Susan A. Carleson, Chairman

Susan Carleson

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

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.

Lori Roman, President & CEO

Lori Roman is the President & CEO of the American Constitutional Rights Union. Her diverse career encompasses the realms of business, non-profit, government and academia.

For over a decade, Ms. Roman served as president of the Salt Institute, a global industry trade association. She is also the former Executive Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a public policy organization of legislators. In the administration of President George W. Bush, she served as the Deputy Director of the White House Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Director of School Choice at the U.S. Department of Education.

Ms. Roman began her career in management at General Motors and spent six years as an adjunct professor teaching business and ethics while raising her children. She has also assisted many businesses and non-profits as a consultant.

An accomplished speaker and writer, Ms. Roman has been featured in many major media outlets. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Administration.

Edwin Meese III, Director

Edwin Meese III served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988. Before serving as Attorney General, he was counselor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985. In this capacity he functioned as the president’s chief policy adviser and had management responsibility for the administration of the cabinet, policy development, and planning and evaluation. During the time he held both these positions, Meese was a member of the president’s cabinet and the National Security Council.

Mr. Meese served as Governor Reagan’s executive assistant and chief of staff in California from 1969-1974 and as legal affairs secretary from 1967-1968. Before joining Governor Reagan’s staff in 1967, he served as deputy district attorney of Alameda County California.

Mr. Meese is a distinguished fellow and holder of the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation; a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; a member of the Board of Regents of the National College of District Attorney; and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London. He has authored many scholarly books on American government, most recently The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Bowman, Director

Experience and a passion for policy is the history of Michael Bowman, President of ALEC Action. Michael has more than twenty-five years of state legislative and policy experience. He has successfully run non-profit policy organizations, professionally managed political state campaigns, consulted and ran Federal and state Political Action Committees and served as a Legislative Director in the California Assembly and Senate.

Michael’s is a strong defender of Federalism, a champion for free markets and a crusader to protect individual liberty. Michaels gifting is creating left-right coalitions that protect, empower those who have been victimized, trapped or ruined by government laws, programs or institutions.