Torch A City Upon A Hill

Cast

Callista Gingrich:

Callista Gingrich is the President of Gingrich Productions. 

She and her husband, Newt, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. Recent films include, A City Upon A Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days That Changed The World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny, and Rediscovering God in America.

Mrs. Gingrich is the voice for several audio books, including, To Save America, 5 Principles for a Successful Life, A Contract with the Earth, and Real Change.

Callista's photography has been published in the New York Times and Washington Post. It is featured in a photographic edition of Rediscovering God in America as well as Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, which she co-authored with Newt Gingrich and David Bossie. Callista is also the author of an upcoming children’s book, Sweet Land of Liberty.

Mrs. Gingrich is the President of the Gingrich Foundation, a charitable nonprofit corporation.  She resides in McLean, Virginia.

Newt Gingrich:

Speaker Newt Gingrich is well known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994.

As an author, Newt has published twenty-three books, including thirteen fiction and non-fiction New York Times best sellers. Recent books include, Valley Forge and To Save America. Newt and his wife, Callista, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries.  Recent films include, A City Upon A Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days That Changed The World, and Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny.

Newt Gingrich is Founder of the Center for Health Transformation, General Chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Distinguished Scholar at the National Defense University.  He resides in McLean, Virginia.

Buzz Aldrin:

Buzz Aldrin was educated at the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating third in his class with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He then joined the Air Force where he flew F86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MIG-15's, and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross.  After a tour of duty in Germany flying F100’s, he went on to earn his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous.

Selected by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts, Aldrin was the first with a doctorate and became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.”  The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today.  He also pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking.  In 1966, on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Buzz performed the world’s first successful spacewalk, overcoming prior difficulties experienced in all American and Russian extravehicular activity (EVA), and set a new EVA record of 5 ½ hours.

Then, on July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world.  Upon returning from the moon, Buzz was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American peacetime award. Since retiring from NASA and the Air Force, Col. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure America’s continued leadership in human space exploration.

Zewditu Aschenaki:

Zewditu Aschenaki is a true immigrant success story.  She is an Ethiopian refugee who came to Seattle by way of Sudan and then Canada. Through determination, hard work, and a strong community, Zed has managed to open a thriving salon in the heart of Columbia City, raise her daughter, and continue her own education.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:

Elected in 2006, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota. In only her first term, Congresswoman Bachmann developed a reputation as a "principled reformer" who stays true to her conservative beliefs while pushing for real reform of the broken ways of Washington. Bachmann's strong advocacy for her constituents earned her a second term in Congress in November 2008.

Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate. And prior to that, Bachmann spent five years as a federal tax litigation attorney, working on hundreds of civil and criminal cases. Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, live in Stillwater where they own a small business mental health care practice that employs 42 people.

The Bachmann's have five children, Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline, and Sophia. In addition, the Bachmann's have opened their home to 23 foster children, which has inspired Congresswoman Bachmann to become one of Congress' leading advocates for foster and adopted children. She was recently honored with an appointment to the bipartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Advisory Board. Congresswoman Bachmann currently sits on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Fred Barnes:

Fred Barnes is co-founder and executive editor of The Weekly Standard. From 1985 to 1995, he served as senior editor and White House correspondent for The New Republic. From 1998 to 2009, he was host, along with Mort Kondracke, of the "Beltway Boys" on FOX News. Mr. Barnes appears regularly on FOX's "Special Report with Bret Baier." He has also appeared on "Fox News Sunday," "CBS This Morning," "Nightline," "Meet the Press," "Face the Nation," "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." In addition, Barnes hosts "Issues in the News" on Voice of America.

Mr. Barnes authored the book “Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush” in 2006 based on his exclusive interviews with top administration officials - as well as President Bush.

Over the years, he has written for Reader's Digest, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Spectator, Washingtonian, the Public Interest, Policy Review and both the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times of London. The Media Guide has given Barnes four stars - its highest rating - and called him "a great political reporter-columnist" whose material is "exquisitely timed." Mr. Barnes graduated from the University of Virginia and was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University.

Michael Barone:

Michael Barone is Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is best known for being the principal author of The Almanac of American Politics, a reference work concerning US governors and federal politicians, and published biennially by National Journal. Barone is also a regular commentator on U.S. elections and political trends for the Fox News Channel. He is also the author of several books on the history and future of America.  Over the years he has written for many other publications in the United States and several other countries, including the Economist, the Times Literary Supplement and the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times of London. His column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate.

Mr. Barone grew up in Detroit and Birmingham, Michigan. He was graduated from Harvard College (1966) and Yale Law School (1969), and was an editor of the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Law Journal.  He currently lives in Washington, D.C. and has traveled to all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts.

