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About The Conference

What is the Roanoke Conference?

This January 2014, several hundred people will meet in Ocean Shores, Wash. for the 5th Annual Roanoke Conference, a yearly gathering in Washington State for engaging in open dialogue on political issues, and no-barriers networking among elected officials, prominent political thinkers, and grassroots activists.

Attendees will come from a diverse set of backgrounds: elected officials including statewide, federal, legislative and local officeholders, campaign professionals, representatives from policy groups and think tanks, industry professionals, and grassroots activists old and young. They come to the beach in the midst of winter because the Roanoke has become their “retreat,” a congenial and social setting for renewing solidarity and christening new connections.

For four years now, they have come in growing numbers to discuss trends in politics, hear from experts on our most important issues, work together to find solutions to common problems, and forge relationships that will be crucial in winning political battles on the road ahead.

Roanoke’s history is as a grassroots conference

The original concept for the Roanoke was hatched as good ideas should be – between close friends who share a passion for politics. Their idea: To create a retreat-like atmosphere in which the up and coming generation of people passionate and interested in public policy and politics could form bonds that might knit together frayed coalitions in a swing “blue” state.
By only its second year, the Roanoke seemed to have met its own standard, earning a reputation as what The Seattle Times dubbed the “must-attend event for … Republican leaders” in Washington State.

The Roanoke has achieved that growth by successfully cultivating an inclusive and friendly atmosphere, attracting respected speakers to participate in panels addressing key issues on the horizon, and recruiting some of our nation’s most sought-after political voices to deliver the keynote at the conference’s signature Saturday evening gala dinner.

With that formula, conference attendance has steadily risen year after year, beginning with 265 in the inaugural year of 2010 to nearly 600 in 2013, and projections for attendance in 2014 are even higher. The Roanoke anticipates that as many as 650 or more will crowd into Ocean Shores for the three-day conference on the eve of the critical midyear elections next year.

Our Team

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Don Skillman

Board President – WA Sec. of State Staff

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Steve Buri

Founder – President, Discovery Institute

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Lisa Shin

Board Member – Communications Director, Washington Policy Center

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Amy Barnes

Board Member – Pfeffer Development

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John DeVaney

Board Member – Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Assn.

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Josh Dill

Board Member – Crowdverb

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Eric Earling

Board Member – Premera, Blue Cross

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Eric Garcia

Board Member – Executive Director, Discovery Institute

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Brian Hardtke

Board Member – WA State House Republican Caucus

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Brad Harwood

Board Member – Media Consultant, former King County Council Staff

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Jim Keough

Board Member – Political Consultant, former U.S. Senate staff

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Brent Ludeman

Board Member – WA State Senate Republican Caucus

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Bryan Myrick

Board Member – Media Consultant on statewide ballot measures

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Troy Nichols

Board Member – Policy Advisor, WA House Republican Caucus

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Pam Peiper

Board Member – Staff, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler

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Chris Reigelsperger

Board Member – Former Staff, Congressman Dave Reichert

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Cynthia Pauley

Board Member – Dentist, Brookside Dental

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Nelson Yong

Board Member – Director, OneAccord Digital and Partner at Reign Labs

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More team listings to come. Stay tuned!

2013 Conference

Secretary of State Kim Wyman moderating a panel on redistricting at the Roanoke Conference with Senator Slade Gorton and Kirby Wilbur in Ocean Shores, Washington.

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