Congresswoman Michele Bachmann Speaks at Regent Law Chapel

Raising nearly 30 children has provided Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann with negotiating skills that serve her well in the nation's capital. Bachmann, a passionate advocate for foster care and adoption, visited Regent University on November 20 as part of the university's recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month.

Bachmann and her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, are the parents of five biological children and 23 foster children. She shared their story as parents and also their connection to Regent during a special law chapel for students, faculty and staff.

"It's been a marvelous experience for us. Being foster parents has allowed us to teach our biological kids that they're not the only kids in the world," Bachmann said. "Our foster care kids have been able to see what a picture of an imperfect 'normal' family is like. And we saw the beauty and worth in them.

"Twenty-three times, we've seen these kids graduate from high school and launch successfully into the world," she continued. "The Lord trusted us enough to be part of their lives."

The Bachmanns' love for children and their special love for at-risk youth led them to youth ministry work during the 1980s. It was at their church where they first met families that took in teen foster children.

"We decided to be foster parents and went through the training," she explained. "We weren't sure how we were going to do it because we still had young children of our own, but we began bringing these teens into our home and before we knew it, we had so many children that we needed a group home license."

Bachmann shared the story of one of her 23 foster children. They went to a homeless shelter to pick up a teen girl — also named Michele — who had been in and out of a number of homes. "We were her last stop," Bachmann said. The girl, who had virtually no clothes, would start high school the next day at an affluent suburban school.

"I think of Michele's strength and her resilience. She was put into a family with babies and other teens, and she had to go to a strange school, she works as a waitress, putting herself through college and wants to get a doctorate in marine biology. Michele found out there was a place for her in our very imperfect home. She's not damaged goods. She has a future and a hope," Bachmann shared.

Bachmann also talked about her and her husband's roots at Regent. Bachmann was a member of the last graduating law school class at Oral Roberts University (ORU) and was part of a group of faculty, students and alumni who moved the ORU law school to Regent.

"I saw the boxes and the shipping tape, and I watched the books from a first-class law library go off the shelves," she said. "We had a little boy and one on the way, and my husband and I came to Virginia Beach as well. I began tutoring law students at Regent and Marcus started his master's degree program here."

"Marcus and I are here today because our life story is so intimately connected to Regent, and we're so grateful to the university," she said.

Elected in 2006, Bachmann is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota. She was elected to a second term in 2008. Prior to serving in Congress, Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate. She was elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2000 where she championed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Before entering public service, Bachmann spent five years as a federal tax litigation attorney, working on hundreds of civil and criminal cases. She is one of Congress' leading advocates for foster and adopted children, earning her bipartisan praise for her efforts.

By Mindy L. Hughes, APR

Focusing on the Children: Regent Supports National Adoption Awareness Month

Regent made sure to do its part to make National Adoption Awareness month a success. Each November across the country community groups, government agencies, schools, and individuals herald the cause of the hundreds of thousands of orphans in our country.

Throughout the week of November 16 – 21, Regent’s Council of Graduate Students (COGS) sponsored a series of events to raise awareness of orphans’ need for permanent families. Because they will soon be in a position as policy-makers and advocates, Regent’s law students have taken the lead in presenting two key events highlighting the responsibilities legal professionals have to these children.

Tuesday’s Focus on the Children panel brought together experienced professionals from Virginia and D.C., including The Honorable Angela Roberts, Chief Judge of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, to speak about the policies behind permanency, the needs that foster children face, and what it takes to be a successful adoption practitioner.

The Chairman of the Focus on the Children events, Brooke Bialke, commented, “The panel had a perfect synergy. Not only did they cut to the quick of how we need to serve these children in our profession, it was also evident that great connections between some of Virginia’s most passionate professionals were made. That alone is going to do great things for our children."

On Friday, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-6) visited campus. Bachmann has been working hard in Washington as a passionate reformer on many platforms. However, she has also fostered 23 children, which has molded her into one of Congress’ leading advocates for foster and adopted children.

Bachmann addressed the campus community at a special chapel and discussed policies that impact the family and children at an additional presentation.

Focus on the Children week culminated in Walk Me Home, a fun run/walk on Regent’s campus on Saturday, November 21st. The Walk and other Focus on the Children week activities raised nearly $4,000 to be used by the UP Center to train foster parents, meet the needs of older foster children who are aging out of the system, and find adoptive homes.

“Many of our activities were fundraisers for these great causes,” said Bialke. “But the heart of this week was about sparking a passion in people to consider adoption, or how they can use their careers to impact these children.”

Visit the webpage for more information on the week’s events.

After Success at Regional Level, Negotiation Team Prepares for National Competition

Regent University School of Law’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Board (ADR) made a strong showing at the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition held Nov. 13-14 at William and Mary School of Law.

The 2L team of Mary Katherine Bratton and David Crossett finished second overall from a roster of over 20 teams representing American University, Georgetown, Washington & Lee and other law schools throughout Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

While all three of Regent’s competition teams placed in the top ten, Bratton and Crossett look forward to an official invitation from the ABA to compete in the national competition, February 5-6 in Orlando, FL.

Team coach Prof. Eric DeGroff commented on Bratton and Crossett’s exemplary performance.

“Our team was able to zealously represent their clients within the bounds of the law and with integrity,” he said. “They balanced making a strong case and presenting their client in the best possible light while being very careful to speak the truth.”