Andrew Breitbart:

Andrew Breitbart is publisher of the news portals Breitbart.com and Breitbart.tv. In January 2009, he launched Big Hollywood, a group blog off of Breitbart.com on Hollywood and politics from the center/right perspective.  He gained greater notoriety when his second blog endeavor, Big Government, broke the ACORN child sex trafficking scandal.  Breitbart launched Big Journalism in January of 2010 and his newest blog, Big Peace, launched July 4th 2010.  Andrew co-wrote the best-selling attack on celebrity culture, "Hollywood, Interrupted," and was the primary developer of The Huffington Post.  His new book, "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!," hit stores April 15th.

Dr. Douglas Brinkley:

Dr. Douglas Brinkley currently is a tenured Professor of History at Rice University and a Fellow at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.  He completed his bachelor’s degree at Ohio State University and received his doctorate in U.S. Diplomatic History from Georgetown University in 1989. He then spent a year at the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton University teaching history.

While a professor at Hofstra University, Dr. Brinkley spearheaded the American Odyssey course, in which he took students on numerous cross-country treks where they visited historic sites and met seminal figures in politics and literature.  Before coming to Rice, Dr. Brinkley served as Professor of History and Director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University in New Orleans.

From 1994 until 2005 he was Stephen E. Ambrose Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans.  Brinkley's most recent publications include "The Reagan Diaries" (2007), which he edited, and “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” (2009).  Brinkley is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review and American Heritage, as well as a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly. In a recent profile, the Chicago Tribune deemed him "America's new past master."

S.E. Cupp:

S.E. Cupp, the author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity” (released in 2010) and co-author of “Why You're Wrong About The Right” (published by Simon & Schuster in June of 2008), has a regular online column at the New York Daily News and a regular feature at The Daily Caller. She is a contributing editor at Townhall magazine and a regular contributor to Politico's "Arena." She has been published in The Washington Post, Newsmax, Slate, Human Events, American Spectator, Detroit Free Press and others.

S.E. is a political commentator, appearing on FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, CSPAN, and others. She has been heard on dozens of radio shows. She is a graduate of Cornell University (2000) and a Masters candidate at NYU (2010). She was born in Carlsbad, CA and grew up primarily in Andover, MA. She lives in New York City.

Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart:

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a lawyer, was born in Havana, Cuba.  He is a collaborator of the White Rose Institute, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and Vice-President of the Parliamentary Forum of the Community of Democracies. Lincoln Diaz-Balart attended public elementary schools in South Florida and high school at the American School of Madrid, Spain. He received a degree in international relations from New College of Florida, in Sarasota, and obtained a diploma in British politics in Cambridge, England. He received his law degree from Cleveland, Ohio's, Case Western Reserve University.

Lincoln practiced law in Miami, where he worked for “Legal Services of Greater Miami,” providing free legal services to the poor. He was subsequently an Assistant State Attorney in Miami and a partner in the law firm of Fowler, White. In 1992, Lincoln was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Florida's 21st Congressional District.  In 1994, Lincoln Diaz-Balart became the first Hispanic in history to be named to the powerful House Rules Committee. Lincoln Diaz-Balart practices law in Miami, where he lives with his wife, Cristina, and their two sons, Lincoln and Daniel.

Dr. Robert P. George:

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Founder and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.  He is also a Professor of Politics and an associated faculty member of the Department of Philosophy at Princeton.

Professor George’s articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence.  He is a frequent contributor to First Things, where he is a member of the editorial board, and has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, National Review, Touchstone, the Boston Review, City Journal, and the Times Literary Supplement.

A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, Professor George also earned a master’s degree in theology from Harvard and a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University.In 2008, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors that can be conferred by the United States on a civilian, at a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House.

In addition to his work at Princeton University, Professor George is the Herbert W. Vaughan Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and a member of the Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Dr. Allen C. Guelzo:

Dr. Allen C. Guelzob is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and a professor of history at Gettysburg College. He is formerly Dean of the Templeton Honors College and the Grace F. Kea Professor of American History at Eastern University. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania, M.Div. from Philadelphia Theological Seminary and honorary doctorate in history from Lincoln College in Illinois.

Guelzo's essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in publications ranging from the American Historical Review and Wilson Quarterly to newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and Wall Street Journal. In 2000, his book Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President won both the Lincoln Prize and the Abraham Lincoln Institute Prize. He did it again in 2005 with his book, “Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America,” making him the first double Lincoln Laureate in the history of both prizes.

