Leadership and Staff

Susan A. Carleson, President

Susan Carleson photo

Susan A. Carleson, ACRU President, began her career in public policy in 1981 as an advisor on health care financing policy during the Reagan transition and then as a senior advisor to the Greenspan Commission on Social Security Reform. She joined the staff of the House Republican Conference in 1982 and later served as Legislative Director for Jack Kemp. During the 2nd Reagan term, she was a Special Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Education and Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs. From 2002 until 2006, she served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration.

Following the passing of her husband Robert B. Carleson in 2006, she assumed the leadership and day-to-day management of the ACRU.

Edwin Meese III, Director

Edwin Meese photo

Edwin Meese III served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988. Before serving as Attorney General, he was counselor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985. In this capacity he functioned as the president's chief policy adviser and had management responsibility for the administration of the cabinet, policy development, and planning and evaluation. During the time he held both these positions, Meese was a member of the president's cabinet and the National Security Council.

Mr. Meese served as Governor Reagan's executive assistant and chief of staff in California from 1969-1974 and as legal affairs secretary from 1967-1968. Before joining Governor Reagan's staff in 1967, he served as deputy district attorney of Alameda County California.

Mr. Meese is a distinguished fellow and holder of the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation; a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; a member of the Board of Regents of the National College of District Attorney; and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London. He has authored many scholarly books on American government, most recently The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Morton C. Blackwell, Director

Morton C. Blackwell photo

Morton C. Blackwell, Director, founded the Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan educational foundation, in 1979. After decades of work in politics, Blackwell served as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1984. Blackwell is one of the nation’s most influential conservative figures, and through his Leadership Institute training programs he has helped to prepare thousands of politicians, journalists, and activists.

David A. Leedom, Director

David Leedom photo

David A. Leedom, Director, was trained as an engineer at the University of California. He has been a government employee, small-business owner, and large-business vice president, and he currently works in consulting and project management. He has a background of working with the military and is active in community and military affairs. He has worked for many conservative causes and has supported the American Civil Rights Union since its founding.

Wendy Borcherdt LeRoy, Director

Wendy Borcherdt LeRoy photo

Wendy Borcherdt LeRoy, Director, is a former special assistant to the President for Public Policy and associate director of Presidential Personnel in the White House under President Reagan. She also served as acting Deputy Under-Secretary of Education in the Reagan administration. Mrs. LeRoy is on the board of overseers, trustee emeritus, at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and she serves on the executive committee of the Parents Television Council. In addition, she is a board member and executive committee member of the Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh and a board member at the School for Public Policy at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Mrs. LeRoy holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Stanford University.

Peter J. Ferrara, Legal Director, General Counsel

Peter Ferrara photo

Peter Ferrara is ACRU General Counsel. He graduated Harvard College, Magna Cum Laude, 1976 and Harvard Law School, Cum Laude, in 1979. He is a member of the District of Columbia and U.S. Supreme Court Bars. He has served as a Senior Staff Member in the White House Office of Policy Development 1981-1983 and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. from 1991-1993. He has authored several books and publications dealing with economics and the law.

Robert H. Knight, Senior Fellow

Robert Knight photo

Robert H. Knight, Senior Fellow and Policy Expert, has been a journalist for 15 years, including 7 as editor/writer at Los Angeles Times. He holds a B.S. in Political Science from American University, 1973 and a M.A., Political Science; 1975 American University, and a Media Fellowship, 1989-1990 Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has also held senior positions with the Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Media Research Center, and Coral Ridge Ministries. He has authored three books and hundreds of reports, papers and articles.

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