Today, I am writing to you from Atlanta, Georgia—host city for the Family Policy Foundation® 2019 Statesmen Academy℠!
The Statesmen Academy has become our nation’s premier training ground for on-the-rise Christian legislators and aspiring policymakers. This year, we are proud to have over 30 men and women from 15 states, including New Mexico. Throughout the course of the Academy, these Christian leaders will receive rigorous training from world renowned thought leaders and experienced Christian legislative leaders, including former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn and Dr. Wayne Grudem. Our distinguished faculty will provide instruction on the legislative art of patience and persistence, unwavering principles, and passionate, respectful advocacy.
Participating in the Statesmen Academy is a great privilege for our state and I want to personally thank the many of you who contributed to make this possible. This week, I will be posting photos and updates on Facebook and Twitter, so if you have not yet “Liked” or “Followed” us, please do so today!
God bless you and thank you again for your continued prayers and thoughtful support.
President and Executive Director
I may get in trouble for saying this, but… as Christians, we place far too much emphasis on Party identification.
The reason for this is clear and understandable. One Party has a platform that values life, God’s design of the family, a respect for faith, and the First Amendment. The other does not.
But, Party certainly has its limitations. There is nothing inherently virtuous about “red” or “blue.” Instead, it’s a God- honoring agenda – which is largely adopted by one Party and not the other – that is worth supporting. Should the other Party, or its members, support what we stand for, we will happily welcome them to the cause. Conversely, we will not blindly follow or support a candidate or elected official simply because of a letter by their name.
We’ve seen this here in Georgia. For years, our state has been led by Republicans. But, we angered many in the “establishment” when we supported Brian Kemp for the gubernatorial nomination. We did so because he genuinely cared more about acting on the right issues, advancing our values, and putting all Georgians first ahead of the other competing interests – interests that often deter elected officials from taking decisive action. As I recently wrote in the AJC, it’s not that Brian Kemp is “more Republican.” It’s that he’s is a different sort – a better sort – of elected official than we’ve seen.
The same is true for Rep. Ed Setzler, the Heartbeat Bill’s sponsor. There were many in the Party that did not want him to bring that bill forward. But, he had more than a decade of statesmanship, trust built up with colleagues, leadership skills, and a steadfast commitment to seeing a fulfilled vision of a Georgia that cherishes life.
THIS is why – the commitment of leaders like Kemp and Setzler – we were able to get this bill (which is now rallying other states to the movement) signed into law. After a decade and a half of Republican control, more was gained in mere months of the Kemp Administration because of his courage and fortitude.
But this raises a question: How do we make certain that there are more leaders like Kemp or Setzler waiting in the wings? What can be done to add to their ranks so that, in the big battles that loom in the coming years or decades, we have others of their character and ability standing alongside those leading the charge?
Such an idea underscores the need for Family Policy Foundation’s Statesmen Academy? – aimed at equipping talented and committed leaders with the tools and relationships needed to transform their states. (Last year’s Statesmen Academy class is pictured above.)
As you know, generous supporters have offered a $140,000 matching grant to ensure the success of this year’s Statesmen Academy. To that end, I wanted to personally request your support.
We have six phenomenal attendees from our state joining other outstanding leaders from around the country – more than any other state. I am certain that they will be greatly blessed by this experience, but we need your help to cover the cost. Will you consider generously partnering with us by making an online donation today?
Our aim is to raise $15,000 toward that match from here in Georgia between now and June 30. Can I count on you to partner with us? Any amount is greatly appreciated and will be helpful in ensuring strong, biblical leadership for our state for years to come.
President and Executive Director
PS. For the kind of Georgia we want, we cannot simply hope to elect members of one Party. We need Statesmen! We need God-honoring, courageous, talented, and strategic leaders who are equipped to accomplish a BIG vision. Your generous support today will be matched dollar for dollar to continue funding this incredible program.
In one of the lesser known of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books, The Horse and His Boy, the Calormens use the phrase “may he live forever” after every mention of their ruler, the Tisroc. While this is a mockable sentiment in the story, it’s a phrase that has sincere meaning here in our state.
