Horace Dicken “Dick” Cherry

Horace Dicken “Dick” Cherry, Wabash ’49, is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives. He was born March 22,1928 in Dallas, the first child of Frank Hanley Cherry and Ruth Dicken Cherry. He was educated in Illinois and Indiana including six years in a one-room country school near Chrisman, Illinois. He earned a full scholarship to Wabash College after three years at Chrisman High School. He was the first political science major, Rhodes Scholar candidate and valedictorian of his class at Wabash. He earned a master’s in political science at the University of Chicago and completed the penultimate requirements there for the PhD.

In August of 1955, Cherry began a ten-year career as an assistant professor of political science at Baylor University in Waco. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, he organized the Center for Foreign Service Studies, which offered an interdisciplinary major for students pursuing international careers in government, business, or religion. The Center also sponsored a public lecture series, which brought notable international speakers to Waco. In addition, the Center published the quarterly journal Background on World Politics, of which Cherry served as editor and chairman of the board of contributing editors composed of 17 scholar/specialists from universities throughout the US.

Cherry was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962. He co-authored legislation to repeal the poll tax and replace it with permanent voter registration. In Committee hearings, a leading witness supporting this legislation was Barbara Jordan of Houston, who later served in the Texas Senate and as a distinguished member of Congress. He and Charlie Wilson and four other House members shared housing expense by renting of a house near Town Lake. Following the 58th Session, Cherry was one of two House members given a 95 percent rating by the Texas Observer. (Texas Observer. February 21,1964). He was re-elected in 1964 and, again, he and Charlie Wilson shared housing with two other House members. Dick continued to press the House (unsuccessfully) to pass voting rights and school desegregation legislation.

In the summer of 1965, Sen. Yarborough named Dick as chief of staff in his Washington office. 1965 was the first year of the historically productive 89th Congress, which enacted the laws that constituted LBJ’s Great Society. Cherry considered it an honor to be on the staff of the only Southern Senator consistently voting for the components of the Great Society. He and Ralph Yarborough had advocated such laws for years.

In February 1966, Dick took a two-week leave of absence from his Washington duties to return to Austin for a Called Session. Federal Judge Homer Thornberry had ruled the Texas Poll Tax unconstitutional, which left Texas with no valid roll of eligible voters in an election year. All efforts by Cherry and several colleagues to pass open and longer-term voter registration fell 15 to 20 votes short of House passage. The Governor urged and a majority passed a law abolishing the poll tax but continuing the previous annual January registration system.

In early 1967, efforts began within the new Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to recruit Dick to head the Congressional Services Office for the Model Cities Program (the high-profile HUD component of the Great Society). After three months of deliberation Cherry decided to make the move and called Marvin Watson at the White House, who informed HUD officials that the White House approved this appointment. At HUD Cherry became the newest member of a five-man team of senior Congressional Services Officers who were given the lead by the White House in getting Congress to adopt the Fair Housing Act, which the President signed in April 1968.

Following the Humphrey loss to Nixon, Cherry took a position with a joint program of the US Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities called Man in Washington, which contracted with individual cities to provide them their own Man in Washington. One of his earliest clients was the City of New Orleans, which, in 1970, elected a new mayor named Moon Landrieu. Landrieu became chair of a committee of Mayors that persuaded Congress to rescue New York City from its fiscal crisis. He was elected president of the US Conference of Mayors and led the campaign to get Congress to institute General Revenue Sharing with state and local governments.

President Carter appointed Landrieu to be secretary of HUD and, upon his recommendation, appointed Cherry as assistant secretary of Legislation and Inter-governmental Relations. Thus, Dick returned to HUD to head a much larger Congressional Relations operation than he had left in 1969. His new responsibilities included a daily morning briefing of Secretary Landrieu, and a weekly trip to the Roosevelt Room of the White House to join his counterpart assistant secretaries from each Cabinet Department to brief assistants to President Carter.

