About Us

Who We Are

Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national organization dedicated to the belief that citizens should be in charge of their government. One of the best tools that citizens have for enacting change is the initiative and referendum process. Our organization is made up of activists, legislators, financial supporters, opinion leaders, and most importantly — citizens — who come together to protect and defend this process where it exists, and extend it to where it does not. But no matter our background, we all recognize that additional checks on state legislatures are to be encouraged.

What We Do

Citizens in Charge Foundation works with activists, legislators, media, opinion leaders and voters to protect the initiative & referendum process in the 24 states where it exists, and to expand the process to states currently lacking the initiative. We also work to educate the general public on the benefits of citizen initiative, referendum and recall and litigate through the court system to protect and expand those rights.

Citizens in Charge Foundation empowers grassroots leaders through our Citizen State Coordinator Program.  These volunteer coordinators make a difference by engaging in activities at the local and state level to protect and defend the ballot initiative process. Our team of Citizen State Coordinators mobilizes “boots-on-the-ground” activists, meets and works with elected officials and opinion leaders, and hosts educational events.

Why We Do It

We believe that citizen control of government is essential for peace, prosperity and freedom, and that the citizen initiative process is a necessary check on the power of state legislatures.

The process of initiative and referendum is critical if we are to shift power back into the hands of ordinary citizens. Citizens in Charge Foundation is uniquely positioned as the only national organization committed to defending the ballot initiative process in states where it exists and expanding it to those states where citizens currently lack the process.

Donor Confidentiality Policy

About Citizens in Charge Foundation

Who We Are

Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national organization dedicated to the belief that citizens should be in charge of their government. One of the best tools that citizens have for enacting change is the initiative and referendum process. Our organization is made up of activists, legislators, financial supporters, opinion leaders, and most importantly — citizens — who come together to protect and defend this process where it exists, and extend it to where it does not. But no matter our background, we all recognize that additional checks on state legislatures are to be encouraged.

What We Do

Citizens in Charge Foundation works with activists, legislators, media, opinion leaders and voters to protect the initiative & referendum process in the 24 states where it exists, and to expand the process to states currently lacking the initiative. We also work to educate the general public on the benefits of citizen initiative, referendum and recall and litigate through the court system to protect and expand those rights.

Citizens in Charge Foundation empowers grassroots leaders through our Citizen State Coordinator Program.  These volunteer coordinators make a difference by engaging in activities at the local and state level to protect and defend the ballot initiative process. Our team of Citizen State Coordinators mobilizes “boots-on-the-ground” activists, meets and works with elected officials and opinion leaders, and hosts educational events.

Why We Do It

We believe that citizen control of government is essential for peace, prosperity and freedom, and that the citizen initiative process is a necessary check on the power of state legislatures.

The process of initiative and referendum is critical if we are to shift power back into the hands of ordinary citizens. Citizens in Charge Foundation is uniquely positioned as the only national organization committed to defending the ballot initiative process in states where it exists and expanding it to those states where citizens currently lack the process.

Donor Confidentiality Policy

Strategies & Goals

The process of initiative and referendum is critical if we are to shift power back into the hands of ordinary citizens. For years, politicians and special interests have attacked the citizen initiative and referendum process with impunity. Their goal: to undermine the most powerful tool citizens possess for restoring accountable government. Now, through the Citizens in Charge Foundation, the people are fighting to protect their rights at the ballot box.

Citizens in Charge Foundation (CICF) is uniquely positioned as the only national organization committed to defending the ballot initiative process in states where it exists and expanding it to those states where citizens currently lack the process.

Accomplishments

In 2009,  working with citizens and local organizations across the country – and across the political spectrum – Citizens in Charge Foundation edcuated citizens and opinion leaders about the importance and benefit of an open and accessible initiative process. Critical information on changes to the initiative process were put in the hands of voters while the changes were being debated by lawmakers so that citizens could make informed decisions about initiative policy in their state.

  • In Oklahoma, while the legislature debated several key changes to the initiative process, CICF mounted a statewide awareness campaign to inform citizens from the capital city to the western cattle ranches on how those changes would effect their initiative rights. Knowledge is power, and armed with the knowledge of what an open and acessible initiative process, voters were able to successfully ask lawmakers to ease restrictions on their process.
  • When a group of Missouri legislators proposed several severe restrictions on the initiative process, CICF was able to provide information to legislators, activists and media outlets on how similar policies had worked - or failed - in other states. Once armed with the facts about restrictions on the initiative process, the legislature quickly scrapped plans to impose restrictions on voters.
  • CICF currently has Citizen State Coordinators organizing and educating supporters of the initiative process in 16 states; and that number keeps growing.

Through these efforts, CICF has empowered citizens to protect the initiative rights of 137 million Americans.

Upcoming Challenges

Although CICF’s educational efforts were successful in many states, the pro-initiative coalition has not prevailed everywhere. Legislation passed this year in Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon damages citizen initiative rights. Not only do these new laws contain elements ruled unconstitutional in other states, they also include a new provision imposing serious financial and criminal penalties on the proponents of initiatives for any wrongdoing in the course of the petition effort – even for violations not committed by them, but by people they hired to collect signatures!

