She’s still a few weeks shy of her 25th birthday and only three years into her congressional career. But Iowa Republican Steve King has given House staffer Sarah Stevens the ultimate vote of confidence: naming her chief of staff.
So began the Sept. 15 Roll Call article “Steve King Crowns 24-Year-Old Queen of the Hill.”
Stevens may be the youngest top aide on Capitol Hill, but she’s well-prepared for the job. She’s already worked as King’s press assistant, press secretary and communications director. But her grounding in how Washington works—and how to fight for conservative principles and policies in Congress—can be traced back to her senior year in college, when she interned with Heritage through Liberty University’s Washington Fellowship program.
In 2016, Heritage’s Young Leaders Program will welcome over 190 college students to work should- to-shoulder with our researchers, legal scholars, and communications and marketing professionals. In addition to lectures and study programs led by Heritage scholars, they had the opportunity to hear from foreign leaders, Members of Congress, and leading political scientists.
Our intern program shapes and sharpens promising young conservatives so the rising generation can help reclaim America as a land “where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.” But Heritage is also committed to “missionary work”—introducing young people to conservative principles, regardless of where they may be on the ideological spectrum.
In 2015, our Young Leaders Program hosted briefings for 62 groups of high-schoolers, college students, and young professionals. And our Strategic Outreach team spoke at more than 100 on-campus events at colleges and universities throughout the country. They provided a principled, conservative voice on issues of the day—a voice all too rarely heard in today’s rigidly “progressive” quads.
Heritage helped spread the message of freedom well beyond our shores, too. One of the year’s great successes was the Jerusalem Policy Summit, organized by Heritage Senior Advisor Joel Anand Samy. The summit focused on the value of rule of law, a strong defense and economic freedom. Israeli media coverage was extensive.
The Heritage Congressional Fellows (HCF) Program is a year-long, 24-installment lecture and discussion series hosted by our Center for Principles and Politics and our Policy Promotion team. It gives junior congressional staffers a firm grounding in First Principles and how they apply to modern policy debates. Last year, the program attracted staff from more than 130 congressional offices, with attendance averaging nearly 70 participants per session. In October, the program graduated 57 legislative and communications staffers. This year’s class is just as impressive.
For senior Hill staffers committed to advancing the conservative agenda, Heritage—in conjunction with Hillsdale College—offers continuing education via the Madison Fellows Program. Madison Fellows meet monthly for roundtable discussions with national policy, political, and opinion leaders. In 2016, over 125 people will participate in the program.
The Heritage Foundation runs the George C. Marshall Fellowship program to prepare selected young professionals—both on the Hill and off —to fill future leadership roles in national security and foreign policy. Running from March to September, the program incorporates lectures, field trips, and social networking events. Highlights included a two-day simulation of the Yalta Conference (to practice international negotiating skills) and the Gettysburg Staff Ride (to learn the historic battle’s lessons on strategic leadership). The program graduated 16 Fellows in 2015.
At year’s end, our Policy Outreach team was poised to launch a new leadership development program for 2016. Designed for senior staff on Capitol
Hill, the Feulner-Weyrich Fellowship Program will offer advanced lessons on policy, process, and politics from veterans of the Conservative Movement. Fifteen staff members graduated from this exciting new program in July.
In addition to the formal development programs, Policy Services and Outreach also arranges ad hoc policy briefings for Members of Congress, their policy directors, and legislative assistants throughout the year. Marching to the tempo of what’s happening on the floors of the House and Senate, we conducted more than 200 of these one- on-one or small-group meetings in 2015.
Through our Young Leaders Program, Heritage will continue to educate young people in conservative principles to educate the next cohort of conservative leaders and protect freedom for future generations.