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New Leaders Council

Sen. Tim Kaine joins NLC

Throughout the last week NLC sent you several incredibly exciting announcements. Today is no exception.

I want to let you know that Senator Tim Kaine is teaming up with New Leaders Council as an Honorary National Co-Chair!

Senator Kaine’s outstanding record as a public servant represents the culmination of NLC’s values. As a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher and elected official, Senator Kaine has dedicated himself to his community. At every level, he demonstrated committed leadership, being one of only 20 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, a Governor, and a United States Senator.

Senator Kaine’s career in public service began as Councilmember in Richmond, Virginia.  Through hard work and dedication, he now serves as as a Senator of Virginia. As a member of the Armed Service Committee, Budget Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, and Special Committee on Aging, Senator Kaine is a leading policy expert in areas abroad as well as here at home. Senator Kaine has and continues to be at the forefront of and a fearless advocate for progressive policies and values.

Senator Kaine is a role model for all NLC Fellows—an individual who deeply cares about his community who worked hard to climb the ranks and reach his goal to impact positive change in his community and country. Our Fellows can look to Senator Kaine and see an inspiring example of how, even when you start at your dad's ironworking shop, with hard work and playing by the rules you can become a national leader on many issues.

We are honored for Senator Kaine to join NLC's family of developing next generation leaders.

With Senator Kaine’s leadership, NLC will continue to build the bench of progressive professional leaders across the country.

Please join me in welcoming Senator Kaine to the NLC Family, and don’t forget to tweet to say hello!

Read the press release here.

You can read more about Senator Kaine and our other newly named Honorary National Co-Chairs, Assemblymember Michael Blake and Hon. Fiona Ma, as well as our new Digital Senior Fellow Beth Becker below and online here

This is just the beginning of our biggest year yet. I could not be more humbled, honored, and excited.


Mark Riddle

New Leaders Council Executive Director


p.s. don’t forget to be on the look out for our 2016 NLC Institute Class to be announced in January!


Tim Kaine, Senator, Virginia; New Leaders Council Honorary National Co-Chair

Tim was elected to the Senate in 2012. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees and is Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.

Tim is a founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, which focuses on improving access to CTE programs to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century. Tim also supports expanding economic opportunity for all through infrastructure investment, immigration reform and smart strategies to expand affordable health care access.

Tim grew up working in his father’s ironworking shop in Kansas City. He was educated at the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and started his public service career by taking a year off from Harvard to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. He also began teaching part-time at the University of Richmond in 1987.

Tim was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006. Tim was Chair of the Southern Governors’ Association from 2008 – 2009 and Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 – 2011.

Tim is married to Anne Holton, who currently serves as Virginia Secretary of Education. Tim and Anne revel in the adventures of their three grown children and live in the same Northside Richmond neighborhood where they moved as newlyweds more than 30 years ago. Tim loves reading, being outdoors and playing harmonica with bluegrass bands throughout Virginia.

Assemblyman Michael Blake (NY-79), New Leaders Council Honorary National Co-Chair

Michael Blake is the assemblyman of the 79th District in New York State, representing parts of Concourse Village, Morrisania, Melrose, Belmont, Claremont and East Tremont. He is passionate about urban entrepreneurship, minority- and women-owned businesses, community learning, building sustainable communities and empowering young men of color. He served as the senior advisor for Operation Hope and is the founding principal of Atlas Strategy Group, which focuses on political and economic empowerment for communities of color.

In early 2007, Michael joined then Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign and served as the Iowa deputy political director and constituency outreach director for the Iowa caucuses. After serving as the Michigan deputy state director for the general election, Blake joined the White House staff as the associate director of public engagement and deputy associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He created the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series, which sought to foster public, private and not-for-profit partnerships and provide strategic advice.

Blake left the White House to serve as the national deputy director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election and helped expand the diverse electorate that later re-elected the president.

Blake was honored as one of “The Root 100” in 2012, featured in Jet magazine as one of 15 black politicos behind President Obama’s re-election and recognized by MSNBC in 2011 as one of the Top 10 Black politicians on the rise.

The Bronx, New York native is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is also an exhorter in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church.

Fiona Ma, State Board of Equalization, Board Member, District 2; former CA Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore; New Leaders Council Honorary National Co-Chair

Fiona Ma was elected in November 2014 to represent the State Board of Equalization’s Second District. Ma was previously elected to represent the residents of California's 12th Assembly District from December 2006 to November 2012 and served as the first Asian woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore since 1850.

Ma first became interested in politics while a small business owner and a Certified Public Accountant who advocated on behalf of other small businesses. She was an elected delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business under President Bill Clinton.

In 2002, she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where she served for four years until 2006.

Ma received her B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), her M.S. in Taxation from Golden Gate University (SF), and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has been licensed in California as a Certified Public Accountant since 1992.

Beth Becker, Social Media Strategist/Trainer/Consultant; New Leaders Council Digital Senior Fellow

Beth Becker brings 20+ years of communication and marketing background to her work in political digital strategy.  In addition to her work with progressive clients Beth was a senior trainer for New Organizing Institute, and conducts trainings all over the world for organizations like Organise US in Australia where she recently trained and helped facilitate their first Digital Intensive week. Beth can also be found leading trainings conferences like Netroots Nation. 

Beth was named one of the world’s 100 Best Social Media Strategists by Sparkuh and won the Most Valuable Session Award at NOI’s 2014 RootsCamp. As a contributing blogger at and avid activist, Beth shares her knowledge to help the progressive movement use digital with offline to win.

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New Leaders Council is a 501 (c) (3) public charity dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders and to providing those leaders with the tools they need to succeed. NLC does not engage in political or legislative activities of any kind, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and serves only as an educational leadership training ground.