When the Carter Administration ended Cherry returned to the National Center for Municipal Development, the non-profit corporation he had formed in 1974 as the successor to Man in Washington. From 1981 until his retirement in 1993, he continued as a federal relations advisor to cities and prominent mayors. In the early 1980s he advised Kansas City and Mayor Dick Berkley, who became a president of the US Conference of Mayors. Later, another client, Mayor Sidney Barthelemy of New Orleans, was elected president of the National League of Cities.

Source: based on an interview with Dicken Cherry, an oral history, recorded and published by the Heinz History Center in Association with the Smithsonian Institution, May 2002, 132pp.

Stephen Biegun

Stephen E. Biegun, Michigan ’85 is an experienced business leader and international relations expert. He spent fifteen years in the private sector as a corporate officer and senior executive with one of America’s largest global corporations and he has nearly two decades of high-level government service with the Department of State, the White House, and the United States Congress. Through his years in the private sector and government service, he has developed a global network of relationships and a keen understanding of international affairs, international business, and global trade, with extensive expertise in a wide range of public policy matters.

In 2021, Mr. Biegun concluded his most recent government service as the Deputy Secretary of State, the number two diplomatic position in the United States government. A widely respected foreign policy leader, he was appointed by the President and Secretary of State and confirmed by the United States Senate with a bipartisan vote of 90-3.

At the State Department, Mr. Biegun was responsible for leadership, management, and communications for a 76,000-person workforce posted worldwide. He personally led efforts on recruitment, talent development, and retention with a particular emphasis on implementing a comprehensive overhaul of the Department’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. He was the  senior-level official responsible for all decisions related to the Department’s $41 billion operations and foreign assistance budget.

Mr. Biegun coordinated and led the execution of State Department policy toward China. He also led the formulation of US policies with Indo-Pacific allies and partners, especially Japan, India, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. He managed bilateral relations with Canada and Mexico, with members of NATO and the European Union, and with key partners in Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Biegun recruited, appointed and directed senior-level envoys for Arctic policy and arms control negotiations.

He served as lead representative for the Department for policy development on national security and foreign policy related export controls and trade sanctions, represented the Department in the CFIUS process for approval of investments and transactions reviewed for national security considerations, and oversaw all Department efforts on technology transfer, non-proliferation, and cyber policies. His hands- on diplomatic negotiations in support of the Belarusian opposition and to end the conflict in Nagorno- Karabakh were key in stemming the violence and bloodshed in those regions.

During his tenure as Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Biegun also served concurrently as the lead negotiator for the United States government with North Korea, working in close coordination with counterparts in South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and normalize US-North Korea relations. As part of these responsibilities Mr. Biegun made several trips to North Korea.

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Biegun led State Department efforts to repatriate more than 100,000 American citizens trapped abroad due to rapidly closing borders and changing travel rules. He built international partnerships to identify global supply chain opportunities for the United States to acquire urgently needed supplies of personal protection equipment for healthcare providers, and he directed the execution of global assistance programs to assist other nations in overcoming the effects of the pandemic.

Prior to his most recent government service, Mr. Biegun served for fifteen years as a corporate vice president with Ford Motor Company. At Ford, he led an eighty-person global team and managed a $15 million operations budget with responsibility for all international public policy, regulatory, and governmental affairs issues including global market analysis and due diligence, negotiation of business incentives, shaping international trade agreements, and advising on new business acquisitions and investments.

At Ford, Mr. Biegun led successful negotiations with governments in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Australia on infrastructure and tax incentives exceeding $9 billion in support for new or expanded industrial investments. He co-led negotiating teams that successfully acquired a bankrupt industrial complex in Romania to improve Ford’s cost base in Europe and a team that acquired a local manufacturer in Brazil to increase Ford’s reach into a new market segment, and he brokered Ford’s expansion in the Russian Federation through the creation of a joint venture with a Russian partner. Mr. Biegun also led global risk assessment for Ford and developed mitigation strategies, with particular focus on international supply chain protection and improvement. During Mr. Biegun’s tenure at Ford, he was recognized several times as one of the Company’s top achieving senior executives, and he concurrently served in leadership positions with several outside business organizations.

