Rural Retreat 2017, #RR17, is going to be a fun, informative, and energizing weekend in Roanoke March 31-April 1, 2.

REGISTRATION   |   WORKSHOPS   |   SCHEDULE   |  AWARDS   |   FAQs


Roanoke, VA

SPECIAL GUESTS

  • Sen. Tim Kaine
  • DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker
  • Secretary Alison Lundergan Grimes
  • Lt. Governor Ralph Northam
  • Hon. Tom Perriello
  • Hon. Richard ‘Dickie’ Cranwell 
  • Sen. John Edwards
  • Del. Sam Rasoul
  • AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays
  • Executive Director VA House Democratic Caucus Trent Armitage

DETAILS BELOW: tickets, workshop schedule, hotel, and more. This is a comprehensive, multi- state training event designed for Democrats in rural, urban or in any other setting. Join grassroots volunteers, local and district Chairs, representatives and leaders from DPVA (Democratic Party of Virginia) and DNC (Democratic National Committee), and more. This will be one of the best party development and campaign organization workshops in the country for this election cycle, featuring some of the best trainers in the business of electing Democrats.

  • you can select from 12 workshops covering a broad range of topics important to electing Democrats in rural Virginia (see below)
  • meals included – Friday night – (light snack only); Saturday: breakfast – lunch; Sunday: awards breakfast
  • opportunities to talk and share ideas with fellow Democrats supporting the Rural Caucus from all across the Commonwealth
  • all in Roanoke, VA – Star City of the South and the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge

RR17 sponsored in part by …

#RR17

share with your friends

RR17

VA AFL-CIO VA AFL-CIO 

RR17 Luncheon – Jen Little on behalf of  Nexus Services

STACY SNYDER

Tom Greeson, Bob Haley on behalf of the VADSBC

Tom Perriello


Registration

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  1. REGISTER get your ticket for RR17
  2. SELECT your workshop choices
  3. RESERVE your hotel room

RuralVaDems

 

Tickets are $99/person, click here, includes workshop materials, meals *.

* see below in FAQs for meal information, ticket price same with or without meals

Once you purchase your ticket you can choose your workshops from among the 12 offered during the day in any of the four sessions (see workshop descriptions below).
Reserve your hotel room now, special room block rate for RR17 until March 20th, click here (once you select your dates the group code, DPV, will be apparent).

Holiday Inn Roanoke – Valley View (3315 Ordway Dr, Roanoke, VA 24017; (540) 362-4500)


 

Holiday Inn Roanoke – Valley View (3315 Ordway Drive, Roanoke, VA 24017) is located just a couple of miles off Interstate 81. For directions, click here.


Workshops

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teamwork9:00 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm. The link to select workshop choices immediately follows ticket purchase.

9:00 am

Keeping Up with VA Election Law


Hon. Secretary Rodrigues tells it like it is about: Photo ID and Voter Registration.

Nancy RodriguesNancy Rodrigues serves as the Secretary of Administration for Governor Terry McAuliffe, where she has oversight of four state agencies: The Department of General Services, Department of Human Resource Management, The Department of Elections and the State Compensation Board. She served as the Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections from 2007 to 2011, following nearly a decade as the founding executive director of DRIVE SMART Virginia.
Winning Elections Through the Science of Trust


If politics is about relationships, and relationships are built on trust, then everything we do in politics should be about building trust. Learn the science behind winning with this different paradigm.

Sam Rasoul, represents the Eleventh House District. Raised in a working class family, Sam lives in Virginia with his wife Layaly and their three beautiful children. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Roanoke College and an MBA in International Business from Hawaii Pacific University, he became a small business owner and later the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit healthcare firm. Sam channeled his passion for healthcare reform into finding more compassionate ways to care for our seniors and helping with maternal and child health in East Africa. He has won The Roanoker magazine’s Platinum Award for “Government Person Who Gets It” for the past three years.

Sam currently has his own small business facilitating strategic planning, empowering leadership through executive coaching, and transforming organizations so to embrace disruption in the marketplace.”