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

He sits on the Editorial Board of Military History Quarterly and City Journal and is a syndicated columnist published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and National Review.

Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975, ‘highest honors’ Classics, ‘college honors’, Cowell College), the American School of Classical Studies, Athens (regular member, 1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He divides his time between his forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953, and the Stanford campus.

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer:

Arthur B. Laffer is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an institutional economic research and consulting firm, as well as Laffer Investments, an institutional investment management firm utilizing diverse investment strategies.

Dr. Laffer’s economic acumen and influence in triggering a world-wide tax-cutting movement in the 1980s have earned him the distinction in many publications as “The Father of Supply-Side Economics.” He was noted in Time Magazine’s March 29, 1999, cover story “The Century’s Greatest Minds” for inventing the Laffer Curve, which it deemed one of “a few of the advances that powered this extraordinary century.” One of his earliest successes in shaping public policy was his involvement in Proposition 13, the groundbreaking California initiative that drastically cut property taxes in the state in 1978.

Dr. Laffer was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of his two terms (1981-1989).  He also advised Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on fiscal policy in the U.K. during the 1980s.

Dr. Laffer is the author of a number of books, including “The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy—If We Let it Happen,” which was a nominee for the F.A. Hayek book award in 2009, and most recently “Return to Prosperity.” Dr. Laffer received a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1963. He received a MBA and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1965 and 1972 respectively.

Dana Loesch:

Dana Loesch is the Editor-in-Chief of Big Journalism and hosts her own daily radio show, The Dana Show: The Conservative Alternative broadcast on KFTK 97.1 FM Talk, which recently expanded to WIBC 93.1 FM. Her original brand of young, conservative irreverence has found a fast-growing audience in multiple mediums. A former award-winning newspaper columnist, Dana began blogging in 2001 and was named one of the top 16 most powerful mothers online by Neilsen.

Dana appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, CBS, and ABC and was the first and only female guest host for the popular Michael Savage, who called her his “mental match.” She speaks regularly on the subject of new media, serves as co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, and is credited with having helped take Dede Scozzafava out of NY23. She and her husband, Chris, live in St. Louis with their two young sons.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III:

Edwin Meese III holds the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based public policy research and education institution.  He is also the Chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, California. He served as the seventy-fifth attorney general of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988.

Meese is an expert on the U.S. legal system, law enforcement and criminal justice, intelligence and national security, and the Reagan presidency. His current research focuses on the criminal justice system, federalism, emergency response management, and terrorism. His memoirs were published in the 1992 volume “With Reagan: The Inside Story” (Regnery Gateway Publishers).

Before serving as U.S. attorney general, Meese was counselor to the president 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 is a graduate of Yale University, Class of 1953, and holds a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.  He is a retired Colonel in the United States Army Reserve.  He is active in numerous civic and educational organizations.   Mr. Meese is married, has two grown children and resides in McLean, Virginia.

Carmen Miceli:

Born in Chicago, his parents were born in Italy. Carmen Miceli was 17 when he joined the Army. With his parents permission, he volunteered for a year of Military Service in April of 1941. For his service, Carmen Miceli received 4 purple hearts and a bronze star for Valor.  Opened famous Miceli's restaurants in Hollywood

Dr. Charles Murray:

Charles Murray is a political scientist, author, and libertarian. He first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of “Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980” (Basic Books, 1984), which has been credited as the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, “The Bell Curve” (Free Press, 1994), coauthored with the late Richard J. Hermstein, sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ in shaping America’s class structure. His latest book, “Real Education Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality” (Crown Forum, 2008), provides a framework for rethinking what parents should demand from an educational system.

Senator Marcello Pera:

Marcello Pera is an Italian philosopher and current member of the Italian Senate.  He was the President of the Italian Senate from 2001 to 2006.  He has written many articles and essays in Italian and international magazines, concentrating particularly on the scientific method, the theory of proof, and scientific argument. In 2005, Pera co-authored “Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam” with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI).  Formerly professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Pisa, and professor of Moral Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, Senator Pera is also a Visiting Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Scott Rasmussen:

Scott Rasmussen is founder and president of Rasmussen Reports. He is a political analyst, author, speaker and, since 1994, an independent public opinion pollster.

Scott founded Rasmussen Reports, LLC in 2003 as a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information. Rasmussen Reports provides in-depth data, news coverage and commentary on political, business, economic and lifestyle topics at RasmussenReports.com, America’s most visited public opinion polling site.