Mr. Biegun began his career as a foreign policy specialist with the United States Congress with a focus on Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Europe, ultimately rising to senior-level positions including as chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as the national security advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. He served two years as the Executive Secretary of the White House National Security Council, fulfilling the role of chief operating officer of the 250-person organization with a $20 million operating budget and serving as a close advisor and deputy to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Mr. Biegun has served as a spokesperson for many of the organizations with which he has worked including frequent speeches and interviews in electronic, print, and broadcast media as well as numerous appearances to testify before Congressional committees. He has volunteered as a board member for several national and local non-profit organizations and has led mentoring programs for next generation United States foreign policy and national security leaders. He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a bachelor of arts in Russian language, and political science.

Mike Braun

Michael Braun is an American businessman and politician who represented the 63rd district in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 to 2017. A Republican, Braun defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in 2018 to win a seat in the United States Senate.

As founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing and owner of Meyer Logistics, Mike Braun has employed thousands of Americans across the United States. Mike’s companies serve the lower 48 states and have locations in 38 states, with Meyer’s corporate headquarters located in Jasper, Indiana.

Mike graduated from Jasper High School in 1972, where he served as senior class president and lettered in football, basketball, and track. Mike went on to graduate from Wabash College where he earned an economics degree, graduated summa cum laude, and served as President of the Student Body. In 1976, Mike married his high school sweetheart Maureen and entered Harvard Business School, earning an M.B.A. in 1978.

After graduation, Mike took a different path than many of his classmates and moved back to Jasper to start his career. In 1979, he co-founded Crystal Farms, Inc. which later became one of the largest turkey operations in the Midwest.

After starting at Meyer Body Company in 1981 and eventually acquiring full ownership, Mike transitioned from the manufacturing sector to the distribution markets, forming Meyer Distributing. Since then, Meyer has grown to be among the industry leaders in auto parts distribution. Under Mike’s leadership, Meyer survived the 2008 financial collapse and came out a stronger company, averaging 22 percent growth since 2009.

Today, Meyer is a nationwide contender in the third-party logistics business. Throughout the massive expansion of his business, Mike has always remained grounded to his roots by anchoring the company in Jasper. Mike is proud of his decision to build his businesses in his hometown.

Throughout the years, Mike has always looked for ways to give back to his community and serve his fellow Hoosiers. Mike is an avid outdoorsman, and enthusiastic mushroom hunter every spring. Mike has also served as a member of the local School Board and was elected as a State Representative in 2014.

Dusty Johnson

Dusty Johnson is an American politician who is the member-elect of South Dakota’s at-large congressional district after winning the 2018 election. A former South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner and chief of staff to Governor Dennis Daugaard, Johnson is currently the vice president of Vantage Point Solutions in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Dustin “Dusty” Johnson was born in Pierre, South Dakota and graduated from T.F. Riggs High School in 1995. He earned his B.A. in political science from University of South Dakota in 1999, where he was a member of fraternity Phi Delta Theta. He earned his M.P.A. from University of Kansas in 2002. In 1998, Johnson was named a Truman Scholar. As a Truman Scholar, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. In 2003, Johnson worked as a senior policy advisor for then-South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds.

In 2004, Johnson ran for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. He was elected statewide to South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. Upon his election, he subsequently became the youngest utilities commissioner in the nation. He was re-elected in 2010. Johnson was also a member of the executive board of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. In 2007, he became the Chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission a position he held until his resignation in 2011. In 2010, he led a South Dakota delegation that included then-Governor Mike Rounds and state regulators that met with FCC Commissioners on concerns with the FCC’s National Broadband Plan and its impact on small and rural providers in South Dakota

On November 15, 2016, Johnson announced bid to become a Republican candidate for U.S. Representative for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district. The announcement came shortly after Kristi Noem had announced she would not seek re-election to Congress in order to run in the 2018 South Dakota gubernatorial election. He defeated Secretary of State of South Dakota Shantel Krebs and businessman Neal Tapio, a state senator, in the June 5, 2018 GOP primary. He defeated Democrat Tim Bjorkman, a retired circuit court judge, and two minor candidates in the November general election.

