Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has been appointed to a prestigious national commission that will focus on policy recommendations on electoral system reform, congressional reform and encouragement of greater public service. The 23-member Commission is an effort of the Bipartisan Policy Center chaired by Senator Tom Daschle, Secretary Dan Glickman, Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Senator Trent Lott and Senator Olympia Snowe.
The announcement of the Commission was made in an editorial in USA Today by Snowe and Glickman. The Commission will hold conversations on American unity around the country, starting March 6 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in California.
“I am honored to serve on the Commission on Political Reform,” says Gearan. “This is a critical time in our nation’s history, one that will demand new models of collaboration across ideologies, parties and generations. It has been my good fortune to work with the Millennial Generation and see their talents and strengths. They are the most civically engaged and service-minded generation since the Greatest Generation of World War II. By combining pragmatic idealism with a dedication to service at the local, national and international levels, the Millennial Generation has the capacity to create real change. I am very optimistic for our nation’s future given the qualities and characteristics of this generation. But we owe it to them and future generations to foster a political environment where bipartisan solutions are sought and civility is prized. The Commission on Political Reform will be an important step forward.”
Joining Gearan on the commission are leading Republican and Democratic officeholders, former Administration officials, business leaders and academics. Members include: the President and CEO of eBay John Donahoe; Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy and co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate; former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; Yale University Law Professor Heather Gerken; former George W. Bush Administration officials Karen Hughes and Michael Gerson; and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, among others.
Gearan, who headed the Peace Corps before accepting the HWS presidency in 1999, is chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee and co-chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College. He is the past chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Annapolis Group and the National Campus Compact.
Prior to his Peace Corps directorship, Gearan served in the White House as assistant to the President and director of communications, as well as deputy chief of staff during the Clinton administration. During the 1992 presidential campaign, he managed the campaign of Al Gore, segueing to the position of deputy director of President-elect Clinton’s transition team.
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue. Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, BPC combines politically-balanced policymaking with strong, proactive advocacy and outreach.
The BPC’s Commission on Political Reform will launch with a town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:00PM EST. USA TODAY’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page will moderate the conversation with more than a dozen commission members – including national political figures, volunteer and religious leaders, business executives, academics, state and local elected officials, and journalists. The national conversation will examine how polarized our country is, the causes of that polarization and its effect on our government and decision-makers.
The public can participate in the discussion in real time by watching the webcast and submitting questions to the commissioners prior to and during the event: Tweet at @BPC_Bipartisan using the hashtag #EngageUSA; Post on BPC’s Facebook pag; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the webcast here.