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  Signer, Michael "Mike"
NameMichael "Mike" Signer
Charlottesville, Virginia , United States
Website [Link]
Born January 01, 1973 (46 years)
ContributorThe Sunset Provision
Last ModifedRBH
Feb 11, 2019 12:31am
Tags Caucasian - Liberal - Anti Alaska/Offshore Oil Drilling - Government Reform - Jobs/Industrial Growth - Pro Environment - Pro-Choice - Pro-Labor - Single - Straight -
InfoMike Signer is former Deputy Counselor to Governor Mark Warner, a longtime Virginia Democratic strategist and operative, and a national security consultant. In 2008, he served as a member of Barack Obama's Veterans Policy Development Team and as senior strategist for Congressman Tom Perriello's upset victory over Republican Congressman Virgil Goode in Virginia's 5th Congressional District.

Mike grew up in Virginia, went to public schools and the University of Virginia law school, and has lived in Richmond and Charlottesville, as well as Arlington, his hometown. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington and lives today in Arlington, a few blocks from the neighborhood where he grew up and went to elementary school.

Mike was a four-letter varsity athlete and valedictorian in Arlington. As a seventeen year old, Mike began as an activist and advocate by founding Washington-Lee High School's Environmental Club, after attending Earth Day in Washington, D.C. in 1990.

After he graduated from college, Mike interned at the Democratic National Committee, where the Democratic Party of Virginia first asked him to return to Virginia to help salvage a foundering get-out-the-vote program in Norfolk. He later served as a staff member of Mark Warner's 1996 U.S. Senate campaign, at the age of 23, and then as legislative aide to then-Delegate Creigh Deeds in Richmond.

Over the next decade, Mike went on to work in the trenches of Virginia Democratic politics throughout the Commonwealth—in Franklin, Charlottesville, Vienna, and Richmond, among others, and serving as a precinct chair in both Charlottesville and Arlington.

While in law school at the University of Virginia, he became involved in the Charlottesville Democratic Party, worked on Mark Warner's 2001 gubernatorial campaign, and volunteered at the Legal Aid Justice Center.

In Charlottesville, Mike learned first-hand the power that activists can have in our society, where he founded an organization called the Coalition for Progress on Race (CPR), after a racially-motivated attack on a fellow student. CPR eventually established the Center for the Study of Race and Law, today a leading center for scholarship and activism.

In 2004, Mike was hired by the Virginia Democratic coordinated campaign to run Virginia's election protection program, which required recruiting and training about 850 lawyers to work at over 500 precincts throughout the commonwealth. Later, Mike founded the New Electoral Reform Alliance for Virginia, which helped pass legislation to phase out the computerized voting machines that are giving us so much trouble today.

Governor Mark Warner later appointed Mike Deputy Counselor in his Richmond office, where he worked on matters including capital punishment clemency appeals, National Guard and Reserve policy, and homeland security policy.

After Governor Warner's term ended, Mike returned to Arlington and to private practice at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, D.C. Mike chaired the Pro Bono Commission of the Young Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar, which led a sunlight project to expose Virginia law firms' failure to reach their obligatory pro bono hours. He also became an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, where he taught graduate classes on democracy and public policy.

Along with his work and service in Virginia, Mike has been active in working to make our nation stronger and more secure. He served as Senator John Edwards' foreign policy adviser on his 2008 presidential campaign and was later a national security consultant at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, where he founded and directed the Homeland Security Presidential Transition Initiative. Mike was also a member of Barack Obama's Veterans Policy Development Team and was an advisor to the State Department transition. Mike is currently Senior National Security Policy Fellow at the think tank Third Way and is a Principal of the Truman National Security Project.

His first book, Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies, is about democracy and constitutionalism, and was published in February 2009.

Mike holds a Ph.D. in political science from U.C.-Berkeley; a J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was president of the UVA Law Democrats and co-founder and co-president of the American Constitution Society; and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Princeton University.


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