Because of the incredible work in the last election cycle and God’s grace, it’s hard not to wish “may he live forever,” or the more applicable “may he serve forever,” upon our leaders. If statesmen like Brian Kemp, Geoff Duncan, Ed Setzler and the like were in office “forever” – a proposition each would resoundingly reject – we would know that our state’s future would be secure.
But, sadly, they won’t “serve forever.” In the case of Gov. Kemp, he only has seven and a half years left (yep, I just said that) due to term limits. State Senator Renee Unterman, the Heartbeat Bill’s sponsor in that body has embarked on a congressional campaign. Others will eventually decide that the Lord is calling them to other opportunities.
So, what do we do?
This is where the Family Policy Foundation® Statesmen Academy℠ is such a pivotal program. None of our leaders will always be around, and we cannot simply cross our fingers and hope that the next wave will be as strong as what we are seeing. That’s why we have a program uniquely designed to equip those we want to encourage toward leadership with the tools they need to achieve it and to thrive once they attain it.
Because of the unique and powerful nature of this program, generous supporters have stepped forward to INCREASE our matching grant to $172,500 – so that your strong support will be DOUBLED. Can you help us reach this match by making a generous gift today?
Your generous support accomplishes a number of crucial things:
- Encouraging and affirming legislators who are sacrificing greatly for His Kingdom. This week functions as a spiritual retreat for those leading – and taking heat – for standing for our values.
- Connecting these leaders with our ministry, with fellow colleagues in their state, and with likeminded believers from other states – to form a unified network of legislators working together around the country to advance the cause.
- Equipping godly men and women to better serve and advance the mission in their current roles and to rise in the leadership ranks.
- Empowering attendees with the wisdom, tools, and skills needed to one day seek higher office should the Lord call them to do so.
“May he live forever,” will never be a reality. But, our work to provide perpetually strong leadership, with an eye toward the next generation, is a cornerstone of our strategy. Will you partner with us?
President and Executive Director
PS. Every $1 you give today becomes $2 thanks to a generous matching gift – $100 becoming $200, $500 becoming $1,000 and $2,500 becoming $5,000. This doubled investment will yield results for YEARS to come! Please consider partnering with us today.
We need more statesmen in Georgia.
In 2014, after years of engaging in the public square, the Lord called me to run for the State Senate. I knew that Georgia needed more statesmen in office, and I was committed to leading in a way that honored our Savior. That’s why I’ve never backed down from a fight and why I’ve sponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for the last 3 years.
It’s also why I’m so grateful for the Family Policy Foundation’s® Statesmen Academy℠.
My wife and I were blessed to attend the week-long conference last year along with some other great Georgians, and we were blown away by the spirituality, the quality of the training, and the relationships we were able to build. Having served in office for just a few years, the week affirmed so much of what God was doing in and through me as well as gave me new tools to go forth, stand firm, and take action for His glory.
This legislative session, I’ve thought about the training I received many times, and it’s been an honor to partner with Cole Muzio and the team at Family Policy Foundation. I’ve also recommended the Academy to a number of my colleagues, and I’m so excited to see several great Georgians coming this year.
When I first arrived in the legislature, I knew we needed more statesmen in Georgia. Now, at the end of this year’s Academy, 14 great leaders in our state will have gone through this one-of-a-kind experience. Family Policy Foundation is building an entire coalition of leaders committed to the shared goal of a Georgia where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished!
At Statesmen Academy, legislators gain outstanding strategies on how to make this vision a reality, and the relationship with this team and your fellow statesmen only grows after the week.
Please partner with Family Policy Foundation today to make sure more Christian leaders can take part in this transformative experience. We need more statesmen!
In His Service,
Sen. Marty Harbin
Georgia State Senate
PS. I’m proud to be an alum at Family Policy Foundation’s Statesmen Academy, and my hope is to see our ranks grow here in Georgia. Consider generously giving today to fund this program. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar to maximize impact and expand the number of alumni here in Georgia!
