Board of Directors and PresidentACRU2020-12-05T18:32:40-05:00
Board of Directors and President
SUSAN A. CARLESON, CHAIRMAN
Susan A. Carleson, ACRU Chairman, began her career in public policy in 1981 as an advisor on health care financing policy during the Reagan presidential transition and then as a senior advisor to the Greenspan Commission on Social Security Reform. She joined the staff of the House Republican Conference in 1982 and later served as Legislative Director for Jack Kemp. During the 2nd Reagan term, she was a Special Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Education and Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs. From 2002 until 2006, she served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration.
Following the passing of her husband Robert B. Carleson in 2006, she assumed the leadership and day-to-day management of the ACRU.
EDWIN MEESE III, DIRECTOR
Edwin Meese III served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988. Before serving as Attorney General, he was counselor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985. In this capacity he functioned as the president’s chief policy adviser and had management responsibility for the administration of the cabinet, policy development, and planning and evaluation. During the time he held both these positions, Meese was a member of the president’s cabinet and the National Security Council.
Mr. Meese served as Governor Reagan’s executive assistant and chief of staff in California from 1969-1974 and as legal affairs secretary from 1967-1968. Before joining Governor Reagan’s staff in 1967, he served as deputy district attorney of Alameda County California.
Mr. Meese is a distinguished fellow and holder of the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation; a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; a member of the Board of Regents of the National College of District Attorney; and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London. He has authored many scholarly books on American government, most recently The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.
He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
MORTON C. BLACKWELL, DIRECTOR
Morton C. Blackwell, Director, founded the Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan educational foundation, in 1979. After decades of work in politics, Blackwell served as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1984. Blackwell is one of the nation’s most influential conservative figures, and through his Leadership Institute training programs he has helped to prepare thousands of politicians, journalists, and activists.
DAVID A. LEEDOM, DIRECTOR
David A. Leedom, Director, was trained as an engineer at the University of California. He has been a government employee, small-business owner, and large-business vice president, and he currently works in consulting and project management. He has a background of working with the military and is active in community and military affairs. He has worked for many conservative causes and has supported the American Civil Rights Union since its founding.
ORIT SKLAR KWASMAN
Orit (Sklar) Kwasman is a communications, event, and fundraising consultant, as well as a political writer and commentator. She previously served as Development Director at the Faith & Freedom Coalition, America’s largest and most influential organization dedicated to educating and mobilizing people of faith for effective civic action.
Orit has contributed to leading publications and provided election and political analysis for CNN’s Newsroom, a wide range of radio programs, and The Georgia Gang, Fox 5 Atlanta’s weekly political television show. She has been a featured speaker at conservative conferences and events and has been particularly involved in issues related to culture, millennials, and Israel.
She is known nationwide for her advancement of First Amendment rights and academic freedom on American university campuses and is the co-recipient of the 2009 Ronald Reagan Award from the American Conservative Union. As a college student, Orit successfully challenged Georgia Tech’s unconstitutional policies restricting free speech and infringing on religious liberty, filing suit in federal court, and enduring an unprecedented level of media malpractice and malicious threats.
A native of Mount Vernon, New York, she graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007, receiving a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering.
SENATOR VAL STEVENS
Senator Val Stevens began her legislative career in 1992 when she was elected to represent the 39th Legislative District in the State of Washington. After serving four years in the Washington House of Representatives, she was elected to the Senate where she then served for 16 years. As the Senate leader on issues that strengthen families and protect children, Stevens dedicated her career to holding bureaucracies accountable.
Stevens is a strong advocate for controlling the size and scope of government by reducing taxes and regulations. In 2010 she was named “Legislator of the Decade” by the National Federation of Independent Business, for her 100% voting record supporting small business.
She served for four years as the state chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national organization of legislators, dedicated to Jeffersonian principles. From 2004-2010 she served as a Director of their National Board of Directors.
She is the former Washington State Director of Concerned Women for America and served as a member of the National Board before leaving to seek public office.
Stevens retired from the State Senate in 2013 and continues her activities as a conservative standing against socialism.
WENDY BORCHERDT, DIRECTOR
Wendy Borcherdt, Director, is a former special assistant to the President for Public Policy and associate director of Presidential Personnel in the White House under President Reagan. She also served as acting Deputy Under-Secretary of Education in the Reagan administration. Mrs. Borcherdt is on the board of overseers, trustee emeritus, at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and she serves on the executive committee of the Parents Television Council. In addition, she is a board member and executive committee member of the Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh and a board member at the School for Public Policy at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Mrs. Borcherdt holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Stanford University.
LORI ROMAN, PRESIDENT
Lori Roman is the President of the American Constitutional Rights Union. Her diverse career exemplifies her expertise in management, public policy, strategic planning, and public relations. She is the former President of the Salt Institute, an industry trade association. She is also the former Executive Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a public policy organization of state legislators, members of U.S. Congress, and British and European Parliaments. Formerly, she served as the Deputy Director/Chief of Staff of the White House Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education, where she was responsible for strategic planning and management of resources to achieve the goals outlined in the President’s Management Agenda. She also served as the Director of School Choice and Senior Advisor on Family Educational Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. She began her career in management at General Motors and she has also assisted many businesses and non-profits as a consultant over many years.
An accomplished speaker and writer, Ms. Roman has been featured in many major radio and television outlets, as well as magazines and newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Administration.