Check out the bios for the confirmed speakers at the 2020 RPAC President's Circle Conference.

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Headshot Caroline Kennedy, 2020 President's Circle Speaker

Caroline Kennedy

Bestselling Author, Attorney, and Diplomat Caroline Kennedy was the 29th United States Ambassador to Japan. Nominated by President Barack Obama, she was the first female Ambassador to Japan.

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Nominated by President Barack Obama, she was the first female Ambassador to Japan. During her tenure she helped realize the United States military's return of land on Okinawa to the Japanese government, the largest land transfer since 1972, became an advocate for Japanese women in business and politics, and played a pivotal role in President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima.

In her speaking events, Kennedy weaves together lessons from history, her family legacy, and her work in public service to illustrate how to uphold our ideals and values as Americans. An advocate for education, she also speaks to its importance for our communities, and how raising engaged, informed citizens will preserve our democracy.  

The eldest child of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Caroline is Honorary President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 1989, she established the Profile in  Courage Award which honors elected officials who have shown political courage.

From law and politics to education reform and charitable work, Ambassador Kennedy has committed her life to public service, working as a member and founder of numerous non-profits, boards, and foundations. She publicly endorsed Barack Obama for president by penning the essay “A President Like My Father” for The New York Times and later became the co-chair of his vice-presidential search committee.

From 2002-2011, Kennedy was Vice Chair of the Fund for Public Schools, dedicated to engaging the private sector in school reform. She was also the director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education from 2002 to 2004. There, she helped to raise over $60 million for the city’s public schools.

Kennedy has authored, co-authored, or edited more than a dozen books on American history, politics, constitutional law and poetry. Among her 10 New York Times bestsellers are She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems; A Family of Poems, and The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  

Fascinated with constitutional law, Caroline co-wrote In Our Defense: The Bill of   Rights in  Action with fellow law graduate Ellen Alderman in honor of the two-hundredth anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

She is an Honorary Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Harvard University Institute of Politics and a member of the national board of directors for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Kennedy holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Harvard University and a J.D. from Columbia University.

 

Headshot Cheri Bustos, 2020 President's Circle Speaker

Cheri Bustos, Rep. (IL-17)

Representative Cheri Bustos has served as the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 17th congressional district since 2013. In the 116th Congress, Cheri was appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

View Cheri Bustos' bio

For Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, it has always begun with listening.

That’s why on just about any given Saturday, you can find her walking the aisles of one of the many grocery stores across the 17th Congressional District, in what she calls “Supermarket Saturdays.” From cities like Moline, Rockford and Peoria, to smaller communities like Canton, Kewanee and Galena, she walks the aisles to ask folks what’s on their minds, what they want her to know, what they want her to fight for or fight against. And she wants to know about them personally:

Have they been able to take their family on a vacation in the last year?

When their kids graduate, are they going to be able to find a job in their hometown?

Since Cheri was first elected, she has gone out on “Cheri on Shift” job shadowing stops. During those visits, she has walked in the shoes of hardworking men and women from all over our community. Sure, she’s learned how to drive a forklift, spot weld on cars and even process carp from the Mississippi River– but what she really values most about these interactions is having the opportunity to ask workers about their hopes and dreams: whether their pay is keeping up with their bills, and what’s holding back our businesses from expanding. She listens for their insight, their ideas and their input so she can bring their voices to Washington.

Listening is something that comes naturally to Cheri. As one of the only former journalists in Congress, Cheri spent nearly two decades listening to and writing about the struggles and the amazing accomplishments of everyday people across her community. While she’s hung up her press pass, she still uses her pen to fight for the values that unite us as Midwesterners – creating more good-paying jobs, bringing down the cost of health care, investing in our schools and fighting wasteful spending and hurtful government practices.

Now in her fourth term in Congress, Cheri is the only member of elected Democratic House Leadership from the Midwest. She also serves on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. In both of these roles, she is a relentless advocate for steering the Democratic agenda to address the very real economic challenges millions of Americans struggle with at the kitchen table each night.

Cheri has also remained committed to serving as a Watchdog in Washington. At a time when many hardworking families are tightening their belts, she’s relentlessly worked across the aisle to ensure Illinoisans’ hard-earned tax dollars are put to good use. Her efforts have resulted in legislation decreasing improper payments from Federal agencies, strengthening the oversight of government charge cards and ensuring Federal agencies maximize their space and manufacturing capacity before outsourcing work. Cheri is also a founding member of the bi-partisan Reformers Caucus which exclusively focuses on reforms to Congress and the legislative process.

