BECK CHOSEN FOR LEADERSHIP THINK TANK

J_beck_on_tv_110607State Senator Jennifer Beck is about to add a new line or two to her résumé.

Twelfth-district state Senator Jennifer Beck has been awarded a fellowship by the Aspen Institute, where elected officials study the values and principles underlying democracy, the think tank announced last week.

Meantime, the Asbury Park Press has a feature story today about an Ocean County resident’s web efforts to get the Republican party to nominate the first-termer from Red Bank as its candidate for the post of lieutenant governor, a job that takes effect in little more than a year.

Beck was among 24 elected officials picked for 2008 class of the Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership, the institute says in a press release. “Each of the members of the class was selected on their reputation for intellect, thoughtfulness, and a bipartisan approach to governing,” the announcement says, adding that the class is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and represents Fellows from 22 states, serving at both local and state levels of government.

The class also includes Kentucky’s attorney general, Vermont’s lieutenant governor, and Mississippi’s treasurer. It will convene next month, the first of three domestic meetings; the program also calls for the fellows to travel together on two foreign trips.

The The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners, it says on its website.

Here’s what the institute says about the fellowship:

The Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership program, established in 2005, works to enhance American democracy by convening the nation’s most promising young political leaders in a casual, bipartisan setting to explore the underlying values and principles of western democracy, the relationship between individuals and their community, and the responsibilities of public leadership. The Class of 2008 will begin their dialogue when they convene for the first time in January 2009; the new class will meet two more times over the course of their 24-month Fellowship.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue.

Here’s Beck’s take on being picked, from a press release she issued:

“It is truly an honor to be chosen as a Rodel Fellow and I thank the Aspen Institute for this opportunity. I am looking forward to a thoughtful, engaging exchange of ideas with my peers from across the nation. I have always believed that state government is the incubator for many of the good ideas and policies which help elected officials serve their constituents well. I will use my time at Aspen to learn about the best practices of other states and bring them back to New Jersey.”

Beck, 40, served one term as a state Assembly member before winning election to the state Senate 13 months ago. Before that, she served on the Red Bank Council for six years.

Meantime, a Manchester Township man has launched a website devoted to the goal of having the GOP nominee for governor tap Beck as his or her running mate, the Press reports:

An Ocean County man who has worked on other legislative campaigns started the site last week with several purposes — to convince the Republican nominee for governor next year to make Beck his or her running mate, to woo Democrats who might vote for a moderate Republican and to collect signatures on a petition.

“We’re electing a lieutenant governor for the first time and no matter who gets the nomination for governor, they would be best served with Beck on the ticket,” said Anthony Del Pellegrino of Manchester, the Web site’s creator and a former Monmouth County resident. “She has great appeal, not only to Republicans or Democrats, but to voters.”

The site has a tally of Beck’s votes in the Legislature, news articles and press releases about her and an online petition, the Press reports.

Here’s more on the Aspen Institute:

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways:

* Seminars, which help participants reflect on what they think makes a good society, thereby deepening knowledge, broadening perspectives and enhancing their capacity to solve the problems leaders face.

* Young-leader fellowships around the globe, which bring a selected class of proven leaders together for an intense multi-year program and commitment. The fellows become better leaders and apply their skills to significant challenges.

* Policy programs, which serve as nonpartisan forums for analysis, consensus building, and problem solving on a wide variety of issues.

* Public conferences and events, which provide a commons for people to share ideas.

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