Preventing such obvious intimidation is essential, and only an informed public and swift action against restrictive laws can prevent it. Lawsuits in these three states and others are needed to overcome restrictions on the initiative process. Our legal actions help galvanize grassroots support and inform the media about the illegal harassment of citizens engaged in the democratic process.

Strengthening our ever-growing and active grassroots network will allow us to accomplish the following goals in the next twelve months:

  • Have a Citizen State Coordinator organizing supporters in every state.
  • Provide even more information to citizens, opinion leaders and officials on how to maintain an open and accessible initiative process.
  • Challenge the restrictions passed in Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon as well as additional unconstitutional restrictions on the books in other states.
  • Defend the initiative and referendum process in the court of public opinion.

Grassroots and Media

Sky-high public support for initiative and referendum promises numerous opportunities to protect and expand the process. Consequently, Citizens in Charge Foundation is building a state-by-state grassroots network across the country, which educates voters on attempts to restrict their First Amendment rights and mobilizes the reservoir of public opposition against these restrictions.

Citizens in Charge Foundation empowers grassroots leaders through our Citizen State Coordinator Program.  These volunteer coordinators make a difference by engaging in activities at the local and state level to protect and defend the ballot initiative process. Our team of Citizen State Coordinators mobilizes “boots-on-the-ground” activists, meets and works with elected officials and opinion leaders, and hosts educational events.

To rapidly build coalitions, Citizens in Charge Foundation provides small start-up grants to organizations in the 24 states that have statewide initiative and referendum rights. These grants allow state organizations to set up a website, host a town hall event and/or other outreach and capacity-building activities.

CitizensInCharge.org serves as the meeting place for the initiative rights movement. The website provides activists with information about the history and nuances of each state’s process. It also helps our Citizen State Coordinators organize supporters in their state. Each state page contains updates from the coordinator, the latest state-specific news, requirements for petition drives, and an interactive multimedia section.

In addition to providing valuable information to our activists, the website serves as a resource for the media – both new and old. The Citizen Blog features updates from our team in the field, the latest national I&R news, and commentary from our staff on various voter rights issues from a trans-partisan point of view.

In 2007, Citizens in Charge Foundation launched Ballotpedia.org, a wiki-based website addressing all things ballot-related. We are currently preparing to launch Ballotpodium.com, a platform that will allow initiative proponents and opponents alike to debate before a broader audience. For every initiative on the ballot each election cycle, Ballotpodium will provide a one-stop shop for voters interested in debating the issues or just learning more about the propositions on the ballot in their state.

BallotBoxNews.com was launched this past spring, and has already received rave reviews from journalists who follow initiatives. This spin-off newswire is updated multiple times a day and serves as an unbiased clearinghouse for initiative, referendum and recall developments nationwide. Starting this fall, Citizens in Charge Foundation will produce a comprehensive Post-Election Report on ballot measures and the reforms endorsed by voters.

While the online community is of growing importance, personal, public engagement is vital to growing a grassroots movement. Citizens in Charge Foundation has held and co-sponsored several events, working with organizations spanning the political spectrum. From forums at the National Press Club to speaking engagements to monthly “Citizens on Tap” happy hours, we have engaged numerous political groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the American Civil Liberties Union, FairVote, Young Americans for Liberty, Common Cause, the Leadership Institute, U.S. PIRG, the Center for Competitive Politics, the National Taxpayer’s Union and the Transpartisan Alliance.

 

Legislative

While voters are increasingly turning to initiatives to make needed reforms, elected officials often are seeking to impose limitations on the process.

For this reason, it is important that there is a proactive effort by the pro-initiative community to stop further restrictions to the process. To that end, Citizens in Charge, a 501(c)(4) citizen-powered advocacy organization, works to defend the initiative process through the legislative system. Click here to read more about the work of Citizens in Charge.

Citizens in Charge Foundation takes additional action to complement the work of Citizens in Charge. Specifically, we work to build broad political coalitions and mobilize supporters; monitor and publicize anti-democratic, anti-initiative bills introduced in legislatures, as well as highlight their sponsors; and work to find legislative leaders to go on offense by introducing legislation to make needed reforms.

By using our grassroots networks and public events to draw attention to adversaries, we are creating a huge – and very public – disincentive to further impeding the ballot initiative process.

But enacting change in legislatures requires working from within the system, as well as reforming it from the outside. As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Citizens in Charge Foundation has been active on the Elections & Ethics Subcommittee. We have been forming strategic partnerships with state legislators, who support the initiative process, and educating those who are unfamiliar with it.

Strategic Litigation

Most restrictions placed on the citizen initiative process by state legislators are vulnerable to federal court challenge on First Amendment grounds. Citizens in Charge Foundation will launch a national campaign to roll-back unconstitutional provisions of state law holding back citizen use of initiatives, referendums and recalls.

