Susan A. Carleson, Chairman
Susan A. Carleson, ACRU Chairman/CEO, began her career in public policy in 1981 as an advisor on health care financing policy during the Reagan transition and then as a senior advisor to the Greenspan Commission on Social Security Reform. She joined the staff of the House Republican Conference in 1982 and later served as Legislative Director for Jack Kemp. During the 2nd Reagan term, she was a Special Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Education and Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs. From 2002 until 2006, she served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration.
Following the passing of her husband Robert B. Carleson in 2006, she assumed the leadership and day-to-day management of the ACRU.
Lt. Col. Allen West, Executive Director
Lt. Col. Allen West (ret.) is the Executive Director of the American Constitutional Rights Union and ACRU Action Fund. He is a constitutional conservative, combat veteran, and former member of the U.S. Congress.
Lt. Col. West is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. During his 22-year career in the U.S. Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors, including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award. In 1993, he was named the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. He is also a former commissioned officer in the Texas State Guard.
In November 2010, West was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District. As a member of the 112th Congress, he sat on the Small Business and Armed Services Committees.
West is the former Executive Director of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas, Texas, and a former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative (BTWI) for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In July of 2020, Mr. West was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas by an overwhelming majority of State delegates.
Lt. Col. West is an avid distance runner, a Master SCUBA diver, and in his spare time, he enjoys cheering his beloved Tennessee Volunteers. He is a legacy life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a life member of the American Legion, a life member of the Association of the United States Army, the Society of the First Infantry Division, the 4th Infantry Division, and 101st Airborne Division. He is Patriot Life Member (Benefactor) of the National Rifle Association and Life Member (Benefactor) of the Texas State Rifle Association. West is an inductee into the University of Tennessee Army ROTC Hall of Fame.
Lt. Col. West is the author of three books: Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom; Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death; and We Can Overcome: An American Black Conservative Manifesto.
He is married to Dr. Angela Graham-West, a financial adviser, and they have two daughters, Aubrey, a Board-certified Physician Assistant, and Austen, a nursing assistant. He is also the proud grandfather of grandson, Jaxton.
Amb. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Director
Ken Blackwell is a member of the Board of Directors of ACRU Action Fund and the Policy Board of ACRU. Mr. Blackwell has had a vast political career. He was mayor of Cincinnati, Treasurer and Secretary of State for Ohio, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He has served on the congressionally appointed National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform and the board of the International Republican Institute. He was Co-Chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board from 1999-2001.
He has received many awards and honors for his work in the public sector. These accolades include the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award for his work in the field of human rights which he received from both the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2004, the American Conservative Union honored Mr. Blackwell with the John M. Ashbrook Award for his steadfast conservative leadership.
Ken’s commentaries have been published in major newspapers and websites: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, TheNew York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily. In addition, he has been interviewed by many media outlets including CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, and Fox News Sunday. He is a national bestselling author of three books: Rebuilding America: A Prescription For Creating Strong Families, Building The Wealth Of Working People, And Ending Welfare; The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency; and Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.
His continuing education has included executive programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. Mr. Blackwell has also received honorary doctoral degrees from ten institutions of higher education. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University in Ohio, where he later served as a vice president and member of its faculty. In 1992, he received Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted into Xavier’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.