Well, that didn’t’ last long. Incredible, nationwide pro-life momentum has prompted Planned Parenthood to oust its president, Leana Wen, after just 8 months on the job.
But, the reasons for Wen’s departure should be a warning to our movement. According to Wen, she wanted to “run a national health care organization” while the Planned Parenthood board wanted to “double down” on pro-abortion politics. While Wen’s assertion that anyone could confuse what Planned Parenthood does as health care is laughable, we must take seriously the commitment of that evil organization to bring more resources and intensity to its political engagement.
We can expect Georgia to be at the forefront of Planned Parenthood’s efforts to “double down.” To help us fight back, please consider a generous gift today.
Notes on my travels: Since the close of the legislative session, I’ve traveled all over the state to places like Dalton, Savannah, and Valdosta to share about our ministry and spread the message about the momentum for families under Governor Kemp. I’ve spoken to political groups, and I’ve preached in churches. If there are people you want me to meet or groups you want me to speak to, feel free to reply to this email so we can get something on the schedule.
Prayers for next week: We have been updating you on the Family Policy Foundation® 2019 Statesmen Academy℠, and many of you have responded generously to help fund this pivotal program. Well, this training will be held next week in Atlanta for leaders from around the country – including our allies in Georgia. Please be in prayer for his program, for it to impact the attendees, for learning to occur, for relationships to be formed, and for its long-term success transforming our state and our nation.
In His Service,
President and Executive Director
Imagine feeling called to run for office but having never thought about it before. Imagine feeling called to run for a seat where the odds were stacked against you. Well, at the Statesmen Academy, such a potential candidate heard from Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan who shared his story of hearing God’s call in church before mounting improbable (but ultimately successful) campaigns for State House and then Lt. Governor.
Imagine being a legislator who is struggling with knowing where to compromise – wondering which compromises are Christ-honoring and which perpetuate the status quo. Well, at the Statesmen Academy, legislators heard from Hillsdale College’s Dr. Matthew Spalding on the “vice” of gradualism (incrementalism for incrementalism’s sake), the need to be bold yet strategic, and the thought processes of Abraham Lincoln.
Imagine being a strong conservative elected official wondering how best to model Christ to your liberal colleagues who openly advocate for evil. Well, at Statesmen Academy, such faithful believers heard from former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn about the Christ-centered relationship he built with President Barack Obama.
These lessons and more are made possible by so many of you, our faithful supporters. THANK YOU!
It’s been a great week, and it’s not over. Attendees will also hear about the temptations that come with serving in office, the lessons that can be learned from the Georgia Heartbeat Bill, the newest targets from the radical Left, and a word from Governor Kemp.
Please pray for attendees, and, if you wish to help our educational programs reach more people, consider a tax deductible gift to Family Policy Foundation today.
The need for thoughtful Christian legislators is immense, and the Statesmen Academy exists to encourage those who fit the bill and grow their ranks. I look forward to sharing more about the rest of the week.
Because Statesmanship Matters,
President and Executive Director
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.
President and Executive Director
Family Policy Foundation’s fourth-annual Statesmen Academy was held this summer in Atlanta, Georgia. Twenty-eight elected officials and aspiring political leaders gathered for a week of rigorous training from national issue experts, historians and experienced Christian statesmen.
This fourth-annual event was a huge success, perhaps summed up best by one of our participants: “Just outstanding! The terrific speakers, excellent information, devotions, worship, relationship-building and outstanding accommodations all exceeded my expectations!”
The 2019 Statesmen class hailed from 14 states and a variety of elected offices and careers, including state representatives and senators, city and county commissioners, pastors and law enforcement officials. They gleaned from returning stalwart speakers Dr. Wayne Grudem of Phoenix Seminary, Dr. Matt Spalding from Hillsdale College, Clarke Forsythe of Americans United for Life, Retired Senator Dr. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, and Former Indiana Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner.
In addition, the 2019 class had the opportunity to hear from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, U.S. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, UC Berkley graduate Isabella Chow, radio host Erick Erickson and several other policy makers and shapers from around the country. They also engaged in dynamic panel discussions on hot-button issues including the LGBTQ agenda, parental rights and Heartbeat legislation.
