Attorney | Author | Husband | Father | Mayor
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Mayor in Charlottesville is a part-time position. When I'm not serving the City, I work as general counsel at WillowTree, Inc., a leading mobile development company based in Charlottesville whose clients include many Fortune 100 companies. I am also managing principal of Madison Law & Strategy Group, PLLC, which I founded in 2010. I'm a member of the Virginia and Washington, D.C. Bars and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association, where I've served as Co-Chair of the Business Law Section. I've worked as a voting rights attorney in Virginia for many years and in 2010 served as an election monitor in wartime Afghanistan for the U.S. government. I was previously an attorney in the litigation, corporate, and public policy and strategy departments of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, D.C. While in law school at UVA, I was President of the Law Democrats, co-president of the American Constitution Society chapter. While at UVA, I also founded the UVA Coalition for Progress on Race and co-founded the Center for the Study of Race and Law.
I'm a lecturer at the University of Virginia, where I teach seminars titled "Leadership, Statesmanship, and Democracy" and "Race and Policy" at the Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy. I've written two books: Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies (Palgrave Macmillan 2009) and Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father (PublicAffairs 2015). I've published essays and articles in venues including Time, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The New Republic, USA Today, and The Daily Beast and have been interviewed by The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, MSNBC, Fox News, and the BBC. I previously served on the Board of Directors of the Center for National Policy and the Truman Educational Institute and am a principal of the Truman National Security Project. You can see more about my writing at www.michaelsigner.com.
Earlier in my career I served as counsel to Governor Mark Warner in Richmond, as senior strategist for Tom Perriello’s 2008 campaign for Congress, as legislative aide to then-Delegate Creigh Deeds, as national security director of the 2008 John Edwards for President campaign, and as senior policy advisor at the Center for American Progress. I was also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2009. That year, I was appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to a four-year term on Virginia’s Board of Medicine. I was a member of the Finance Committee for Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign for governor and was chair of the Governor-elect’s Transition Council on Homeland Security. In 2016, Governor McAuliffe appointed me to the Council on Virginia's Future.
I hold a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, where I was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; a J.D. from the University of Virginia; and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Princeton University. I was raised in Arlington, Virginia, where I attended public schools.
I'm married to Dr. Emily Blout. She teaches at American University's School of Communication and holds a Ph.D. in Iranian Studies from the University of St. Andrews. We live with our twin boys William and Jacoby in Fifeville in a home we've owned since 2005.
Please contact me at mike [at] mikesigner [dot] com with questions or suggestions. Thank you!