Other recent Regent ADR wins include the 2009 Merhige National Environmental Negotiation Competition and the 2007 ABA National Negotiation Championship.

Virginia Super Lawyers Recognizes Two Regent Law Alums

Morgan A. Cox (’03) and Shantell S. Nashatka (’03) were both recognized as Virginia Rising Stars in the 2009 edition of Virginia Super Lawyers.

Cox has been practicing family law in Vienna, Virginia at the Maddox Law Firm, P.C. for four years and is an active member of the community. Nashatka practices in the Domestic Relations department at Huff, Poole & Mahoney, P.C. in Virginia Beach and also spends her time caring for needs in her community.

Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, the magazine solicits nominations for the best attorneys who are 40 or under, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. After an in depth research and interview process, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are named to the Rising Stars list.

Congratulations to these rising stars, and those alumni who have formerly been given this honor .

Regent Alum Bob McDonnell Wins Virginia Governor's Race

In one of a handful of electoral races that captured national attention this year, Robert F. "Bob" McDonnell '89 (Law and Government) has been elected the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first alumnus of Regent University elected to a state's highest office.

By 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, major news networks had called the election for McDonnell, who held a commanding lead over his opponent, state Senator Creigh Deeds. At 10:00 p.m., with 95 percent of precincts reporting, McDonnell was ahead with 59 percent of votes, compared to Deeds' 41 percent.

McDonnell took the stage at the Richmond Marriott, surrounded by family, friends and supporters, as the Black Eyed Peas song, "I gotta feeling tonight's gonna be a good night," played, and people cheered and clapped.

"Eight months ago, I applied for the job of Govenor of Virginia. Tonight you have hired me. Thank you," he said to several hundred people gathered for the Republican victory party.

"Our motto at Regent is 'Christian Leadership to Change the World,' and this is the way we do it," said Regent's President and Chancellor Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson in an interview at the hotel. "The good thing about Bob is that he stayed on message, never wavered and he didn't let his opponent take him off message."

When asked what advice he had for the new Governor, Robertson replied, "Stay the course. I'm really proud of you."

Many in the Regent community share Robertson's pride. Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Carlos Campo commented, "There isn't a college president in the country who wouldn't be feeling like a proud papa at this moment. The broad support that Bob has had in Virginia is a reflection of the fact that Regent's values are Virginia's values, and they are Bob's values."

Law School Dean Jeffrey Brauch also weighed in. "I am excited for Bob McDonnell and deeply proud of him. Regent University is about training leaders who will serve others with excellence and integrity. Alumnus - and now Governor-elect - Bob McDonnell is just such a leader," Brauch said. "I am eager to see how he positively impacts the lives of Virginians and millions of other Americans as he assumes a leadership role on the national stage."

McDonnell began his political career in 1991 running for the House of Delegates in Virginia Beach, Va., against a 20-year Democrat incumbent who had run unopposed for a decade. He went on to serve 14 years as a delegate, and then ran for Attorney General in 2005. In what became the closest statewide race in modern Virginia politics that involved weeks of court hearings and physical counting of ballots, McDonnell won by a mere 360 votes over Deeds.

As attorney general, McDonnell saw a majority of legislative proposals become law, most with bipartisan support. He has been commended for his work to strengthen Virginia's mental health laws, crack down on animal fighting, establish a "Senior Alert" to assist in locating missing seniors with mental deficiencies, create a state-of-the-art Sex Offender Registry, and provide new tools for law enforcement involved in online investigations of identity theft, sexual predators and other 21st century criminals.

McDonnell created and led Virginia's Youth Internet Safety Task Force, which received widespread attention for its significant recommendations to improve online safety, and established the ongoing Attorney General's Task Force on Regulatory and Government Reform. The task force has already made over 250 individual recommendations to streamline Virginia's Administrative Code and reduce burdensome government regulation He resigned his position as Attorney General in February 2009 to campaign fulltime for Governor.

"By leading the Republican Party out of its wilderness wanderings in Virginia during the last decade, McDonnell immediately becomes a model for forging a Republican comeback nationally in 2010 and 2012," said Dr. Charles Dunn, dean of the Robertson School of Government.

"McDonnell's approachable personal demeanor. like that of Ronald Reagan. will enable him to reach out across the ideological and political divides in America, forging successful solutions to intractable problems," Dunn predicted. "Bob McDonnell's success bodes well not only for his future, but also for the future of Virginia on the nation's political stage."

Born in Philadelphia in 1954, McDonnell was raised in Northern Virginia where his mother, Emma, worked nearby at Mount Vernon. John McDonnell, his father, a retired Air Force officer, joined the military several months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. McDonnell attributes his father's service as part of the reason he pursued an Army ROTC scholarship at the University of Notre Dame. He continued serving on active duty and in the Reserves, retiring in 1997.

In 1985, McDonnell enrolled in Regent's Robertson School of Government to pursue a master's degree in public policy. When the School of Law opened the following year, he enrolled and earned a joint degree in law and government. As a Regent student, McDonnell was one of a group of third-year law students who helped write a brief that led the American Bar Association to provisionally accredit Regent's School of Law in 1989.

Besides his two decades as an active or reserve Army officer, McDonnell's professional experience also includes four years as a manager with the American Hospital Supply Corp., and two years prosecuting crime in the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's office.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have been married for 32 years. They have five children, ages 17 to 27.

His inauguration as Governor will take place Saturday, January 16, 2010, in Richmond, Va.

By Mindy L. Hughes, APR

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