Steven Kuykendall

Steven T. Kuykendall served in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2001 representing California’s 36th Congressional District. Congressman Kuykendall served on the Armed Services, the Science and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees of the House.

In his first year in Congress, Congressman Kuykendall helped craft a plan to pay down the national debt while still providing a tax cut and protecting Social Security. He secured funds to help clean up Santa Monica Bay and dredge the Marina del Rey Harbor entrance. Congressman Kuykendall also authored a provision in the defense authorization bill that allowed active duty military bases to swap surplus land for new structures on the sites they retain, making them better stewards of their assets.

Before his election to Congress, Mr. Kuykendall served two terms in the California State Assembly, from 1994 to 1998. During his first term in the state legislature, he served as Republican Whip. He also served on the Banking and Finance, Labor and Employment, Higher Education, and Utilities and Commerce Committees. Mr. Kuykendall demanded a full accounting of legislative spending and oversaw the Assembly’s first “clean” fiscal audit in ten years. In addition, he co-authored California’s “Megan’s Law” and wrote the “Tyler Jaeger Act” to protect children from abuse and child molesters.

Mr. Kuykendall began his public service as councilman and mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes. He has also served as president and trustee of the Peninsula Education Foundation, regional commissioner for AYSO Youth Soccer, trustee of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, chairman of the Palos Verdes Regional Law Enforcement Committee and vice- chairman of the Los Angeles County Emergency Preparedness Commission.

Commissioned as a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant in 1968, Mr. Kuykendall served two tours of duty in Vietnam, participating in the effort to stop the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive in 1972. He rose to the rank of Captain and retired in 1973 after a permanent shoulder injury.

In 1973, Mr. Kuykendall became a businessman working in the commercial and mortgage- banking field until 1994. During that time, he founded and served as president of Lockheed Mortgage Corporation, a subsidiary of Lockheed Corporation. He was also a principal with David Buxton Financial Corporation from 1984-1994. Since leaving Congress, he is engaged in local, state and federal government relations and management consulting as proprietor of Steven T. Kuykendall & Associates. In 2013 Mr. Kuykendall became the volunteer president and CEO of Fisher House Southern California, Inc., a 501(c)3 charity, dedicated to raising funds for the construction of a Fisher House on the Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center campus.

Congressman Kuykendall holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Oklahoma City University (1968) and a Masters of Business Administration from San Diego State University (1974). He is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, First Marine Division Association, Military Officers Association of America, Rotary International and the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. He and his wife, Jan, live in Long Beach, California and have three grown children – Kerry, a pilot in the U.S. Navy; Brent, a public school administrator; and Craig, a Los Angeles fire fighter.

Jodey Arrington

Jodey Arrington is a proven leader and a lifelong conservative who is committed to fighting for the people of West Texas to ensure their views and values are heard in Washington, D.C. His principles of faith, family and hard work run deep, where he’s a tireless advocate for significantly cutting government spending, ensuring a strong national defense, and protecting the freedoms we all richly deserve.

A graduate of Plainview High School, Jodey attended Texas Tech University earning a BA in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Through the years, his ability to tackle tough issues and get results for our country, state and local communities have taken him from the South Plains, to Austin, to the White House, and back again. His experience includes advising then Gov. George W. Bush on appointments to state boards and commissions, recruiting conservative business leaders from across the state to provide oversight and accountability to agencies responsible for agriculture, higher education, healthcare, and criminal justice.

He later became an Advisor to President Bush in the White House, responsible for helping assemble President Bush’s leadership team in critical areas such as agriculture, water, and energy.