In the 116th Congress, Cheri was appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee. On this committee, Cheri will have the opportunity to ensure the needs of our region are being met and properly funded by the federal government – whether that be investments in our region’s defense priorities, infrastructure, schools or rural hospitals. Additionally, since the Appropriations Committee provides funds for the entire federal government, Cheri will be well positioned to ensure federal dollars are being spent wisely and do not go to waste.

Cheri also continues to serve on the House Agriculture Committee, where in her first term she played an important role to develop and pass the first long-term Farm Bill in years. Then, in her third term, she continued that work by serving as a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee where she helped lead efforts to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that provided farmers with the support they need to continue putting food on the plates of Americans across our nation. While working on this key piece of legislation, she conducted a 21st Century Heartland Tour to better understand the needs of our family farmers. Sitting around kitchen tables, in barns and garages across the 17th Congressional District, she asked hundreds of our farmers and agricultural producers what worked for them in the last Farm Bill and what they needed from a new one.

Through all her work, Cheri remains devoted to this: “We were born with two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Cheri knows that if we want to put hardworking families first once again, we need Washington to spend a lot more time listening to the Heartland.
 
Additional background about Cheri’s life before Congress:

Born in Springfield, Illinois, Cheri Callahan Bustos comes from a long line of farmers and teachers and grew up in a family that loved sports and their community.

The granddaughter of a hog farmer and a nurse and the daughter of a social worker and a newsman, Cheri was the youngest of three children.

Her dad would go on to work in public service and Major League Baseball. Her mom would go on to be a preschool teacher.  She is proud of her agricultural roots.

She followed her dad into the news business. While covering the police beat as a reporter in the Quad-Cities, Cheri met a rookie cop named Gerry Bustos who she fell in love with and married. With Gerry, who now serves as the Sheriff of Rock Island County, they raised three sons and they now have two grandchildren, all of whom proudly call Illinois home.

Throughout her career in journalism, Cheri used her pen to help her community. She uncovered numerous stories of corruption and greed in government, winning awards for her work on behalf of the public interest.

After a career in investigative journalism, Cheri worked in health care before, during and after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, for one of the nation’s largest non-denominational, non-profit health care systems. There, she helped families access affordable coverage and worked to improve the quality of health care available in the community.

Cheri has long been active in her community and served on numerous nonprofit boards and as the President of The Women’s Connection, which was at the time one of Illinois’ largest women’s membership organizations. In 2007, Cheri’s commitment to public service and desire to further give back to the community led her to run for local office.

Cheri was elected to serve on the City Council in East Moline for two terms and made her top priority economic development. She led the removal of downtown blight and the development of the largest construction project in downtown East Moline in generations: a nonprofit health clinic.

In 2013, she was sworn into her first term in Congress, representing the hardworking families of the 17th Congressional District. And she hasn’t stopped fighting for them ever since.

Cheri earned her Bachelor’s Degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She also attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, where both her parents and son graduated. An accomplished basketball and volleyball player, Cheri was inducted into the Illinois College Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

 

Headshot Claire McCaskill, 2020 President's Circle Speaker

Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill has spent her career as a prosecutor and elected official devoted to public service and earned a reputation in the U.S. Senate as a plain-spoken, independent, and effective champion for Missourians and all Americans.

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Claire McCaskill has spent her career as a prosecutor and elected official devoted to public service and earned a reputation in the U.S. Senate as a plain-spoken, independent, and effective champion for Missourians and all Americans.

Born and raised in the Show-Me state, Claire attended college and law school at the University of Missouri and began her career as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, specializing in prosecuting arsons and sex crimes.

Claire was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives and made history when she became the first woman elected Jackson County prosecutor, where she launched one of the nation’s first drug courts and established a first-of-its-kind domestic violence unit. Claire continued raising the level of accountability in Missouri as the state’s Auditor and later took on her own party establishment, becoming the first person to ever defeat a sitting Missouri Governor in a primary election.

In 2006, Claire became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri – winning the seat once held by Harry Truman – and was resoundingly re-elected in 2012.

