BLP-influenced programs as well as partnerships and collaborative relationships with universities and other organizations include those listed here.

  • Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP), Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, College of Social Science, Michigan State University: Successfully operating with over 650 graduates since 1992, the MPLP is a bipartisan program that identifies individuals from across the state of Michigan committed to community service and brings them together to engage in a public policy and leadership curriculum. MPLP was created by the President and Founder of the BLP, Bob Mitchell. Over 60% have become elected to various local and state offices. (
  • Political Leadership Academy, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University: The President and Founder of the BLP Bob Mitchell initiated and created the PLA in partnership with the Carter School Dean Alp Ozerdem. With input from BLP Advisors and the BLP Board, the PLA began in 2020 equipping participants with meaningful conflict analysis and resolution ideas, skills, and experience to pursue more effective and peaceful political relationships, processes, and governance. Refer to PLA “Flagship Fellowship 2023”. (
  • John Lewis Leadership Program, John Lewis High School, Fairfax County Public Schools: In response to the request of a Fairfax County School Board member, the BLP recruited and managed a community working group to suggest ideas for the creation of the John Lewis Leadership Program after the name of the school was changed from the Robert E. Lee High School to the John R. Lewis High School in 2020. 79 people signed up to serve on the Working Group that consisted of current and former elected officials, teachers, students, authors, producers, and experts in fields of leadership and civic engagement. Over the course of several months the Working Group developed and submitted for consideration by the School Board and Administration a number of ideas for curriculum resources and experiential learning activities. With School Board approval, the program began to be implemented in the Fall of 2022. The program develops a pipeline of young people with skills and appreciation for public service and helps expose high school students to leadership, advocacy, service and justice. A major experiential learning experience for the students in 2023 was a John Lewis Civil Rights Legacy Trip that the BLP helped support and make possible for the students.
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BLP Program Elements

The BLP helps leaders and potential leaders develop in four key areas:

  • Collaborative Leadership and communication styles
  • Conflict resolution and team building
  • Analysis of public policy issues from a bipartisan perspective
  • Constructive campaigning and engagement of constituents

Development of these competencies allows diverse participants to shift from self-promotion, silo mentality, and top-down management styles to respectful engagement of all perspectives, collaboration, and productive teamwork. Partisan activists make the transition from destructive win/lose politics to realizing the benefits of constructively working together. Animosity is replaced with lasting relationships across the partisan divide. Participants experience the personal and professional rewards of collaboration with “the opposition.”

The Bipartisan Leadership Project (BLP)
National and State Programs

  • Programs will be based on the successful Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) created 26 years ago and hosted by Michigan State University. Like the more than 650 partisan adults in Michigan, BLP graduates will have learned over several weekends: 1. Skills unique to bipartisan leadership and decision making, 2. Political policy analysis, 3. Successful personal communication and 4. How to be a candidate and run a responsible campaign that wins.
  • The BLP is a Non-Profit 501 (C) (3) created with the goal to replicate state by state the hugely successful Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) created to get new people prepared to run and not only win public office, but prepared to be an effective public policy collaborator. The MPLP is still achieving its goals at Michigan State University. 65% of the graduates get elected and almost all serve the public in the political/governmental arena.
  • The BLP is creating an advanced national program patterned on the successful state model for Congressional staffers, candidates and office holders who seek a deeper understanding and development of collaboration skills.

Two Reasons This Works:

  • People Diversity: The BLP participants are a salad bowl of backgrounds representing diversity in society; an equal number of women and men and partisans, all ages and backgrounds, urban/suburban/rural, underrepresented and people of color. This diversity is key to producing great results. The participants experience close interactions with people with whom they do not normally engage. The tensions between strangers, the excitement from diversity and partisan competitiveness creates a dynamic, stressful and effective learning experience. It is fantastic to experience the tension that turn into positive transitions individually and between participants. Early in the training, participants learn how to listen, how to engage in constructive dialog, gain skills in collaboration to reach higher ground and not just compromise for the sake of moving on. Participants experiencing relationships with people holding totally different views, beliefs and values without fighting and finding new friendships is powerful. It is this type of life changing experience that enables graduates of this program to be effective in working across the aisle when elected to Congress, state legislatures, city, county and school boards without compromising values. Think about a governor, mayor or President entering office having learned these collaborative leadership skills and values.
  • Combination of Running and Serving: There are excellent seminars on leadership or communication and public policy schools including several partisan/special interest candidate campaign trainings. All of these are valuable but putting all four learning elements together is a special element producing personal growth. Learning in a bipartisan environment adds a dimension rarely if ever available. The BLP training equips the graduate to be a super candidate that will run a winning campaign. A campaign that ethically raises money, models respect and engages the public and opponent in a bipartisan spirit. BLP graduates demonstrate they are ready to be effective in office.