Six Failsafe Steps to Creating Your Message and Stump Speech


Renowned political communication consultant Jennie Blackton delivers a highly participatory workshop in creating a persuasive message for fundraising, door-knocking and any group of people.

Jennie Blackton is a longtime communications and media consultant who has done her training all over the world. Formerly training director of Progressive Majority, and on – retainer with the Association of State Democratic Chairs, she came to politics from her background appearing on her own talk shows in NYC and Los Angeles, and screenwriting and producing.

10:30 am

Field and Targeting


Veteran strategist Joe Lestingi no holds barred on ‘A New Approach to an Old Tactic’.

Joe LestingiJoe Lestingi, Senior Political Strategist and Partner at The Chadderdon Group. Joe brings his campaign management background to all his clients, helping them build their campaign’s foundation from budgets to communications and research to field operations. He has also lectured on campaign budget, paid communications and opposition research.

 

Reconnecting to Our Roots


Farmer, consultant, author, and former candidate for Congress, Anthony Flaccavento shares ideas to rekindle the Democratic Party among working folks, young people, and rural communities, ‘Developing a Rural Progressive Platform to Rebuild and Reform the Democratic Party‘.

Anthony Flaccavento is an economic development consultant and organic farmer from Abingdon, in the heart of Appalachia, and is the author of Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real World Experience for Transformative Change (University Press of Kentucky, 2016). His consulting business, SCALE, Inc, works with communities around the world to help build more locally-rooted, sustainable economies and healthier food systems. Anthony was the founder of Appalachian Sustainable Development and a number of other ‘social enterprises’ in affordable housing, food and farming and forest and wood products. He writes and speaks regularly about the economy, sustainability, rural development, and politics. His You Tube channel, “Take Five with Tony”, covers many of these same topics in down-to- earth, five-minute segments.

Anthony was the Democratic candidate for US Congress in Virginia’s 9th District in 2012. He continues to work on more progressive political and economic strategies, in the 9th and across the nation, including two more recent initiatives: Progressive Rural/red Economics, and Progressive 9th . Anthony has a BS degree in agriculture and environmental science and a Master’s degree in Economics and Rural Development. He is married to Laurel Flaccavento, a retired public school teacher, and has three terrific grown kids.

  • ‘Bottom up economy’ website, home to his You Tube segments, blog posts, and a range of articles and information, click here.
  • Article in The Nation, ‘Progressives Need to Stop Ignoring Rural Communities‘, click here.
  • Article in Yes! Magazine, ‘3 Ways Progressives Can Reconnect with Rural America’, click here.
  • Article in Progressive Wing, ‘Facebook Versus Face-to-Face as Share Realities Have Disappeared So Have Our Share Truths’, click here.
Awareness to Health Care in Rural Areas 


How to improve awareness of physical, dental, optometric, and mental health care access available to improve the lives of rural Virginians through Remote Area Medical and the Virginia behavioral health care services.

Dan Sullivan grew up in Oklahoma and Arkansas, graduated from the University of Richmond with a BA in Economics and is a retired Marine Corps officer. He cut his teeth in politics during the 1976 New Hampshire primary supporting Senator Fred Harris. Returning to Virginia after a variety of military assignments that took him to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, he reentered politics again to support Jim Webb against George Allen and it stuck. Currently working as a Health Care Navigator, he is a member of the Virginia Remote Area Medical core group, the Valley Community Services Board, and volunteers with the VITA program.

2:00 pm

Grassroots Democratic Veteran Activism


Veterans deserve a voice, a Democratic voice. Learn how you, your committee, and your organization can be a strong advocate for veterans and military family issues. Like faith issues and blue collar issues, the GOP never really stands up for people like Democrats. It’s time to bring folks back into the Party that actually cares about and represents them.

Terron Sims, II is the Senior Partner and founder of Doug Pollard, LLC. He is on the Board of Principals of the Truman National Security Project and was on Secretary Clinton’s (HFA) National Security Policy Team, serving on the Veterans and Military Families (VMF) Policy Working Group. In 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Terron to serve on the Virginia Military Advisory Council.