Claire’s background as a prosecutor and auditor deeply informed her work in the Senate, where she championed a six-year-long battle to rein in wasteful wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan and addressed tens of billions of wasted taxpayer dollars. She fought to curb sexual assault in the military and on college and university campuses, and led a historic, bipartisan investigation into online sex trafficking on the website Backpage and passed legislation to give law enforcement tools to prosecute websites like it.

Claire launched the largest congressional investigation into the business practices of opioid manufacturers and worked across the aisle to pass legislation to lower the price of prescription drugs. The daughter of a World War II veteran, she fought tirelessly for vets, including passing into law a bill to deliver decades-old relief to veterans who were exposed to mustard gas during World War II. Known for her work on behalf of consumers, Claire spearheaded efforts to improve consumer protections against robocalls, recalled vehicles, and sky-high cable bills. Always one to seek out the concerns of her constituents, Claire was known as the “town hall Senator,” after holding more than 50 town halls in one year in every corner of rural Missouri.

Claire and her husband Joseph live in St. Louis and have a blended family of seven children and twelve grandchildren.

 

Headshot: Colin Quinn, 2020 President's Circle Speaker

Colin Quinn

Stand-up comedian and actor Colin Quinn is not one to take a hint and bow out gracefully.

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From MTV's Remote Control to SNL, to Comedy Central's Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, stand-up comedian and actor Colin Quinn is not one to take a hint and bow out gracefully. He's been on Broadway with An Irish Wake and Long Story Short (also a HBO special), and off Broadway and Netflix with Unconstitutional and The New York Story, directed by Jerry Seinfeld. His first and last book, The Coloring Book, is now out from Grand Central Publishing. Colin can be seen as Amy Schumer's father in the hit film Trainwreck, in the Adam Sandler film Sandy Wexler, and as Hermie on HBO's Girls. His hit web series Cop Show is now streaming on lstudio.com, and his most recent special The New York Story (directed by Jerry Seinfeld) is currently streaming on Netflix.

 

Headshot Kelly Ayotte, 2020 President's Circle Speaker

Kelly Ayotte

Kelly Ayotte was elected to the Senate in 2010, where she was ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators working across party lines to find solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges.

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Kelly Ayotte was elected to the Senate in 2010, where she was ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators working across party lines to find solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges. During her tenure in the Senate (2011–2017), Ayotte chaired the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations. She also served on the Senate Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Aging Committees. Ayotte is currently a senior advisor to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions as well as a member of the boards of News Corp, Caterpillar, and the ONE Campaign, among others.

Ayotte is a leading voice on national security and was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 50 Republicans on national security affairs in the country. She is a strong advocate for our nation’s military readiness and our service men and women. She worked to pass legislation to improve the acquisition process to provide our troops with the resources they need to defend the nation. She fought for budget certainty, and also opposed defense sequestration and helped lead efforts to end it. As chair of the Readiness Subcommittee, she also led efforts to strengthen the infrastructure and workforce at the nation’s public shipyards.

In her role as a member of the Commerce Committee, Senator Ayotte worked to advance policies to encourage private-sector innovation and job creation. She was instrumental in working to pass the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act to establish public-private institutions that leverage investments in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies. She also helped enact provisions of the Manufacturing Universities Act aimed at boosting manufacturing skills training to meet the workforce needs of the high-tech manufacturing sector.

As an advocate for tax reform to increase America’s competitiveness, Senator Ayotte helped pass proposals to reduce and suspend business taxes, such as the medical device tax and internet taxes, and she supported efforts to rein in burdensome federal regulations that discourage investment and innovation. She worked to advance proposals to strengthen transportation infrastructure, boost small business exports, and expand broadband internet access. She also helped lead the effort to extend the Export-Import Bank, allowing U.S. businesses to compete in a global economy.

As chair of the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee, Ayotte had oversight responsibilities for the Federal Aviation Administration and the nation’s infrastructure related to civil aviation, as well as domestic aviation security and significant portions of the Transportation Security Administration workforce. She worked to enact the FAA reauthorization bill through 2017.