As the only national organization dedicated to protecting the process, Citizens in Charge Foundation will triage the nation’s petition regulations to determine the most important challenges.

  • Our first priority is to overturn any new attack on initiative rights.

This year, unconstitutional impediments have passed in Arizona, Colorado and Oregon. Citizens in Charge Foundation is pressing federal court challenges to overturn the unconstitutional provisions in each of these new laws.

This legal effort also benefits our broader political strategy of raising the “cost” to legislators seeking to undermine citizen initiative rights. Citizens in Charge, our advocacy organization, will publicize the legislative sponsors of these anti-initiative measures, not only educating their constituents as to their assaults against basic democratic means, but also informing citizens as to the legal cost to taxpayers to defend these unconstitutional laws.

  • Our second priority is to challenge older restrictions according to (a) the damage they do, and (b) our likelihood of success in court.

The Foundation is now pursuing lawsuits against existing unconstitutional laws in Alaska, Nebraska, Nevada and Ohio. The cases have already been filed in Nevada (challenging the state’s single subject rule) and in Ohio (suing the arbitrary ballot title process for referendums). We are working to file suit soon in Alaska (to overturn the state’s residency requirement and a limit on per signature payments to petitioners) and in Nebraska (challenging a residency requirement and other restrictions).

Currently, unconstitutional statutes that minimize the initiative process often stay on the books for years, mostly due to the cost of litigation in federal court. Seriously pursuing a legal complaint means taking the case through the federal district court and the federal circuit court of appeals. Depending on the specifics of the case, the cost usually runs between $150,000 and $250,000.

Citizens in Charge Foundation can sue for less. We have begun to build a nationwide network of pro-initiative, First Amendment attorneys. We’ve also established relationships with a number of prominent national legal organizations, including the Institute for Justice, the Center for Competitive Politics, and the American Civil Liberties Union.  Several top-notch litigators have agreed to work on cases pro bono, thus our costs amount to only court fees and the cost of travel for witnesses. Others have agreed to cut their fees in half or more. When working with the ACLU – in Nebraska, for instance – there is no cost to us at all.

Already, Citizens in Charge Foundation has played a critical role in significant legal victories to protect the right to petition. Now is the time to press our legal advantage, both to further open up the process for citizen use and to help politically undermine future legislative attacks against initiative rights.

Past and Ongoing Litigation

Citizens in Charge Foundation has been or is currently involved in the following cases:

•    Funding of briefs in Citizens for Tax Reform v. Deters. Ohio’s ban on paying petition   circulators by the signature was struck down in 2008. The state’s appeal to the U.S.        Supreme Court was denied.
•    Amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Michigan Civil Rights institute in Operation Kings Dream v. Connerly, supporting the right of initiative proponents to intervene in initiative-related lawsuits.
•    Amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenge to California’s ballot title setting process. This brief is in the drafting process.

Citizens in Charge  has been or is currently involved in the following cases:

•    Citizens in Charge v. Miller challenges Nevada’s narrow interpretation of the single-subject requirement for initiatives. This case has been filed in federal district court in Nevada?
•    Citizens in Charge v. Brunner challenges Ohio’s arbitrary referendum title setting process. This case has been filed in federal court in Ohio.
•    Amicus curiae brief in LetOhioVote.org v. Brunner, a case calling for Ohio to abide by its constitutional requirement that new gambling allowances in the state must be put to a statewide vote.
•    Funded briefs in Mann v. Gale, where Nebraska’s Secretary of State was forced to standardize many of the procedures used to verify signatures.
•    A challenge in conjunction with the ACLU to Nebraska’s requirement that petition circulators be state residents, county-based distribution requirement, and requirement that petitions indicate whether circulators are paid or volunteer. A complaint has been drafted and will be filed before the first of the year.

Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation plan to use litigation in 2010 to:

•    Challenge Arizona’s residency requirement. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the application of the law to presidential candidate petitions, but the state still enforces it against initiative and referendum petitions.
•    Challenge Ohio’s distribution requirement for initiatives and referenda.
•    Challenge Alaska’s distribution and residency requirements, as well as the state’s $1 per signature payment limit.
•    Challenge Colorado’s newly enacted ban on paying petition circulators by the signature, registration and training requirements, and existing residency requirement.
•    File a brief in amicus curiae in support of a petition for certiorari challenging a Florida law that restricts collecting petition signatures from voters exiting polling places

Board of Directors

The current members of the Board of Directors for Citizens in Charge Foundation are:

Paul Jacob

Paul is a leading national expert on initiative & referendum and a board member of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge.

(more)

Eric O’Keefe okeefe

Eric is a private investor, and chairman and CEO of Sam Adams Alliance.

(more)

Theresa Amato

Theresa Amato is a public advocate and author who has worked for two amatodecades for and with several nonprofit organizations to advance civic rights by training citizen advocates, promoting access to information, watchdogging government and corporate power, engaging in strategic philanthropy, and influencing public policy.

