WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today at the RNC Summer Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, Chairman Reince Priebus and Co-Chairman Sharon Day added four individuals to the RNC Rising Stars program. This group joins the 14 Rising Stars announced at previous meetings in Boston, MA, Washington, DC, and Memphis, TN.
The RNC launched the Rising Stars program just one year ago in an effort to highlight and support Republican leaders who are making names for themselves within the party. Each star will be showcased on GOP.com and offered a national platform to share their stories and perspectives:
Chairman Priebus and Co-Chairman Day unveiled the next group of Rising Stars in Chicago:
- Will Hurd, Republican Nominee for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
- BJ Pak, Georgia State Representative
- Amanda Pasdon, West Virginia House of Delegates
- Evelyn Sanguinetti, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
“I am proud and excited to welcome Will, BJ, Amanda, and Evelyn as the fourth installment to our Rising Stars program,” said Chairman Priebus. “These four individuals embody the GOP’s message of freedom and opportunity and I look forward to working with them as we grow and strengthen our party.”
“We can all learn from the diverse stories and perspective that this group has to offer,” said Co-Chair Day. “I am continually impressed by the incredible accomplishments and talent that each Rising Star class brings to the table.”
Click here to visit the Rising Stars webpage.
Biographies of the 2014 Summer Meeting Rising Stars:
Will Hurd @WillHurd
Will is a native San Antonian with thirteen years of experience impacting some of the most challenging issues in national security and international business. Since June 2010 Will has been a Senior Advisor with the cybersecurity firm FusionX, which he joined following a decade of federal service and a run for public office in Texas. As a member of the FusionX team Will helps tackle a wide range of complex cybersecurity challenges facing large manufacturers, financial institutions, major retailers and critical infrastructure providers. Additionally, from 2010 to 2013, Will was a partner with a strategic advisory firm, Crumpton Group LLC, where he provided leadership across the full range of Crumpton Group’s service offerings—helping companies capture opportunities in international markets while managing risks to their physical assets, intellectual property and human resources.
Prior to returning to Texas in 2010, Will served for almost a decade as an undercover officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. At the CIA, he worked at the nexus of some of America’s most important national security issues leading intelligence operations on counterterrorism, cybersecurity and other critical threats. The majority of his career was spent overseas in South Asia and the Middle East where his primary mission was the recruitment of foreign assets, collection and dissemination of intelligence in support of the President and senior government policymaker’s national security decision making.
Will has the pleasure of serving on a School Advisory Committee within the Northside Independent School District (NISD) and he had the honor of being recognized as one of NISD’s “Pillars of Character” for the 2011-2012 school year. He is also a board member of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio.
A native of San Antonio, Texas and the youngest of three siblings, Will graduated in May 2000 from Texas A&M University in College Station with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. While at A&M, he served as the President of the Student Union and was elected Student Body President.
BJ Pak @Votebjpak
B.J. represents the 108th District of the Georgia House of Representatives, and is the first American of Korean descent to be elected into the Georgia General Assembly, and the first Asian American Republican elected to any State Legislature in the Southeastern United States. As State Representative, B.J. currently serves as Deputy Majority Whip, as the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, as Secretary of the Code Revision Committee, and as a member of the Health and Human Services Committee. He is also a member the Ways and Means Committee, where he serves as the Vice Chairman of the Income Tax subcommittee, and as a member of the Sales & Use Tax, and Public Finance and Policy subcommittees.
B.J. was selected by James Magazine as one of the “Most Influential Legislators.” B.J. is a former federal prosecutor and currently a Partner at the Atlanta law office of Ballard Spahr LLP, where he works to assist his clients solve complex business, regulatory, and criminal issues. He listed in the highly selective Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and is recognized as a Georgia “Super Lawyer” by Atlanta Magazine, Best Attorneys Under 40 by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and one of 13 attorneys to watch by the Fulton County Daily Report.
B.J. and his wife, Sandra, have three daughters and reside in Gwinnett County, GA. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Stetson University, and a Juris Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Amanda Pasdon @Amanda_Pasdon
Amanda is the Director of Business Development and Investment for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the largest business advocacy organization in the state and she is a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. She is the Minority Chair of the House Education Committee and serves on several other committees, including; Health and Human Services, Political Subdivisions and Banking and Insurance.
As a resident of Morgantown, she has taken an active role in her community and the state by serving on the boards of the Monongalia Child Advocacy Center, Golden Horseshoe and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Professionals and very much enjoys her involvement with Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity and Generation West Virginia.
Amanda has been recognized as one of The State Journal’s ‘Generation Next’s 40 under 40’, she was named by GOPAC, an organization dedicated to educating and electing a new generation of Republican Leaders, as a ‘2013 Emerging Leader’ and she is an active participant in the RNC’s ’14 in 14’ women’s initiative to build a strong network of messengers for the Republican party leading up to the November elections.
Evelyn Sanguinetti @Evelynetti
Evelyn is currently a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at The John Marshall Law School and current City Councilwoman of Wheaton.
Evelyn’s father legally immigrated to the United States from Ecuador, and her mother entered the country as a Cuban refugee. Her parents were still teenagers when she was born in Miami, Florida, and Evelyn grew up with Spanish as her first language. Her parents often struggled to make ends meet, but Evelyn found her way through her love of playing the piano and was able to attend a top public school for fine arts in Miami.
Evelyn received her bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Florida International University and soon moved to Chicago to attend The John Marshall Law School. Following law school, Evelyn worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office under Jim Ryan before transitioning to private practice.
Evelyn currently lives in Wheaton with her husband, Raymond, and their three children. Evelyn is also a member of the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce and the DuPage County Bar Association.
The program has now featured a total of 18 Rising Stars, including those recognized at previous meetings:
Karin Agness, Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW)
Scott G. Erickson, Heritage Foundation Writer and San Jose Police Officer
Marilinda Garcia, New Hampshire State Representative
T.W. Shannon, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
Chelsi P. Henry, Cabinet Aide to the Chief Financial Officer of Florida
Alison Howard, Conservative Activist
Alex Smith, National Chair of the College Republican National Committee
Kimberly Yee, Arizona State Senator
Monica Youngblood, New Mexico State Representative
Amber Barno, Army Veteran, Military Advisory at Concerned Veterans for America, and Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum
Veronica Muzquiz Edwards, Founder and CEO of InGenesis
Lee Jackson, Republican Youth Activist and Member of the RSU 34 Board of Directors
Clarice Navarro, Colorado State Representative District 47
Mike Pantelides, Mayor of Annapolis
GOP RNC Rising Stars