Two presidential campaign advisers will headline March 2019 MPLP events


Two leading political strategists who have advised presidential campaigns will head to Michigan State University’s Michigan Political Leadership Program, or MPLP, in 2019.

GOP media consultant Alex Castellanos and Democratic political organizer Patti Solis Doyle will headline MPLP’s 24th annual fundraising dinner in suburban Detroit and its 17th annual fundraising breakfast in downtown Grand Rapids.

The events, taking place March 7 and March 8, are open to the public and serve as a graduation for the MPLP’s 24 Fellows and homecoming for the 600-plus alumni.

“Alex Castellanos and Patti Solis Doyle are thoughtful and insightful insiders,” said Arnold Weinfeld, interim director of MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. “We are excited to have speakers with experience at the center of national campaigns, especially as Michigan elects a new governor and the nation looks to the 2020 national elections,” he said.

Castellanos served as communications consultant to seven U.S. presidential campaigns, including both Bush presidents. He is co-founder of Purple Strategies, a strategy firm advising brands and politics, as well as an ABC News contributor.

Solis Doyle was the first Hispanic woman campaign manager for a presidential candidate, leading former Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the nation’s highest-elected office. She is a CNN political commentator and president of Solis Strategies, a communications firm serving non-profits, non-government organizations and corporations.

MPLP is a bipartisan program, seeking 12 Democrats and 12 Republican Fellows each year. Fellows represent equal numbers of men and women and come from demographically diverse sections of the state and its citizens.

MPLP offers 10 months of training in personal leadership, policy analysis and good governance. Fellows meet for weekend sessions once each month, touring communities and organizations, debating policy issues and learning leadership skills in a bipartisan environment.

MPLP alumni put their skills to work in offices across the state, ranging from tribal leader to the state House of Representatives and Michigan Senate. The program is led by former state House Majority Leader Steve Tobocman and former state Republican Chair Susy Avery.

“We are seeking MPLP Fellows who are truly dedicated to public service, who want to create excellence in their communities and their organizations and who are open to new and challenging experiences,” Tobocman said. “Our MPLP Fellows come from Michigan’s largest communities to its smallest and include teachers, military service men and women, students, legislative aides and people from all occupations.”

The MPLP Dinner includes graduation ceremonies for the MPLP Fellows in the Class of 2018.

“MPLP’s events attract a who’s who in Michigan politics and are a nonstop networking opportunity for those who are interested in policy, politics and potential leadership opportunities,” Tobocman said.


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