After leaving the White House, Jodey served as Chief of Staff to the FDIC Chairman and Amarillo native Don Powell, where he was instrumental in helping cut millions of dollars in waste and inefficiencies, reducing regulatory burdens on community banks, and pass the U.S. deposit insurance reform.

In 2007, Jodey’s leadership focused on the Texas Tech University System, serving as Chief of Staff to Chancellor and former Congressman, Kent Hance. He was later appointed as Vice Chancellor of Research and Commercialization, where he was instrumental in the record growth of the Texas Tech University System. He also helped bring jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to West Texas, increasing technology commercialization, and fostering strong ties with the local business community.

Jodey is President of Scott Laboratories, Inc., a company responsible for commercializing health care innovations, including a new telemedicine venture.

Jodey lives in Lubbock with his wife, Anne, and their three children. They are active members of their local church where he teaches Sunday school and serves as an elder. Jodey is active in the local community, serving on numerous boards and committees related to Christian ministry, economic development, and renewable energy.

Drew Wrigley

Drew Howard Wrigley was the 37th Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota, from 2010 to 2016. He was appointed by Governor Jack Dalrymple on December 7, 2010. Wrigley previously served as United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota (2001–2009), as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor John Hoeven (2000), and as Executive Director of the North Dakota Republican Party.

Gary Wade

Gary R. Wade, Tennessee Supreme Court, retired.  Gary R. Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006 and served as Chief Justice from September 1, 2012, to August 31, 2014. Prior to his appointment, Justice Wade served on the Court of Criminal Appeals for 19 years and served as Presiding Judge of that court for eight years.

Justice Wade was named by the American Board of Trial Advocates as the Tennessee Appellate Judge of the Year in 2004 and the Southeastern Appellate Judge of the Year in 2014.  Also in 2014, the Tennessee Bar Association awarded Justice Wade the Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award.  He served as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference in 1995-1996 and is the founder of the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation, which awards twenty need-based scholarships per year at the various law schools in the state.

In July of 2015, Justice Wade announced his retirement from the Supreme Court.  Shortly afterwards, Lincoln Memorial University announced that Justice Wade had accepted an offer to become Vice President and Dean of the Duncan School of Law.

Before taking the bench, Justice Wade was in private practice for 15 years. He also served as mayor of Sevierville from 1977 to 1987. Justice Wade received both his law degree and his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee.

An active member of the community, Justice Wade is co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which, since its founding in 1993, has raised more than $50 million to fund historic preservation, wildlife management, environmental education and more in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Justice Wade is also a co-founder of Leadership Sevier.

Justice Wade was initiated at Tennessee Gamma Chapter of Phi Delta Theta at The University of Tennessee in January of 1967 and served as President of his chapter in 1969-1970. He was President of the Eta South Province from 1990 to 1997, and he received the Phi Delta Theta Legion of Honor recognition in 2004 and the Gardner Alumnus of the Year Award in 2007.

Justice Wade and his wife, Sandy, have three children: A. Zachary Wade, Katherine Wade, and Elizabeth Simonis. They are also the proud grandparents of four wonderful grandchildren: Taegen, Claire, Gretchen, and Chaz.

John Richardson

John Richardson practiced law in Portland for seventeen years and developed extensive expertise in representing personal injury clients, public and private unions, and small businesses, while being in the forefront of many cases involving employment discrimination.

In 1998, John was elected to the Maine House of Representatives from Brunswick where he served as House Majority Leader from 2002-2004 and Speaker of the House from 2004-2006. While in the legislature, John sponsored the legislation which created the Mid Coast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) and served on its planning and implementing committees. In January 2007, he was appointed Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, a position that he held until November 2009. As Commissioner, he served as a board member on the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME).

Elmer Thomas

John William Elmer Thomas was a Representative and a Senator from Oklahoma. Thomas served in both the United States House of Representative’s as well as the United States Senate. As a Republican from Oklahoma Thomas enjoyed a near thirty year stay at Capital Hill. He was known as a big proponent of international affairs. In 2012 he was entered into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.