Terron is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. While deployed in Iraq (May 2003 – July 2004), Terron established and mentored the government of Baghdad’s Tisa Nissan District, where he served as the primary liaison to the CPA, the UN, Baghdad City Hall, and Iraq’s federal government. Additionally, he was the Wasit Province’s primary military liaison officer. Terron’s final Army assignment was supervising and designing a $29 Million dollar real-world fighting village for the Joint Readiness Training Center.

As a civilian, Terron has worked for Army G3/5/7 Current Operations Center- tasking MACOMs to support MNC-I, MNF-I, SOCCENT operations for its HQ, Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and SW Asia, GTMO, JTFB, JTF-HOA, and various OCONUS and CONUS operations. Terron also worked for the Army ACSIM (Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management), where he developed and managed the system that streamlines the Army’s instillation requirements budget validation process, and led the team that developed DoD’s Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID).

In 2008 and 2012, Terron was Director, Virginia VMF for Obama and served on the Defense and Veterans Policy Teams, where he wrote the Service Member Life Insurance policy. Terron was an official surrogate on national security and veteran and military family issues. At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Terron was featured in Steven Spielberg’s veterans’ tribute video, and again in 2012.

In 2010, Terron wrote the Democratic National Committee’s VMF candidates’ platform, which is used in federal campaigns nationwide. In 2013, Terron crafted the UK Labour Party’s national security and VMF policy platforms.

Terron is president of the Northern Virginia Black Democrats, Chairs the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Veterans and Military Families Caucus, is on Virginia’s 8th Congressional District steering committee, and is the Vice Chair for Recruitment for the DNC’s Veterans and Military Families Council.

Terron was instrumental in Sen Tim Kaine, Gov Terry McAuliffe, and Congressman Don Beyer’s campaigns, where he assisted in standing up their VMF apparatus, served as an official surrogate, edited policy (VMF; National Security; Energy), organized events, and raised funds. Upon Gov McAuliffe’s victory, he appointed Terron as the co-Director of the Veteran Services policy Transition Team.

Terron has published two novels, With Honor In Hand and Hands of Honor, and has written his third novel, For Hands to Honor, along with his Iraq memoirs, Baghdad Peace. He also writes articles surrounding veterans and military family issues, national security, and defense.

Terron regularly tutors and mentors young people in Arlington and is an education and community activist throughout northern Virginia.

Building a Campaign Plan: The Blueprint for Every Winning Campaign


Natasha Smith with National Democratic Training Committee: you don’t hire a contractor to build your house without blueprints, so you shouldn’t start a campaign without a solid plan. Training teaches how to build a solid plan for a winning campaign.

Natasha Smith is the User Experience and Communications Manager of the NDTC by day, and a West Coast Swing dancer by night. She volunteered for her first campaign at the advanced age of 10. Since then, she’s been a member of numerous campaigns around North Carolina. She was also the Deputy Digital Editor for Blue Nation Review and an email strategist at OFA. Find her on Twitter: @tashsparkles
A Plan for the VAN


Projects and training in VoteBuilder (aka VAN) for local committee growth.

NOTE: 1) VoteBuilder account needed (active, recently accessed), 2) WiFi laptop/tablet recommended, but not required. Need a VoteBuilder account/assistance, click here.

VoteBuilder, one of the most valuable services offered by the Democratic Party of Virginia, is the online database which holds the voter file (all of the registered voters in Virginia). In other words, this database contains the names and other important information about registered voters – information that we can use to target likely voters for Democratic campaigns.

Using VoteBuilder is an essential part of any winning campaign. It is an important resource tool because of its ability to target and locate specific voters.


