About Our Guest

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he holds a JD from the University of Virginia and a BA from Princeton University. While in law school at UVA, he founded the Coalition for Progress on Race and cofounded the Center for the Study of Race and Law. He is Managing Principal of Madison Law and Strategy Group which he founded in 2010 where he practices corporate and regulatory law. He also lectures at UVA where he teaches in both the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics and the Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy. Mr. Signer is a member of the Virginia and Washington, DC bars and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association. He has been a democratic voting rights attorney in Virginia for many years. He is also Chair of the Emergency Food Network. Mayor Signer is the author of two books. Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy From Its Worst Enemies from Powell Gregg McMillan in 2009 and Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father from Public Affairs in 2015. He has published essays and articles in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Richmond Times Dispatch, The New Republic, USA Today and The Daily Beast. He has also been interviewed by NPR, MSNBC, Fox News and the BBC. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Center for National Policy and the Truman Educational Institute and is a Principal of the Truman National Security Project. Michael Signer served previously as counsel to Governor Mark Warner in Richmond, Senior Strategist for Tom Perriello’s 2008 campaign for Congress, legislative aide to then delegate Creigh Deeds, National Security Director of the 2008 John Edwards for President Campaign and Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for American Progress. In 2009 Mike was appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to a four year term on Virginia’s Board of Medicine. He was a member of the Finance Committee for Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign for governor and was Chair of the Governor Elect’s Transition Counsel on Homeland Security. In 2009 he was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Michael Signer is married to Emily Blout who is a lecturer in the Politics and Media Studies Departments at UVA and has recently concluded a PhD at the University of St. Andrews. Mike and Emily share their home in Charlottesville with their twin boys William and Jacoby.

Program Transcript

Jan Paynter: Hello. I’m Jan Paynter and I would like to welcome you once again to our program Politics Matters. Today we are honored to welcome back to the program Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer to discuss the enlightened political thought contained in his remarkably timely book Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father. Welcome back, Mayor Signer.

Michael Signer: Thank you for having me.

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