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Former Mother Lode Lawmaker Attends ‘Rising Star’ Program

Modesto, CA – A state assembly member who represented the Mother Lode before the districts were redrawn is now the third California lawmaker to participate in a national bipartisan leadership program for “rising political stars.”

Invited to join the Aspen-Rodel Fellowship Class of 2015-16, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) was one of 24 political leaders who attended its initial gathering this past weekend. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a 2011 Fellow of the program, nominated Olsen for the honor last year. Also participating from California is Assemblyman Rob Bonta, (D-Oakland). The fellowship, founded in 2003 by the Rodel Foundation, focuses on bringing together local, state and national elected officials, ideally between the ages of 25 and 50 who are known to have strong abilities to collaborate well across partisan lines. Funded entirely by the foundation, the program expressly excludes support from lobbyists, governments, corporations, or special interest groups.

Aside from being an honor, Olsen says that the opportunity to participate presents an incredible learning opportunity for her. From her perspective: “Californians and Americans…they want and they deserve elected leaders that will get results, you know, instead of just grandstanding and bickering all day long. So, it was really nice to see leaders from across the nation come to this program committed to the same goal…how can we start to work together to deliver the results that Americans, and Californians, in my case, so desperately need.”

Former Congressman Mickey Edwards, the program’s director, explains that each of the participating Fellows represents “the best among the new generation of America’s political leadership.” Elaborating, he adds, “They have each won the notice and praise of their constituents and their colleagues and have shown a dedication to public service that is an encouraging sign in a time of great challenge.”

The fellowship, which began in 2003 marks its tenth class this year. There are now 200 Rodel Fellows, at all levels of government, according to Edwards, “working to ensure that Americans receive thoughtful and responsive leadership.”