(more)

Michael Foudyfoudy

Michael is a principal founder and managing member of ATB Productions, LLC, and Chairman of the Board at Stonehenge Capital Partners, Inc. and Toto Communications, Inc. He is also Chief Marketing Officer at Gramercy LLC and former founding chairman of AIMS Worldwide, Inc.

(more)

Grover G. Norquistgrover

Grover is the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).

 

(more)

William Redpath redpath

Bill was chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2006-2010, and is Vice President of a financial consulting firm.

(more)

John J. Woodcock IIIjw

John is currently Chairman of Connecticut Citizens for Ballot Initiative, CCBI, a non-partisan, issue neutral, political organization educating citizens/voters, to support ballot initiative in the State of Connecticut.

(more)

Kermitt Waters

Kermitt Waters is an attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, defending landowners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation cases in Nevada and across the United States for the last 40 years. Waters has been active in pursuing initiatives, passing an eminent domain reform amendment, and litigates to protect initiative rights.

John J. Woodcock III

Attorney – Licensed in Conn. and Mass, Adjunct Professor teaching Political Science at Central Connecticut State University.

John is currently Chairman of Connecticut Citizens for Ballot Initiative, CCBI, a non-partisan, issue neutral, political organization educating citizens/voters, to support ballot initiative in the State of Connecticut. Prior to this, John served as Vice-Chairman of the 2008 Connecticut Constitutional Conventional Campaign. Chairman Woodcock attended the Direct Democracy Briefing Tour to Switzerland as one of 12 American delegates in 2010, and was a speaker at the Global Forum on Initiative and Referendum held in San Francisco in 2010.

In the 80’s, John served as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, authoring the nations first Lemon Law, and Lemon Law II, while serving on numerous committees. He also served as a Commissioner on the Connecticut State Ethic Commission from 2000 to 2004.

On the National level Woodcock served for two (2) years as the Representative of the National Conference of State Legislatures on the Federal Trade Commission’s Reg-neg Committee, and addressed various state legislatures in this role, and has published numerous consumer protection and insurance articles in various national publications including the New York Times, Boston Globe, and The Globe and Mail.

A life-long resident of Connecticut John resides in West Hartford, Connecticut with his wife, Carla and faithful companion, Woody.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob, PresidentPaul Jacob, a leading national figure in Initiative & Referendum, is President of the Citizens In Charge Foundation.

Paul has worked on over 100 initiative and ballot access campaigns in nearly every state. An acclaimed multi-media commentator, Paul hosts an online, radio, and print opinion program, Common Sense, which reaches a growing list of over 15,000 e-mail subscribers and is aired daily by more than 150 stations in 48 states.

For more than a decade, Paul was the term limits movement’s leading voice, running U.S. Term Limits, the nation’s largest term limits group. For his work on term limits, columnist Robert Novak good-naturedly called Jacob “the most hated man in Washington.”

Currently, Paul writes a weekly column for Townhall.com, and his work has also been featured in USA Today, The New York Daily News, Roll Call, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, and The Chicago Tribune. He has appeared on Fox News, CNN’s “Inside Politics,” NBC’s “Today” show and ABC’s “Nightline.”

Paul has been named “a rising star in politics” by Campaigns & Elections magazine, received the Society for Individual Liberty’s “Phoenix Award” for “contributions to the advancement of liberty in America,” and was dubbed one of “The Best and the Rightest” by National Journal.

Paul also serves as a member of the board at the Center for Independent Thought, and has been a Senior Advisor to the Sam Adams Alliance.

Paul lives with his wife Rhonda and their three children in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob, PresidentPaul Jacob, a leading national figure in the pro initiative, referendum and recall process and is a board member of Citizens in Charge Foundation. The Foundation, and its partner organization, Citizens in Charge, are the only national organizations dedicated to protecting and expanding the initiative and referendum rights of every American without regard to partisanship or politics.

A multi-media commentator, Jacob hosts an online and print opinion program, Common Sense, which reaches a growing list of nearly 20,000 e-mail subscribers.

Paul is an activist and defender of citizen rights, having been involved in more citizen initiative campaigns than anyone in U.S. history. He has helped organize over 150 state-wide petition drives in 47 states on various issues. He has also been a party to dozens of lawsuits defending citizens’ rights to petition their government.

In 2005, Jacob assisted Oklahoma residents with a ballot initiative to cap state spending. In 2007, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmonson charged Paul and two fellow activists (The Oklahoma Three) with a felony for allegedly hiring out-of-state petitioners, even though Oklahoma leadership of the initiative had consulted with state officials and followed their advice.

Facing a possibility of 10 years in prison, and against the advice of attorneys, Paul did not remain silent. Instead, he spoke out strongly against the AG’s “politically-motivated” prosecution, rallying Oklahomans and citizens nationwide against the increasing criminalization of the political process. Paul launched a website - FreePaulJacob.com - to chronicle the case, receiving wide-spread support.