  • Mike HudsonMike Hudson, long time Democratic activist, Rural Caucus Technology officer. Mike has taught VoteBuilder to committees across SW VA, and is in charge of Technology for the 9th CD Democratic Committee, and formerly for the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. Mike is a Navy veteran from Desert Storm/Desert Shield.
  • Shyam RamanShyam Raman, pronounced like Shawn but with an “m”, (DPVA Deputy Data Director), joined DPVA in June 2015 after graduating from the University of Nebraska. He began his political career as an intern on a Senate campaign in Iowa. In the fall of 2014, Shyam was a Field Organizer for the Iowa Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Des Moines. Following the election, he returned to Nebraska to finish his last semester and intern for the Nebraska Democratic Party. Shyam is a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan and enjoys watching soccer and playing golf.

3:30 pm

Stand Indivisible: How the Indivisible Guide is Helping Local Communities Organize and Resist the Trump Agenda


Indivisible Roanoke leader Wallace-Fuentes discusses how to #StandIndivisible to protect our neighbors and communities from the Republicans extreme agenda.

With the surprising election of Donald Trump, the Republicans who now control both Congressional chambers and the White House are wasting no time in using this once-in-a-generation chance to eviscerate programs that, since the New Deal, have helped make our communities stronger.

What are despondent and whiplashed progressives to do? Is there a role for a resistance in deeply conservative parts of our Commonwealth, like the Southwest and rural areas? In this workshop, leaders from Roanoke Indivisible will introduce the principal tenets of the Indivisible Guide, a concrete, 25-page guide that spells out the proven principles of effective constituent advocacy – what works and what doesn’t for citizens who wish to advocate for issues they hold dear when dealing with their Members of Congress. Rep. Bob Goodlatte won Virginia’s Sixth Congressional district handily; and yet, even in this conservative landscape, Roanoke Indivisible has grown exponentially and is forcefully resisting Goodlatte’s extreme right-wing legislative agenda. Come learn how to #StandIndivisible with us to protect our neighbors and communities from the Republicans extreme agenda.


Dr. Ivonne Wallace-Fuentes, leader of Indivisible Roanoke, is a Latin American historian and associate professor of history at Roanoke College. She is organizing Roanoke Indivisible in southwestern Virginia. Her book, Most Scandalous Woman: Magda Portal and the Dream of Revolution in Peru, will be released by Oklahoma University Press later this year.

Thinking of Running for Office?


Julie is the Executive Director of Emerge Virginia: thinking of running and not sure where to start? Assess your passion, your network and learn how to find the right seat and get prepared to run.

Julie Copeland is the Executive Director of Emerge Virginia; in just three years Emerge Virginia has trained 75 women to run for office, 13 currently serve in office and in 2017 47 more women will have been trained. Currently 24 alumnae are on the ballot in 2017.

Julie has worked in Virginia politics for more than 25 years. Before launching an opposition research business, she played major roles in seven statewide campaigns in Virginia, including directing the 1996 Coordinated Campaign for Clinton/Gore and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Warner. She was Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer for four years, and played critical roles on his 1989, 1993 and 1997 statewide campaigns. Julie served as the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Director for five years, and worked for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds assisting with policy and research. At Emerge Virginia, she has found her passion – supporting Democratic women as they prepare to run for office. She is the proud mom of two daughters, Emma and Sophie.

Social Media for Candidates and Campaigns 


Easily create custom graphics for all social media platforms. Make the most of your grassroots efforts and outreach utilizing social media.

NOTE: WiFi tablet/laptop helpful, but not required.

Jen Little: Marketing Ace. Social Media Guru. Public Relations Expert.

She was hip to social media before it was cool. Her recognizing and understanding social media trends has allowed Jen to help many businesses and Democratic candidates over the years.

This is a must-attend session at Rural Retreat 2017! More and more people are spending time on social media, and it is a great tool to keep your committee and those who don’t like meetings engaged.

Jen has been an active member of the Democratic Party of Virginia for many years and has served in various leadership positions over the years. She was Secretary, Vice Chair and Chairman of the Mathews County Democrats. Jen was the Secretary of the DPVA Association of Democratic Chairs. She served on the First Congressional District Committee for 12 years, resigning due to a recent move to the Sixth Congressional District. She was recognized in 2005 as the Grassroots Democrat for the First Congressional District, and in 2008, while Jen was Chairman, the Mathews County Democratic Committee was awarded a Committee of the Year award from the DPVA.

