Michael P. Farris

Citizens for Self-Governance – Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies, head of the Convention of States Project

Michael Farris is the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He was the founding president of each organization. During his career as a constitutional appellate litigator, he has served as lead counsel in the United States Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and the appellate courts of thirteen states.

Farris has been a leader on Capitol Hill for over thirty years and is widely respected for his leadership in the defense of homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty. A prolific author, Farris has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship by the Heritage Foundation and as one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education for the 20th Century” by Education Week magazine.

Farris received his B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. He later went on to earn his J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, and his LL.M. in Public International Law, from the University of London.

Mike, and his wife Vickie, have ten children and 17 grandchildren. 


Mark Meckler

Citizens for Self-Governance – President

Mark Meckler is the founder and President of Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG), an organization created to support grassroots activism in taking power from Washington, D.C., and returning it to its rightful owners, the citizens of the United States. Mark is the co-founder and former National Coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, the largest tea party organization in the nation.  He left the organization in February 2012 and founded CSG to expand the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide.

Meckler graduated from San Diego State University-California State University with his BA in English Literature. He later received his J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he graduated with honors.


Scott Russell

Scott Russell (final)Convention of States Project – Executive Director

Previously, Scott was President of the American Spectator Foundation, overseeing management and business-related operations at both the Foundation and The American Spectator magazine. Prior to joining the Spectator, Scott was the Director of Development for Public Notice, a messaging and communications organization focused on educating Americans on free market economics. Previously, Scott was the Director of Major Gifts for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a think tank that promotes market based solutions to economic problems.

Scott joined Mercatus after spending three years overseeing direct response fundraising for state political parties and federal and state candidates. Prior to his fundraising activities, Scott worked for Governor Bill Owens of Colorado and Lt. Governor Jane Norton of Colorado.

Mr. Russell is a native of Ohio, graduating from Youngstown State University. He received his Master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. Scott lives in Warrenton, Virginia with his wife and four children.


Ken Mayo

 KenMayoPhotoConvention of States Project  Director of Field Operations 

Ken Mayo is the Director of Field Operations for the Convention of States Project. Ken brings to the Convention of States team years of consulting and management experience in local and statewide political campaigns, from county commissioner and mayoral races, to Congressional and statewide U.S. Senate campaigns.

Ken has been Florida’s State Director and Regional Manager of Field Operations for two national non-profit organizations; one whose focus is on recruiting and training candidates and grassroots activists, and the other on community outreach. With 18 offices throughout Florida in 2012 – 2013, Ken directed the activities of 17 full-time field coordinators and helped to create an organization with hundreds of volunteers. They planned speaking engagements across the state and made over 19 million phone calls, which resulted in 100,000 homes being touched.

Ken served in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1974 as a Communications Specialist before obtaining an undergraduate degree in Biblical and Theological Studies and a Master’s degree in Law.


Robert Kelly

Citizens for Self-Governance  Staff Counsel

Robert was born and raised in southern Orange County, California.  He graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2010 and returned to California to pursue the study of law at Pepperdine University.  While at both Patrick Henry and Pepperdine, Robert competed extensively in moot court and debate and won numerous awards for his sharp advocacy.  During his time in law school, Robert worked as a Blackstone Fellow for the Alliance Defending Freedom and as a judicial extern on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Robert graduated from Pepperdine magna cum laude and is a member of the California bar.




Rita Dunaway

Rita Dunaway 3Citizens for Self-Governance  Staff Counsel

After graduating summa cum laude from West Virginia University in 1998 with both a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Journalism, Rita attended Washington and Lee University School of Law as a Benedum Scholar. She graduated cum laude and was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 2001.

Rita then spent several years working as Staff Counsel, and ultimately Senior Staff Counsel, for The Rutherford Institute, a non-profit civil liberties organization. Her duties involved advising and assisting affiliate attorneys across the country as they challenged government actions that infringed upon individuals’ civil rights. Rita has crafted legal arguments and written briefs for all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rita has also been involved in public policy work at the local and state levels in Virginia for several years.


Laura Fennig

Convention of the States Project – Western Grassroots Director

Laura Fennig is the Western Grassroots Director for the Convention of States Project. Before joining the COS team, she interned with one of the largest conservative think tanks in Washington, D.C. While in college, her writings on economics and international development were published in the International Social Affairs Journal, and the MyHeritage blog. Laura graduated from Patrick Henry College with her B.A. in Government, receiving the Beverly Lahaye Award for Leadership in her graduating class.





Sophie Linde


Convention of States Project  Eastern Grassroots Director

Sophie graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2013 with her B.A. in Government.  While in college, she interned on Capitol Hill for Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and worked on multiple campaigns through Generation Joshua.  She worked extensively with both the Campus Services Department and Athletics Department at Patrick Henry College.  Sophie hails from Duluth, MN.






Anne Reiner

anne2 (2)

Convention of States Project  Administrative Support Manager

Anne Reiner is the Administrative Support Manager for the Convention of State Project. Anne graduated magna cum laude from Geneva College with a degree in Journalism. While at Geneva she interned in Washington, D.C., spent a semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy, and graduated from the World Journalism Institute in New York City. She has a passion for writing and freelanced for World Magazine and World on Campus during her college years. Anne grew up in the little town of Trout Run, near Williamsport, Pennsylvania.