Scott and his firm have developed a reputation for delivering reliable, newsworthy and actionable public opinion data. National political commentator Michael Barone calls him “one of America’s most innovative pollsters.” Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, pollsters for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, say that Scott has an “unchallenged record for both integrity and accuracy.” The Wall Street Journal  proclaims that "Mr. Rasmussen is today's leading insurgent pollster" and "a key player in the contact sport of politics."

Phyllis Schlafly:

Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader in the Conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo. Mrs. Schlafly's monthly newsletter, The Phyllis Schlafly Report, is now in its 43rd year. Her syndicated column appears in 100 newspapers.

Mrs. Schlafly is the author/editor of 20 books on subjects such as: family and feminism (The Power of the Positive Woman and Feminist Fantasies), nuclear strategy (Strike From Space and Kissinger on the Couch), education (Child Abuse in the Classroom), child care (Who Will Rock the Cradle?), and phonics (First Reader and Turbo Reader). Mrs. Schlafly served as a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, 1985-1991, appointed by President Reagan. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Mrs. Schlafly is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington University, received her J.D. from Washington University Law School, and received her Master's in Political Science from Harvard University. In 2008, Washington University/St. Louis awarded Phyllis an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. The mother of six children, she was the 1992 Illinois Mother of the Year.

Dr. Larry Schweikart:

Larry Schweikart is co-author of the NYTimes #1 bestselling book, “A Patriot’s History of the United States” (with Michael Allen); author of the NY Times bestseller “Seven Events that Made America America;” professor of history at the University of Dayton; and most recently, film producer of the documentary “Rockin’ the Wall,” a film about music’s part in bringing down the Iron Curtain.

Dr. Kiron Skinner:

Kiron Skinner is an expert in the area of international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and political strategy.  She is director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for International Relations and Politics and is an associate professor of international relations and politics at the university. Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where she currently serves on the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy.

Her government service includes membership on the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board (2001-2007) as an adviser on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Executive Panel, and the National Security Education Board. She has cochaired the CNO task forces on the Middle East and Africa. Skinner also serves on the board of the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City and is a former adjunct fellow of CFR’s Studies Department.

Skinner is a coauthor, along with political scientists Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Condoleezza Rice, of “The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin.” Her book “Turning Points in Ending the Cold War” is a landmark work in international history featuring a collection of essays by leading American and Russian statesmen and scholars.

Skinner holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science and international relations from Harvard University and undergraduate degrees from Spelman College and Sacramento City College. She is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Molloy College on Long Island.

Dr. Shelby Steele:

Shelby Steele is the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. He is a prominent voice on the subject of affirmative action, race relations, and multiculturalism.

In 2006, Steele received the Bradley Prize for his contributions to the study of race in America. In 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. In 1991, his work on the documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst was recognized with an Emmy Award and two awards for television documentary writing-the Writer's Guild Award and the San Francisco Film Festival Award.

Other books by Steele include “A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He Can't Win” (2007), “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era” (2006) and “A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America.”

Donald J. Trump:

Donald J. Trump has become the most recognized businessman in the world, and the Trump brand is readily acknowledged as representing the gold standard around the globe. As the pre-eminent developer of quality real estate, his acumen is unrivaled, and the diversity of his interests has set a new paradigm in the world of business. His commitment to excellence is legendary, and his work as a philanthropist is an integral part of his ethos. He is the archetypal businessman, and an icon of New York.

Reverend Joe Watkins:

Joe Watkins is a nationally known political commentator and host on television and radio drawing on decades of experience as a former US Senate staffer, White House aide, businessman and pastor of the oldest African American Lutheran church in Philadelphia.

Watkins is currently Chairman of the Students First Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that promotes school choice and opportunity scholarships.  He ran for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010, and was formerly the associate director of government relations at Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney, one of the nation's largest law firms.

He completed his bachelors degree at the University of Pennsylvania in History and a masters degree in Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary. Since 1998 he has been the pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, the oldest African-American Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. He has been married since 1975 and he and his wife are the proud parents of three children, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Congressman Allen West:

Congressman Allen West is currently serving his first term representing Florida's 22nd district. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, in the same neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached, West is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family.

Before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, West served as a Field Artillery Officer in several combat zones: in Operation Desert Storm, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was battalion commander for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, and in Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan officers to take on the responsibility of securing their own country.

Congressman West received his Bachelor's degree from University of Tennessee and a Master's degree from Kansas State University, both in political science. He also holds a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College in Political Theory and Military Operations.

In his Army career, Congressman West has been honored many times, including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award. He received his valor award as a Captain in Desert Shield/Storm. Congressman West proudly wears the Army Master parachutist badge, Air Assault badge, Navy/Marine Corps parachutist insignia and Italian parachutist wings.

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