In January 2009, the charges against Paul and The Oklahoma Three were finally dropped. Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Paul Greenburg wrote, “The best way to assure freedom of expression, no matter where it may be threatened, would be to have an army of utterly determined Paul Jacobs fighting for it.” Also in 2009, Paul was awarded the “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for his commitment to citizen-led reform and his fight to uphold initiative rights in Oklahoma. The award is presented to an individual who has stood for principle even
when doing so puts them at risk physically, politically or economically.

Paul has been named “a rising star in politics” by Campaigns & Elections magazine, received the Society for Individual Liberty’s “Phoenix Award” for “contributions to the advancement of liberty in America,” and was dubbed one of “The Best and the Rightest” by National Journal.

Paul currently writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. In addition, Paul’s writing has been featured in USA Today, New York Daily News, Roll Call, The Washington Times and The Chicago Tribune. His political work has been the focus of articles in the Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes Magazine and New York Times. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and has made appearances on all the major television networks.

For more than a decade, Paul was the term limits movement’s leading voice, running U.S. Term Limits, the nation’s largest term limits group. For his work on the issue, columnist Robert Novak good-naturedly called Jacob “the most hated man in Washington.”

In the 1980s, Paul started a pro-volunteer military, anti-draft group called Volunteers for America and served jail time for refusing to register for the draft as a matter of conscience.

Paul also serves as a member of the board at the Center for Independent Thought, the advisory board of the Initiative and Referendum Institute and on the National Advisory Board of Save Our Secret Ballot.

He lives with his wife Rhonda and their three children in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Eric O’Keefe

Eric O’Keefe is a private investor, and Chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance (SAM).  He also Chairs the board of a new organization, the Health Care Compact Alliance, which is working to move regulation and funding of health care from the federal government to the states.
okeefe
The Sam Adams Alliance hosts the annual Sammies awards to recognize and celebrate extraordinary citizens and their work to advance liberty.  SAM is currently researching American leadership through the lens of iconic leaders such as Ronald Reagan.
SAM launched Judgepedia, Ballotpedia, and Sunshine Review, Wikipedia-style websites that have had more than 68 million page views for their 284,000 pages of politically relevant information. 

Eric also serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, the Center for Competitive Politics, the Citizens in Charge Foundation, and Wisconsin Club for Growth.  He authored the book Who Rules America, which won praise from Milton Friedman.

Michael Foudy

Michael Foudy is a principal founder and managing member of ATB Productions, LLC, and Chairman of the Board of Stonehenge Capital Partners, Inc. and Toto Communications, Inc. He is also Chief Marketing Officer at Gramercy LLC.foudy

Michael previously founded and served as Executive Director of For Our Grandchildren, a nonprofit organization dedicated to entitlement reform. He is also the founding Chairman of AIMS Worldwide, Inc, the former President of ATB Media, Inc., and the co-founder of WFC/Westcom, which became the largest advertising and PR firm in the Southwest. In addition to his public relations background, Michael also has extensive experience as a counselor to financial and real estate companies.

Michael has served on the board of directors of AIMS Worldwide, Inc., UCI Web Acquisitions, Inc., both of which he co-founded, and OnLineFocus, Inc.   He also was the Executive Director of the Arizona Public Service Company Shareholder’s Association, later the Pinnacle West Capital Corporation Shareholder’s Association.

Active in a variety of charitable and community organizations in Arizona, Michael served on the boards of directors for the Foundation for American Liberty and the American Initiative Committee. He currently also serves on the boards of Philadelphia II and the Canine Cancer Foundation.

The author of the book, Reinventing America, Michael is the former host of ATB’s nationally syndicated “America the Beautiful” talk radio show, as well as a former co-host of “Newsmaker” which was broadcast on 119 radio stations by the UBN.

He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, and received his J.D. from the University Of Arizona College Of Law.

Ron Nehring

Ron Nehring is a veteran conservative leader who serves as the Chairman of the California Republican Party, responsible for the direction and management of the largest state Republican Party in the nation.  The acuity and focus he brings to this role is the result of over twenty years of domestic and foreign policy and political experience serving public policy, political, non-profit, and government organizations.

ron nehring

Chris Wilson, CEO of Wilson Research Strategies, describes Ron as “a solid political strategist” and “one of the best state chairmen I have ever worked with.”  Longtime Republican commentator Bill Saracino describes Ron has having “exactly the right mix of head-headed realism and an understanding of the importance of ideas and idealism in politics.”  The Daily Caller’s Caroline May describes Ron’s leadership style as “behind much of his party’s enthusiasm” in the Golden State.

Under his leadership, the California Republican Party raised over $73 million, permanently retired over $4 million in debt, and instituted a wide array of management and financial reforms.

As leader of a key state Republican Party, Ron’s insight is frequently sought by national and international media, such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, MS-NBC, C-SPAN, and the BBC, among others.

As Chairman of the Republican National Committee’s State Chairmen’s Committee, Ron transformed the committee into an important force for the sharing of ideas and best practices among the nation’s state Republican leaders.

