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Executive Board


Michael Austin


Chairman Austin is a free-market economist and Knowledge & Decisions Economic Consulting President. He has spent his professional life educating and fighting for pro-family, pro-freedom public policy.

Michael served as Chief Economist to two Kansas Governors. He also served as the Director of Fiscal Policy at the Kansas Policy Institute, where he regularly consulted with Kansas state legislators. Michael currently serves as a Legislative Director with Americans for Prosperity - Kansas Chapter. 

The American Enterprise Institute named Michael an "Emerging Poverty Scholar" and a "Leadership Network" member for his work and passion for lifting Kansans toward financial freedom. Michael is also a Research Fellow with the State Financial Officers Foundation, a consortium of State Treasurers, Auditors, and Financial Officers across the country. 

Locally, Michael is recognized as an "Emerging Leader" by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the University of Kansas. The Kansas Black Republican Council also awarded him the Jim Bolden Award for many years of dedicated public service. 

Television host Bill O'Reilly, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Tax, and the Foundation for Economic Education have featured his work. He is a frequent guest on NewsMax, OANN, and other media outlets. 

Michael was appointed as a Kansas Advisor to the U.S. Commission on CivliRights during the Trump administration. Michael also volunteers as Chairman of the Kansas Black Republican Council and volunteers his time as a Judge to the annual Kansas CASA Volunteer Award selection. 

Michael is a graduate of Washburn University's School of Business and earned a Master's in economics (with honors) from the University of Kansas. 

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Talia Penn


The eldest child of two Army Officer parents, Talia Penn was raised in a loving household marked both by a commitment to service and travel throughout the U.S. and Western Europe.  Talia volunteered to wear the uniform in her own right.  Her distinguished record of service to the nation, community, and home epitomize her core values of faith, family, and hard work.

While serving her country in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Talia graduated from the Ohio State University with a degree in Mass Communications and Social Issues.  Receiving her Officer’s Commission upon graduation, Talia served at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.  Talia was hand-selected to lead the meticulous mortuary operations to receive and honor our nation’s fallen at Dover AFB.  She was respected and loved and received the Air Force Achievement Medal before honorably discharging from the Air Force and later attaining the rank of Captain in 2012.

Talia is a contributing member of the Kansas Republican Party, the Kansas Black Republican Council, the Sedgwick County Republican Party, and the Sedgwick County Black Republican Council.  Talia is a 2021 Graduate of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series and continues to serve as the Treasurer for a winning political campaign in Kansas.

Commissioner Penn answered the call to service again in June of 2022 when she was by name-requested to accept the Kansas Senate President's appointment to the Kansas African American Affairs Commission as a Commissioner from the KS-04 Congressional District.

A Christian Conservative, Talia is a trusted volunteer at Central Christian Church, and her 3 eldest children recently began another school year at the Classical School of Wichita. 

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Danedri Herbert

Recording Secretary

Danedri Herbert once won $50 for being the most average person, and she is featured in the 2012 book “The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen.” Connecting everyday people with political leaders to create positive change is her passion.

A reformed journalist, Herbert’s work has appeared in newspapers across the country under her own byline. However, she’s placed and ghost written dozens of guest columns for everyone from soccer moms to former U.S. Senators. As a former writer for the Sentinel, an online, non-profit news organization owned by the Kansas Policy Institute, she reveled in holding government and media accountable.

She is the co-author of “What Was Really the Matter with the Kansas Tax Plan – the Undoing of a Good Idea.”

Herbert served as communications director for a variety of political campaigns, including Governor and U.S. Senate campaigns. Her engaging campaign emails and mail pieces successfully raised $90,000 during December of a non-election year.

he is also experienced in international politics, most recently working on a polling project in Antigua. She is a former flight attendant, a Kansas State University grad, and the chair of the Kansas Third Congressional District GOP. 

She and her husband live in an old house with a big front porch and a dog named Keller.

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Jonathon Westbrook


Westbrook joined the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department in 2007, when he was just 21 years old, and immediately extended his services to the public, participating in the Black Police Officers Association and volunteering as a mentor at the Leavenworth federal penitentiary through the Life Connections program.

He also served as a youth director at Bread of Life Outreach Ministries and led the local OK program, a mentoring initiative that pairs at-risk Black youths with area police officers, educators and other members of the community to encourage academic achievement and success in all areas of life.

In 2017, he was appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback, l’82, to serve a two-year term on the Kansas Human Rights Commission and was invited to join the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, a position he still holds today.

In 2020, after a few attempts, Westbrook was one of 14 individuals selected from hundreds of applicants to serve a one-year term as a White House Fellow. 

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Keenen Smith

Recording Secretary

Biography coming shortly

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Kenya Cox

Public Relations Chair

Biography coming shortly

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Willie Dove

Chair Emeritus

Chair Emeritus Dove has been a Kansan since 1989. He is a small business owner, a veteran of the US Army, and an active West Side Family Church member. Chairman Dove also serves as the Chair of the Leavenworth County Black Republican Council. Chairman Dove has been married to Dr. Sunday C. Dove for over 30 years, and they are the proud parents of two sons and five grandchildren.

Executive Board & Local Councils: Meet the Team

Local Councils


Michael Austin

Douglas County

See Bio above

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Dan Thompson

Johnson County

Biography coming shortly

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Joseph Elmore

Sedgwick County

Chair Elmore serves as the chair of the Sedgwick County Black Republican Council.  Retired from the United States Air Force after serving 20 years, Chair Elmore received an Associate Degree in Aerospace Technology from the Community College of the Air Force, and a Bachelor's of Science degree in Industrial Management from Newman University.

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Eric Snell

Shawnee County

Biography coming shortly

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Delbert Selectman

Wyandotte County

Biography coming shortly

Executive Board & Local Councils: Meet the Team
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