Professionally, Jen Little is the Director of Public Relations for Nexus Services, Inc., a nationwide company based in Verona, Virginia where she heads up the company’s public relations, marketing, and social media campaigns. She has worked with and served the business communities of Southeastern Virginia, as well as she has held marketing positions with several Hampton Roads construction firms. Jen started her marketing and public relations firm, The Little Marketing Department, in 2011 to help small businesses with their marketing, business development, public relations and social media campaigns.

In August of 2016, Jen was appointed to the Virginia Board of Psychology by Governor Terry McAuliffe. From 2008-2012 Jen served on the board of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services after appointment by then-governor Tim Kaine and confirmation by the Virginia General Assembly. In December, she resigned from her third term, her ninth year as a member of the Mathews County School Board, as she moved out to the Shenandoah Valley. During her tenure on the Mathews County School Board Jen worked tirelessly to ensure all children in her community had access to a quality education – including the recession years. In 2010 Inside Business named her one of the Top 40 Under Forty and she received a Women in Business Achievement Award for Hampton Roads in 2006.


Schedule

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FRIDAY

  • 5:00-7:00 PM Pre-Registration
  • 7:30 PM Hospitality Gathering

 
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SATURDAY

  • 7:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
  • 7:30-8:30 AM Registration
  • 8:40-8:55 AM Opening Remarks: Del. Sam Rasoul
  • 9:00-10:20 AM Workshops 1A,B,C
  • 10:30 AM -11:50 Workshops 2A,B,C
  • 12:15-1:30 PM Luncheon with Special Guest Speakers: Sen. Tim Kaine, DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker, Sen. John Edwards, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Executive Director VA House Democratic Caucus Trent Armitage
  • 2:00-3:20 PM Workshops 3A,B,C
  • 3:30-4:50 PM Workshops 4A,B,C
  • 6:00-8:00 PM RR17 Reception: AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays, Secretary Alison Lundergan Grimes

SUNDAY

  • 9:00-10:30 AM RR17 Awards Breakfast with Special Guest Speakers: Hon. Richard “Dickie” Cranwell, Hon. Tom Perriello, AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays (video from Attorney General Mark Herring)

 


Awards

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The Rural Caucus is pleased to announce the presentation of our awards for the second year at the Sunday morning Rural Retreat Awards Breakfast, recipients voted on by the leadership board of the Rural Caucus. Each award acknowledges people for their achievements and involvement advancing the election and causes of rural Democrats in the Commonwealth and named in appreciation for three prominent individuals whose deeds embody those efforts.

Awards Breakfast Only Option

For those who cannot attend the entire Rural Retreat, but would like to attend the Awards Breakfast that is definitely an option. The breakfast begins promptly at 9:00 am Sunday, April 2. Tickets, $25/person, may be purchased online, click here.

turpin-jim2JAMES S. TURPIN AWARD

  • Presented to a person recognized for notably advancing the causes of rural Virginia Democrats. [1st year recipient: Gene Magruder]
    • Jim’s held various political offices over the past 25 years, including Chair of Arlington County Democratic Committee, Vice Chair for Finance Democratic Party of Virginia in which capacity he lobbied for the establishment of a rural caucus that has finally come to fruition. Jim is co-founder and General Manager of Democracy Vineyards in Lovingston, VA. He serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Virginia Wine Council as well as Vice President of the Virginia Wineries Association. In addition, he serves on the Board of the Virginia Agribusiness Council as well as the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce.

