• William A. Bishop

    Co-Editor, “Daily Yonder”

    Bill Bishop is a writer living in Austin, Texas. He has worked as a columnist for the newspaper in Lexington, Kentucky and as a special projects reporter in Austin. Bill and his wife, Julie Ardery, owned and edited the newspaper in Smithville, Texas. He is the co-editor of the Daily Yonder, a rural news website published by the Center for Rural Strategies. His book on political polarization, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, was published by Houghton Mifflin Co. and released in April 2008. Bill has been featured on CNN and quoted in other print and online publications about the role of the rural vote in the 2008 presidential election.

  • Hodding Carter III

    Professor of Leadership & Public Policy, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

    Hodding Carter III became University Professor of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in January 2006. He came to that post after almost eight years as president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami. His previous professional career included 17 years as a newspaper journalist in Greenville, Mississippi; 17 years as an Emmy-winning television anchor and documentarian based in Washington and four years as assistant secretary of state of public affairs and Department spokesman under President Jimmy Carter. He was closely involved in civil right-related political work in Mississippi in the 1960s and 1970s and was co-chairman of the biracial delegation to the l968 Democratic National Convention that was seated in place of the all-white regular delegation. He has written two books, contributed to nine others and numerous magazines and newspapers.

  • Bob Nash

    Senior Consultant, James Lee Witt Associates

    Bob J. Nash recently joined James Lee Witt Associates (JLWA) as a Senior Consultant focusing on government relations for private sector companies and business development for JLWA’s emergency management services. Before joining JLWA, Mr. Nash worked in presidential politics as a senior campaign manager, where he was responsible for recruiting former political appointees to assist with policy development, fundraising, voter outreach, and surrogate speaking Prior to the 2008 election, Nash was vice chairman of the ShoreBank Corporation, the first and leading community development bank holding company in the country. At ShoreBank, he participated in the development of the corporate business strategies and for local bank subsidiaries in Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Nash chaired and led three of the corporation’s non-profit affiliates resulting in increased integration with corporate goals, new governmental and philanthropic grants for community, business and housing development in distressed communities. Nash was appointed during President Bill J. Clinton’s administration and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Under Secretary of Rural & Community Development at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA.) As Under Secretary of Rural & Community Development at USDA, his responsibilities included managing 12,000 employees and the USDA’s 8 billion dollar housing, electric, telephone, business, and public facility loan and grant programs. Nash was also senior advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture on improving the effectiveness of policies and programs impacting the growth and development of rural communities. Mr. Nash later served as the Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel for the White House where he directed the recruitment, nomination, and confirmation of presidential appointees for the last six years of the Clinton Administration.

  • Jane Smith Patterson (Chair)

    Executive Director, NC Rural Internet Access Authority

    Jane Smith Patterson is the director of e-NC, an innovative, publicly funded initiative to increase broadband access and encourage all residents of North Carolina to use technology, and especially the Internet, to improve the quality of their lives and their economic prospects. Jane’s career has concentrated on information technology infrastructure and its impact on government, industry and education. She has consulted with more than 20 countries and 38 states about the design and operation of information networks. She has served in administrations of North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, and in his fourth term she was Senior Advisor for Science and technology and Director of the Office for Technology. Her work in private industry included service as vice president of ITT Corp.-Network Systems Group. She was also interim vice chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In 1997, she was selected by the National Academy of Public Administration and the Alliance for Redesigning Government to receive the Public Innovator Award for her work in advancing the use of information technology in government.

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