Prior to his election to positions of leadership in the California Republican Party, Ron served as Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County (2001 - 2007), one of America’s largest counties with a population exceeding more than a dozen states.  During his chairmanship, fundraising increased more than twenty-fold, support for local candidates surged, and the party pioneered the largest ongoing Republican voter turnout program in California.  He inherited a committee long in debt, and through a combination of strong fundraising and solid financial management, left it with large cash reserves and no debt.

Ron applied his policy expertise and experience as a victim of the 2003 Cedar Fire, the most destructive wildfire in the history of the United States, as a member of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (2005 – 2006), a post to which he was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He is a strong advocate for charter schools, school choice, and providing parents with options and alternatives in education.  As a member of the Grossmont Union High School District Board of Trustees (2004 – 2006), Ron proposed a bold plan for transforming all of the district’s 11 high schools into charter schools managed by boards elected by parents of the children attending each school.

To support the cause of advancing democracy around the world, Ron has taught communications, governance, and management to leaders in Iraq, Bosnia, Serbia, the West Bank, Haiti, Egypt, Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom.

 

Ron is also a former gubernatorial appointee to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection where he brought his experiences from the 2003 Cedar Fire which destroyed over 2,000 homes in San Diego County and drew national attention.

A former trustee for the Grossmont Union High School District, Ron was elected Vice Chairman of the California Republican Party before assuming his current position as Chairman. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in political science. He currently resides in Crest, California.

Theresa Amato

Theresa Amato is a public advocate and author who has worked for two decades for and with several nonprofit organizations to advance civic rights by training citizen advocates, promoting access to information, watchdogging government and corporate power, engaging in strategic philanthropy, and influencing public policy.theresa amato

In 1993, Amato founded the Illinois-based Citizen Advocacy Center to build democracy and served as the executive director for its first eight years. She currently serves as executive director of Citizen Works to educated about and reform excessive corporate power and as the director of the Fair Contracts project to reform the unfair fine print in standard form contracts.

In both 2000 and 2004, Amato was the national presidential campaign manager and in-house counsel for Ralph Nader, producing the highest vote count in the United States for a third-party progressive candidate in the last 85 years, and shepherding myriad election reform efforts and litigation to open up the political system to competition—many of which she discusses in her 2009 book, Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny, (The New Press, NY). As a manager of Amato & Main, LLC, Amato provides consulting advice for independent, third-party and progressive campaigns and nonprofit organizations.

Amato is the recipient of several public interest honors and awards and has appeared in most major national and international media outlets.  She was graduated with honors from Harvard in 1986 with a degree in Government and Economics, and from the New York University School of Law in 1989. After a federal judicial clerkship in the Southern District of New York, Amato was the youngest staff attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, where she was the director of the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse in Washington D.C. Amato lives in Oak Park, IL with her spouse Todd Main and their two daughters.

Grover Norquist

Grover G. Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals and businesses that opposes higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels. ATR is perhaps best known for the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose tax increases.grover

A native of Massachusetts, Grover also serves on the boards of the National Rifle Association of America and the American Conservative Union. He has authored the book, Leave Us Alone – Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives, and he serves as a Contributing Editor to the American Spectator Magazine and as president of the American Society of Competitiveness.

Grover also has served in the past on the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service, and as an economist and chief speech-writer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (1983-1984). Having worked on numerous political campaigns, Grover also has served as the executive director of the National Taxpayers’ Union and the College Republicans.

One of Washington’s most effective issues management strategists, Grover holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, both from Harvard University. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Samah and his daughter, Grace.

William Redpath

William Redpath is the current treasurer and immediate past chairman of the Libertarian Party, as well as the Vice President of a financial consulting firm.

Bill has been a member of the Libertarian Party since 1984, and served as Libertarian Party of Virginia chairman from 1989–1991. He served twice as national treasurer of the Libertarian Party, first from 1991–1993 and then from 2003–2004.redpath

Known for his extensive experience with ballot access and the initiative process, Bill’s tenure as chairman of the LP’s Ballot Access Committee, saw the LP achieve ballot access in all 50 states in both the 1992 and 1996 elections.

Bill also has been a candidate for public office, running twice for the Virginia state legislature in the 1990s, for Governor of Virginia in 2001, U.S. Senate from Virginia in 2008, and U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s Tenth District in 2010.

Bill currently serves as Treasurer for FairVote in Takoma Park, MD and is on the Advisory Committee of Virginians for Instant Runoff Voting. Mr. Redpath has been on the board of Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation since its inception.

Originally from Findlay, Ohio, Redpath is an alumnus of Indiana University, with an MBA from the University of Chicago. He currently resides in Leesburg, VA.

John Lilburne Award

John LiburneThe John Lilburne Award is given monthly by Citizens in Charge Foundation to recognize a person or persons working to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans to petition their government. The award is named for John Lilburne, the 17th Century English pamphleteer, political activist, and champion of individual rights, who advocated constitutional government and pioneered the use of petitioning and referenda for redress against government power and abuse.

