Michael Hensley served as the Chairman for the University of Tennessee’s newly reinstated Young Americans for Freedom chapter from 2013 to 2015 where he brought in speakers like Marc Thiessen, Lt. Col. Allen West, Stephen Moore, Katie Pavlich, and Kate Obenshain to Rocky Top. Hensley successfully led three 9/11 Never Forget Projects and Freedom Week initiatives to thank local veterans for their military service.
Hensley attended conferences at the Reagan Ranch, several YAF training seminars in Washington, D.C., the National Conservative Student Conference, as well as a Freedom conference in New England. Hensley also served as an ambassador at the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy and as co-director of the student body’s Government Affairs committee.
While finishing his political science degree, Hensley began working in the district office of U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan. In this position, he served as a liaison between constituents and federal agencies to help resolve casework matters.
During the 2016 presidential election, Hensley was appointed to serve as a county chairman on Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. He was elected as one of the youngest presidential delegates in the country to attend the national convention in support of Marco Rubio.
“YAF is the single organization I can point to that helped launch my career in public service. It helped me connect the dots to understand how I could turn my conservative beliefs into meaningful change that improves people’s lives,” Hensley states. “I realized it wasn’t enough just to believe in these ideals, I had to become actively engaged in the process to move the needle forward. YAF provided me with the toolkit I needed to refine my skills and abilities. This gave me the self-confidence to step into positions of leadership.”
In 2018, Hensley was tapped to lead Marsha Blackburn’s political and field operation in East Tennessee in her campaign for United States Senate. On election night, his team helped secure 64 percent of the vote in 21 counties throughout East Tennessee.
Upon her election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Blackburn appointed Hensley to manage her federal field operation in East Tennessee. His portfolio consists of 13 counties where he works with elected officials, business owners, community leaders, and constituents to identify federal issues where the Senator can propose legislative solutions.
“YAF provides an expansive network of like-minded individuals. I never felt like I was alone in my activism, which gave me the courage to persevere through a number of setbacks and challenges. Some of the students I worked with on different campuses across the country became my best friends. I still cross paths with many of them in professional circles,” Hensley states. “YAF’s roots run deep in our country, and I am proud to be an alumnus of such an effective organization for positive conservative change.”
Hensley’s leadership and service to Young America’s Foundation and the Tennessee community in advocating for conservative principles displays the best attributes the Conservative Movement can hope to offer.
“My advice to any prospective student: show up and YAF will meet you there. The organization will walk alongside you and provide you with the resources you need to take your activism to the next level. The next generation is counting on you to preserve the principles of faith, family, freedom, hope & opportunity.”