Melissa is also a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Community Activities Committee, and AYSO soccer coach and team manager.

State Representative Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff (CO)

Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff has had a diverse career working as a waitress in her grandmother’s restaurant, as an educator for the Colorado Department of Corrections and Las Animas High School, in the Rural Development Division of the United States Department of Agriculture and now for the U.S. House of Representatives.

She also has given back to her community by serving on the Las Animas City Council, Kountry Kids Advisory Board of Directors, and was appointed by Chief Justice Mullarkey to the 16th Judicial Review Committee.

Delegate Amanda Pasdon (WV)

Amanda Pasdon is the Director of Business Development for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. She is also actively involved in her community. She was appointed to the Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning (GO HELP), and works with the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce, Generation Morgantown, Generation West Virginia, Miss West Virginia USA Pageant, The Ronald McDonald Charity House and American Red Cross.

State Representative Scott Turner (TX)

Scott Turner is a former NFL Player, businessman, and motivational speaker. He is Director of Business Development for Systemware, Inc. and also serves as a Player Advisor for NFL players. Drawing on his successful NFL career and his natural speaking ability, Scott founded SPEAKAWORD, a motivational speaking company. He played football for the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, and Denver Broncos.

Turner also serves the community on several boards including Presbyterian Hospital’s Presidents Leadership Council, Dallas Metropolitan YMCA Board of Directors, Prestonwood Christian Academy Board of Trustees, and GuideStone Financial Board of Directors.

State Representative Monica Youngblood (NM)

Monica Youngblood is a small business owner after leaving the corporate world to become a realtor. In 2009, Monica completed the Leadership New Mexico Connect Program and served on the Associate Leadership Committee for several years while affiliated with Keller Williams Realty.

Youngblood also gives back to the community and has volunteered for the Junior Achievement of New Mexico organization, where she taught entrepreneurialism, financial wellness and workplace readiness. She also coached youth soccer for AYSO and youth cheer at Young American Cheerleaders. She contributed to the Keller Williams Realty’s Annual Golf Tournament and also served as the chairwoman for the 1st Annual Golf Tournament for the International School at Mesa del Sol.


GOPAC is dedicated to educating and electing a new generation of Republican leaders. A new generation of Republican leaders is out there. And it's GOPAC's mission to promote them as they champion the conservative ideas and policies that will create jobs and address the challenges our communities face. Since 1978, GOPAC has been searching the ranks of state and local governments for promising Republican leaders, and giving them the education and financial support they need to lead America. Learn More.

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