Lilburne Award Winners

October 2011 - ACLU of Michigan

The ACLU of Michigan is being honored with the October award for filing suit to protect the petition rights of Michigan citizens.

Read more about the ACLU of Michigan

September 2011 - Institute for Justice

The Institute for Justice is honored with the September Lilburne award for filing a lawsuit to protect citizen recall rights in the state of Washington.

Read more about the Institute for Justice

August 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown

Governor Brown is honored with the August Lilburne award for vetoing a Senate bill that would have restricted the state’s initiative process.

Read more about Gov. Brown

July 2011 - State Senator Joseph Robach

Senator Robach is honored with the July Lilburne award for sponsoring legislation this year that would create a citizen initiative & referendum process in the state.

Read more about Senator Robach

June 2011 - Janine Hansen

Janine is honored with the June 2011 John Lilburne Award for her outstanding dedication to protecting Nevada’s citizen initiative rights from legislation that would have severely restricted those rights.

Read more about Janine Hansen

May 2011 - Thad Tecza

Thad is a senior instructor emeritus in political science at the University of Colorado, and is being honored with the May 2011 John Lilburne Award for his efforts during this year’s legislative session to protect Colorado’s initiative process.

Read more about Thad Tecza

April 2011 - Kent Bernbeck

Kent is a veteran of the citizen initiative process, having worked on numerous initiative campaigns over the years helping citizens utilize their petition rights. He recently filed a case against the state of Nebraska in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of restrictions placed on the initiative process by the legislature.

Read more about Kent Bernbeck

March 2011 - State Senators Don Benton and Pam Roach

Senators Benton and Roach are being honored with this month’s Lilburne Award for their outstanding work in successfully defeating SB 5297, a bill that would have severely restricted Washington’s initiative process.

Read more about the senators

February 2011 - Tracy and Linda Strickland

Attorneys Tracy and Linda Strickland of Boulder City, Nevada, are being honored with the February 2011 John Lilburne Award. The Stricklands are representing a group of Boulder City citizens who, in pursuing several local initiative measures, have been repeatedly sued by the city.

Read more about the Stricklands

January 2011 - Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon, state coordinator of Voters-In-Charge, is honored with the January 2011 John Lilburne Award for his work to reform the South Carolina’s local initiative law and to establish a statewide initiative process.

Read more about Jim Gordon

December 2010 - Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is being honored with the December 2010 John Lilburne Award in recognition of his outspoken advocacy during the recent election campaign for establishing a statewide citizen initiative and referendum process in Kansas.

Read more about Kris Kobach

November 2010 - Lynne Weaver

Lynne is being honored this month for her work opposing Arizona Proposition 112, a legislatively referred ballot measure that would have reduced the petition period in Arizona.

Read more about Lynne Weaver

October 2010 - John Woodcock III

John is being honored this month for his ongoing efforts to bring statewide initiative and referendum rights to the citizens of Connecticut. His group Connecticut Citizens for Ballot Initiative educates voters by putting candidates’ positions on initiative rights on the record.

Read more about John Woodcock III

September 2010 - Steve Six

Steve is honored this month for agreeing with, rather than fighting, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Kansas’ residency requirement for petition circulators, which resulted in U.S. District Judge Sam Crow permanently enjoining enforcement of the statute as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment rights of citizens.

Read more about Steve Six

August 2010 - Darcy Goddard

Darcy Goddard is honored this month for her work on a groundbreaking e-signature case in which the Utah Supreme Court ruled in June that the state must accept electronic signatures on an independent candidate’s petition.

Read more about Darcy Goddard

July 2010 - Dale Doerhoff and Heidi Doerhoff Vollet

Both Dale and Heidi are being honored this month for their exceptional advocacy in support of the First Amendment and citizen initiative rights in Missouri.

Read more about Dale and Heidi

June 2010 - Mary Adams

Maine Citizen State Coordinator Mary Adams is being honored this month for her work over the decades in not only utilizing, but defending and expanding the initiative & referendum process in the state of Maine.

Read more about Mary Adams

May 2010 - Elena Nunez

Common Cause’s Elena Nunez is being awarded for her work in spearheading opposition to Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 (SCR 3), a constitutional amendment designed to make it more difficult for the citizens of Colorado to amend their constitution through a voter initiative.

Read more about Elena Nunez

April 2010 - Missouri Senator Jim Lembke

Senator Lembke is being honored with the April 2010 John Lilburne Award for sponsoring Senate Bill 818 and for all his work to make Missouri’s initiative process more open and accessible to the people.

Read more about Missouri Senator Jim Lembke

March 2010 - State Representative Neil Hansen

Representative Hansen is being recognized with the March award for working to keep equality in Utah’s initiative process by voting against a pending bill in the Utah Legislature.

Read more about State Representative Neil Hansen

February 2010 - Concerned Citizens Council

The group is being recognized for standing up for the petition rights of all citizens by filing suit against the city council for violating the state open meetings law in an attempt to block the Concerned Citizens Council’s petition.