Having seen the effects of heroin and opiate addiction in New Hampshire and across the country, Senator Ayotte took a lead role in passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a national response to improve prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts to stem the tide of addiction. She also worked to address gaps in our nation’s mental health system by passing legislation to improve mental health first-aid training, suicide prevention programs, and treatment of eating disorders. She was named 2013 “Legislator of the Year” by the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Prior to serving in the United States Senate, Ayotte served as New Hampshire’s first female attorney general from 2004 to 2009. First appointed to that position by a Republican governor, she was twice reappointed by a Democratic governor. During her time as attorney general, Ayotte was New Hampshire’s chief legal and law enforcement officer responsible for overseeing all the state’s civil and criminal matters. She has argued before the United States Supreme Court and on many occasions before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She successfully led efforts to seek justice for the murder of a police officer in the line of duty, securing the first capital murder convictions in New Hampshire in over 60 years, for which the state’s largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, named her “Citizen of the Year” in 2008.

Before serving as attorney general, she was the deputy attorney general and chief of the Homicide Prosecution Unit, New Hampshire’s top murder prosecutor. She also served as legal counsel to Governor Craig Benson. She began her career as a law clerk to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and as an associate in the litigation department of McLane Middleton, New Hampshire’s largest law firm.

Ayotte graduated with honors in 1990 from Pennsylvania State University and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from Villanova University School of Law. She is married to Joseph Daley, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, who flew combat missions in Iraq. They live in Nashua, New Hampshire, with their two children, Katherine and Jacob.

 

Rachel Campos Duffy, 2020 REALTOR® Party Training Conference speaker

Rachel Campos Duffy

Rachel Campos-Duffy[1] is an American television personality.

View Rachel Campos-Duffy's bio

Rachel first appeared on television in 1994 as a cast member on the MTV reality television series The Real World: San Francisco, before moving onto to work as a television host. She was a guest host on the ABC talk show The View, before moving onto Fox News,[2] where she has guest-hosted the show Outnumbered.[3]


1 Rachel Campos-Duffy (Wikiwand)

2 Rachel Campos-Duffy (Wikiwand)

3 Rachel Campos-Duffy (Wikiwand)

 

Headshot: Sean Duffy, 2020 President's Circle Speaker

Sean Duffy

Sean Patrick Duffy is an American politician, prosecutor, former sports commentator, and personality who is currently a CNN contributor.

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Sean first entered public life as a cast member on The Real World: Boston, 1998's Road Rules: All Stars, and 2002's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, before going on to serve as district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 7th congressional district.

 

Steve Stivers

Steve Stivers (OH-15)

Steve Stivers is currently serving his fifth term as a Member of Congress and represents Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.

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Steve Stivers is currently serving his fifth term as a Member of Congress and represents Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which is made up of 12 counties including, all of Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway, and Vinton counties, and parts of Athens, Fayette, Franklin, and Ross counties.

Stivers has served on the Financial Services Committee throughout his time in Congress, which oversees the banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities industries. The Committee also reviews housing and consumer protection legislation and has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Throughout his career, Steve Stivers has worked to encourage job creation, promote economic development, and put our country’s fiscal house in order. He is the lead sponsor of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which would restrict the federal government from spending more than it brings in.

Stivers has also been a strong advocate for veterans and their families. In his first term, he passed the HIRE at Home Act and TRICARE for Kids to help returning soldiers reenter the job market and provide their children better health care, respectfully. In his second term, he passed legislation to re-name two postal facilities located in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District after area veterans who had given their lives in service to our country.

During 114th Congress, in his continued work to combat Ohio’s opiate epidemic, Stivers was the lead cosponsor of H.R. 1462, The Protecting Our Infants Act, a new law which ensures a coordinated federal response to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), a devastating condition that impacts babies born to drug addicted mothers. Additionally, Stivers was the lead cosponsor of the Reducing Unused Medications Act, H.R. 4599, which seeks to reduce the availability opioids for abuse by allowing for a partial fill of such prescriptions, if requested by a doctor or patient. This bill was signed into law in 2016.

Prior to running for Congress, Stivers served in the Ohio Senate. He also worked in the private sector for the Ohio Company and Bank One, where he focused on promoting economic development and encouraging job creation.

A career soldier, Stivers has served over 30 years in the Ohio Army National Guard and holds the rank of Brigadier General. He served the United States overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar and Djibouti where he led 400 soldiers and contractors and is proud that each and every one returned home safely to the United States. Stivers received the Bronze Star for his leadership throughout the deployment.

Stivers received both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA from The Ohio State University and resides in Columbus with his wife, Karen, and children, Sarah and Sam.

That's Who We R

The campaign ads rally consumers to "Look for the R" for reassurance, resources, and reliable guidance on their path to property ownership.