When the Statesmen Academy launched in 2016, its mission was to provide politicians and promising legislative leaders with rigorous training to equip them for effective, Christ-centered public service. Our mission remains the same today, and it is now being realized through our 105 Statesmen alumni.
Since graduating from the Academy, these passionate men and women have carried the water on a plethora of pro-family bills, many of which have been signed into law by governors across the country. Most recently, their legislation has included dismemberment abortion bans, chemical abortion reversal notification, born-alive infant protection, medical professional conscience protection, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Student and Educator Religious Freedom Act, Adoption Protection Act, and many more. Several Statesmen Academy alumni have been elected to higher office, including one to U.S. Congress.
These results would not be possible without the army of Family Policy Foundation supporters and friends across the country. Thank YOU for making these outcomes possible! We believe the return on your investment is strong and promising.
If you would like more information about the Statesmen Academy, or have questions about how you can be involved, please email us at email@example.com.
The Family Foundation Team
This summer, Family Policy Foundation® will host its annual Statesmen Academy℠ and we need your help to ensure that New Mexico is represented!
The 2019 Statesmen Academy will be an intensive week of training for on-the-rise Christian legislators and aspiring policymakers. This annual conference is a pivotal part of our strategy to build a coalition of pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom advocates locally and across the nation. Previous students include New Mexico Representatives Rebecca Dow, David Gallegos, and Rod Montoya, and this year, we have THREE spots to fill.
As we prepare for the upcoming Academy, passionate ministry partners have generously provided a matching grant to DOUBLE your gift TODAY. These gifts are tax-deductible, and they will help us equip our leaders with the training and resources they need to govern biblically and successfully.
Participation in the Statesmen Academy is a huge honor for our state, so please send your gift today!
Thank you for your support!
President and Executive Director
Previous Statesmen Academy Alumni
State Rep. David Gallegos State Rep. Rebecca Dow
Statesmen Class 2017 Statesmen Class 2018
State Rep. Rod Montoya
Statesmen Class 2018
I had an interesting conversation recently with my uncle who lives in St. Louis. I was telling him about my work with Family Policy Alliance® here in North Dakota and he interrupted me and said, “Oh, I know about Family Policy Alliance. They have that Statesmen Academy℠ where they train politicians on how to act on their faith once they’re elected, right? I think that’s great and really makes your organization stand out, because I don’t know of anyone else doing that.”
I was surprised at his statement, but why? After all, he described it well, knew what it was called, and knew that no other organization was doing the same thing. I was surprised because out of all the things Family Policy Alliance does at the national level and here in North Dakota, that was the one thing that stuck with him. Why?
First, people get it. As with my uncle, it’s a concept that people see as concrete and easily measured. They know that the Statesmen Academy will make a difference in populating our state legislatures with Godly men and women, in an era in which legislators holding Judeo-Christian moral beliefs are facing evermore hostile media and highly divisive politics.
Second, they can picture the power of the program. Our Statesmen Academy graduates were primary sponsors of bills honoring life, parental rights, and freedom in school choice. Because of the principles on which our Statesmen stand, now North Dakotan woman have to right to know chemical abortions might be reversed, homeschool families have more freedom, and dismemberment abortions are banned.
I deeply respect and am so appreciative of our three Statesmen Academy graduates currently in the legislature: Representatives Dan Johnston, Luke Simons, and Michelle Strinden.
With three current Statesmen Academy graduates, and three more planning to attend this year’s Academy in July, three will become six. What if next year we can find five more, and then seven the next, and so on? Pretty soon you have an empowered force with incredible momentum in the halls of the Capitol who will work hard to advance policy in a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.
Won’t you help us with this important task? Your financial support will go a long way to preserving and expanding biblical values in our state legislature. If you give today, your tax-deductible gift will currently be DOUBLED, thanks to a $140,000 matching grant provided by generous ministry partners.
I see a future. A future where Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, our Statesmen Academy graduates, and other Christian legislators all work together to preserve and advance biblical values at a never-imagined level. Let’s make it a reality!
President and Executive Director