Read more about the Concerned Citizens Council

January 2010 - The Citizen Power Campaign

The Citizen Power Campaign is being honored with the January 2010 Lilburne Award for making the initiative process open & accessible to citizens by utilizing new technology in their signature gathering campaign.

Read more about The Citizen Power Campaign

December 2009 - Howard County Citizens for Open Government

Howard County Citizens for Open Government are being honored with the December 2009 Lilburne Award for working to defend their right to petition their government over a land-use issue in Howard County, Maryland.

Read more about Howard County Citizens for Open Government

November 2009 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor Schwarzenegger is being honored with the November 2009 Lilburne Award for vetoing four bills from the California Assembly and Senate during the 2009 session that would have restricted the initiative process in the state.

Read more about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

October 2009 - Healthy Democracy Oregon

Healthy Democracy Oregon was founded in 2007 to promote a more open and accessible initiative and referendum process in the state of Oregon.  Founders Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford created the Citizens’ Initiative Review which allows citizens to hear opponents and proponents of a given ballot initiative, and then create a “Citizen Statement” to be distributed to the voters.  This new concept will add more voices and citizen input into the initiative and referendum process.

Read more about Healthy Democracy Oregon

September 2009 - David Schlegel

David Schlegel, a resident of Auburn, NY, is being recognized this month for his efforts to bring the initiative and referendum process to New York state. Having written his state legislators to learn their position on the issue, David also wrote multiple articles urging his fellow citizens to lobby their representatives for these vital rights.

Read more about David Schlegel

August 2009 - John Fund

John Fund is being recognized this month for his continued support and defense of the initiative and referendum process.  He recently spoke at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting where he underscored the value of the process.  He also recently published an article in the Wall Street Journal defending California’s initiative process from increasing attacks.

Read more about John Fund

July 2009 - Senator Vicki Walker

Oregon State Senator Vicki Walker being recognized as the only Senate Democrat to defend Oregon voters in an attempt to stop legislation that criminalizes activists expressing their freedom of speech via the ballot initiative process.

Read more about Senator Vicki Walker

June 2009 - Senator Terry Care

Nevada State Senator Terry Care is being recognized for standing up for the
rights of Nevada voters. His courageous lone vote against an oppressive
state Senate bill aimed at stifling the ballot initiative process demonstrates
his strong commitm

Read More About Senator Terry Care

May 2009 - Brad Ashwell

Brad Ashwell Legislative Advocate for the Florida Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), has been named as the May 2009 recipient of the John Lilburne Award. He is being honored for his work in defeating anti-initiative legislation and defending the rights of Florida voters.

Read More About Brad Ashwell

April 2009 - Linda Curtis

Linda Curtis, Executive Director and Founder of Independent Texans, has been honored as the April 2009 recipient of the John Lilburne Award for her work to expand and protect the rights of Texas citizens to petition their government and voice their opinions. Texas currently is one of 26 states that does not have a statewide initiative and referendum (I&R) process. I&R does exist at the local level in Texas.

Read More About Linda Curtis

March 2009 - Senator Randy Brogdon & Representative Randy Terrill

Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdon and Oklahoma State Representative Randy Terrill have been named the March 2009 recipients of the John Lilburne Award by Citizens in Charge Foudnaiton. Both Oklahoma legislators are being recognized for their legislative efforts to facilitate citizen use of the state initiative and referendum process. Currently Oklahoma has some of the most restrictive initiative and referendum laws in the nation.

Read More About Senator Randy Brogdon & Representative Randy Terrill

February 2009- Delegate Harvey B. Morgan

Citizens in Charge Foundation has named Virginia Delegate Harvey B. Morgan as the February “Lilburne Award” winner. Morgan is honored for his work to preserve the rights of Virginia citizens to petition their government and voice their opinions, unafraid of repercussions.

Read More About Delegate Harvey B. Morgan

January 2009- Paul Weyrich

Paul Weyrich received the Lilburne award posthumously for his lifelong commitment to the initiative and referendum process. Weyrich was a major proponent of the ballot initiative and referendum process and prominent leader of the conservative movement. He died in December 2008. Weyrich believed in the use of ballot initiatives and referenda as mechanisms of popular democracy that help in cutting corruption in politics…

Read More About Paul Weyrich

December 2008- Robert Corry

Corry is honored for his work to defeat Colorado Referendum O, a measure placed on the ballot by the Colorado general assembly which would have effectively gutted Colorado’s initiative process increasing the number of signatures required to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, required signatures meet a geographical distribution, and reduced the time period that initiative proponents have to circulate petitions …

Read More About Robert Cory

November 2008- Eric Ehst

Ehst is honored for his work to defeat Proposition 105, which would have severely hampered Arizona’s initiative process by requiring a virtually impossible majority of all registered voters, not just those actually voting, to pass any initiative that would raise a tax or fee or that mandated any spending at all. Voters clobbered Proposition 105 on November 4 by a margin of 66 to 34 percent …

Read More About Eric Ehst