Investing in North Dakota

June 27

I’ve provided an overview of the Family Policy Foundation® Statesmen Academy℠ in the past, but rather than recap the same information, I want to focus on the program content and impact. In other words, is Statesmen Academy really a first-class training ground for legislators and does it really make a difference in the lives of the graduates?

Working with our alliance of over 40 states, Family Policy Foundation equips and disciples legislators as future Statesmen—men and women dedicated to engaging in politics in alignment with our Christian principles. The Statesmen Academy has been established to seed the political system with well-trained Christian, pro-family legislators, and to transform that system from within over time.

We have three Statesmen Academy graduates currently serving in our North Dakota legislature: Rep. Dan Johnston, Rep. Luke Simons, and Rep. Michelle Strinden. These are dedicated Christian men and women who advance pro-life legislation (including the two pro-life bills this past session) and protect family values that you hold so dear. Moreover, we will have three more North Dakota legislator attendees this summer!

What makes the Statesmen Academy so special? First, nobody else is doing this. No other organization is equipping legislators to put their faith into action in state legislatures like this program does.

Second, the course content is first class. Attendees complete pre-reading materials and then engage in a rigorous curriculum, including subjects such as the following.

  • Origins of American legislative politics
  • How scripture views the role of government
  • The outward spiritual life: Christian demeanor and statesmanship in a divisive arena
  • The inward spiritual life: God and family while in office
  • The steady march of the pro-life movement: Roe through Casey and Webster to today
  • The mechanics of legislative leadership

Who are some of the speakers at the Statesmen Academy? Well respected, well known past speakers and teachers have included:

  • Tom Coburn | U.S. Senator, Oklahoma (retired);
  • Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. | Hillsdale College Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs in Washington, D.C.;
  • Alberto Gonzales | Former U.S. Attorney General;
  • Tim Goeglein | Senior Advisor to the President, Focus on the Family;
  • Clarke Forsythe | Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life;
  • Wayne Grudem, Ph.D. | Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary;
  • Paul Gazelka | Majority Leader, Minnesota State Senate; and
  • Jeff Laszloffy | President, Montana Family Institute and former Speaker Pro Tem, Montana House of Representatives.

Finally, what are the outcomes? Does the program actually make an impact on the attendees? The answer to this is probably best expressed in comments from Academy Graduates.

As a Christian legislator, it enabled me to connect with other like-minded politicians from across the nation, and together, study a God-centered approach to politics. It was a truly transforming experience.” – Rep. Dan Johnston, North Dakota

The Statesman Academy was a wonderful opportunity to learn from and be inspired by leaders  who strive to honor God and the family in our government.” – Rep. Michelle Strinden, North Dakota

If I was to sum it up in one sentence: ‘It’s a must, don’t miss it!’” – Rep. Luke Simons, North Dakota

I can’t even begin to convey all the benefit I gained in the experience. I’ve been through other training for legislators; this by far was above everything I’ve ever been to.” – Sen. Chuck Payne, Georgia

By far the best training I have had as a legislator.” – Rep. Jesse Kremer, Wisconsin

I’ve been learning politics over the past year – in the school of hard knocks. The Statesmen Academy was finally a place of Biblical training that I have been yearning for.” – Sen. Mark Johnson, Minnesota

Presentation and content were outstanding and applicable.” – Sen. Ryan Aument, Pennsylvania

So, what can you do to ensure this amazing program continues, and in particular, trains more North Dakota legislators? You can help us financially underwrite the Statesmen Academy.

Right now, your tax-deductible gift toward the Statesmen Academy will be doubled through June 30. The matching deadline is quickly approaching, so please act now to take advantage of this opportunity.

This is your chance to provide more training for legislators on how to best integrate their faith into the political arena, amidst an ever-more hostile media and increasing pressure for them to shed their principles. Please donate now, particularly with the added dollar-for-dollar match opportunity, and let’s further ensure that North Dakota remains true to its pro-life and pro-family values.


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director