tieleman-henryHENRY W. TIELEMAN AWARD

  • Presented to a person recognized for their outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of rural Virginia Democrats. [1st year recipient: Maggie Sacra]
    • A resident of Riner, former Vice Chairman of the 9th Congressional District Democratic Committee, founder of Democracy Prevails PAC. Henry worked to get his citizenship and immediately ran for public office. He’s remained very active in Democratic politics ever since that time. He has two grown children, 4 grandchildren, and has been married to Fran for more than 50 years. He worked at Virginia Tech for 28 years and is a Professor Emeritus in Engineering (fluid mechanics, boundary layer meteorology, wind engineering, bluff body aerodynamics – known and highly respected throughout the United States in estimated peak wind loads and wind shearing). Most of all: Henry worked tirelessly to further rural interest, and elect Democrats.

holton-anneANNE BRIGHT HOLTON AWARD

  • Presented to a person recognized for their appreciation of diversity and the value to democracy involving all people in the process of government. [1st year recipient: Dr. William Ferguson ‘Fergie’ Reid]
    • A native of Roanoke, and former Virginia Secretary of Education, Ann is also the wife of United States Senator and former Governor Tim Kaine and served as First Lady of Virginia from 2006 to 2010. Her father, Linwood Holton (from Big Stone Gap in southwest Virginia) was governor of Virginia from 1970–1974, and the first Republican to hold the office since Reconstruction (1865–1877), narrowly winning that race for governor in 1969 with a coalition that included a substantial number of African American and white working-class voters. As governor, he declared an end to Massive Resistance. In response to a federal court decision desegregating Richmond Public Schools, she and her siblings attended predominantly black schools near the Virginia Executive Mansion, contributing to her father’s efforts to make Virginia a model for race relations.

FAQs

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FAQHoliday Inn Roanoke – Valley View (3315 Ordway Dr, Roanoke, VA 24017). The Roanoke Valley can be a magical place. Join us for an explosion of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Located a few minutes off of I-81. Detailed directions, click here. Plenty of free parking.
The ticket registration fee is the same with or without meals.

If you have a special dietary need we will try to accommodate you as best we can, and there is a place to indicate that following ticket purchase, and along with workshop selection.

  • breakfast (Saturday)
    • selection of fruit juices
    • seasonal fresh fruit
    • assorted muffins, Danishes, bagels, cream cheese, fruit spread
    • coffee (regular & decaf), specialty flavored teas
  • lunch (Saturday)
    • garden salad with choice of dressing
    • red-skinned potato salad, potato chips
    • platters of sliced roast beef, Virginia ham, smoked turkey, swiss & American cheese (condiments of mustard, mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, onions), freshly made chicken salad
    • assortment of breads & rolls
    • coffee (regular & decaf), iced tea
  • RR17 Reception, Cocktails and Conversation (Saturday)
    • Swedish meatballs
    • vegetable spring egg rolls
    • mini chicken cordon bleu bites
    • display of fresh fruit, vegetables, and cheese
    • beverages include soft drinks (free), beer/wine (2 drink tickets – for RR17 registrants), mixed drinks (cash bar)
  • breakfast, buffet (Sunday)
    • fluffy scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage links
    • fresh fruit
    • breakfast breads, assorted muffins and pastries
    • coffee (regular & decaf), specialty flavored teas, assorted chilled fruit juices, milk
Get your organization / name mentioned (logo and link too). Would you like a table at RR17 to feature your organization? Contact us, click here. Sponsorships are welcome and appreciated: online, by check (form PDF).
  • ADA rooms available.
  • Internet: complimentary high speed wireless internet access.
  • Pets: $25 first night, $10 each additional night.
  • All other needs / amenities, click here.

We know that everybody can’t make it to RR17, but you want to contribute to our efforts to elect rural Democrats in Virginia. Great! Thank you, just click here. In addition, if you cannot attend, but you’d like to sponsor another person, please also just send us an email so that we can work that out, click here.

We understand that things come up, and we’re reasonable folks. If you need to cancel your RR17 reservation, let’s talk. Contact Rural Caucus Chair Vee Frye, click here.
We’re sure that we haven’t covered everything, so if you have a question about RR17 not answered on this page, please contact Vee Frye, Rural Caucus Chair, click here.