Michael P. Farris

Citizens for Self-Governance – Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies, head of Convention of the 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 14 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.



Jim Kinney

Convention of States Project – Executive Director

Jim’s career has taken him from flying missions from nine different operational aircraft carriers to organizing Bible seminars to working for presidential campaigns to producing radio shows.

Jim began his naval career as a naval flight officer in 1968. In 1979, Jim was assigned by the Navy to establish a new aviation reconnaissance squadron for the Pacific Fleet.  Under Jim’s leadership, his squadron earned both the Navy Unit Citation and the Meritorious Unit Citation.

Jim retired from the Navy in 1992 to take the position of Vice-President at Walk Thru the Bible seminar ministry. In 12 years with the organization, Jim grew the ministry from 700 events per year to 2500 seminars annually.

Before taking the position as Executive Director for the COS Project, Jim was producing a nationally syndicated radio program called “Just a Thought” that addressed current political issues.

Jim has been married to the love of his life for 43 years.  Jim and Linda have three daughters and 13 grandchildren.


Robert Kelly

Convention of States Project – 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 recently passed the California bar.


Laura Fennig

Convention of the States Project – Coalitions Director

Laura Fennig is the Coalitions 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 – Grassroots Coordinator

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. 


Jordan Sillars

Convention of the States Project—Communications Director

Jordan Sillars in the Communications Director for the Convention of States Project. Ranked first in his class, Sillars graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2013 with his B.A. in Literature. While in school, he interned at WORLD Magazine, writing book reviews for WORLD’s various online publications. He also assisted Dr. Gene Edward Veith update his book Postmodern Times, and was active in student government and athletics.



Anne Reiner

Convention of States Project – Administrative Support Manager

Anne recently moved to Winchester, VA, from the little town of Trout Run, near Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Geneva College in May, 2013, with a degree in Journalism.  Anne found her passion for politics while interning at a news publication in Washington, DC, and hasn’t been able to shake it since.  Also, while in college she spent a semester in Rome, Italy, and found a deep passion for travel while meandering through Europe.  Anne freelanced for World Magazine and World on Campus during her college years, and in May of 2012 graduated from the World Journalism Institute in New York City.

Meet our staff!