WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) announced the creation of a new Commission on Political Reform (CPR) to understand the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to recommend reforms to help Americans achieve shared national goals. The commission will be co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS), former Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), former Senator, Governor and Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID), and former Representative and Secretary Dan Glickman (D-KS).
The co-chairs will be joined by 25 other Americans, including volunteer and religious leaders, veterans, business executives, academics, state and local elected officials and journalists. The full list follows.
“Our body politic is ailing, suffering gridlock and polarization so severe that Americans are questioning whether their government can perform even its basic functions, let alone address the big issues. We think it’s time to give our political system some ‘CPR,’ and we want to help the American people make it happen,” said Snowe, who is joining BPC as a senior fellow.
The commission will hold a series of “National Conversations on American Unity” starting on March 6, 2013 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in California. Throughout the next year the commission will also host forums in other cities across the country, including: Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; and Boston.
“Democrats and Republicans are not just more divided ideologically, but less collaborative in practice than at any time in our careers. Even more troublingly, we suspect that the divide is not limited to Washington; that much of America is now riven along party lines, goaded to partisanship by increasingly shrill voices in politics, the media, and well-funded interests on both sides,” wrote Snowe and Glickman in an op-ed for USA TODAY.
Through these forums and via social media platforms, the commission will engage the public in a national campaign to ensure America continues to be a role model for democracies around the world. “Average Americans of differing political and cultural views also need to begin talking with one another—just as politicians in Washington must—if we are to bridge the partisan divide and compel action,” continued Snowe and Glickman.
In 2014, the commission will present recommendations to the American people in three areas: electoral system reform, congressional procedural improvements, and promoting public service.
“Even today’s heightened divisions should not doom America to gridlock. The U.S. political system has to function despite the divide between the parties,” concluded Snowe and Glickman.
Check the website daily for new blogs and videos featuring the commissioners, information about upcoming Twitter Q&A sessions, and facts about bipartisanship. Questions and comments from the public will be incorporated into the “National Conversations on American Unity” in real time starting on March 6.
Commission on Political Reform Co-Chairs:
Tom Daschle, Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader (D-SD); Co-founder, BPC
Dan Glickman, Former U.S. Representative (D-KS) and Secretary of Agriculture; Senior Fellow, BPC
Dirk Kempthorne, Former U.S. Senator (R-ID), Governor and Secretary of the Interior; President and CEO, American Council of Life Insurers
Trent Lott, Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader (R-MS); Senior Fellow, BPC
Olympia Snowe, Former U.S. Senator (R-ME); Senior Fellow, BPC
Commission on Political Reform Members:
Hope Andrade, Former Texas Secretary of State (R)
Molly Barker, Founder, Girls on the Run (a transformational learning program for 8 to 13-year-old girls)
Henry Bonilla, Former U.S. Representative (R-TX); Partner, the Normandy Group
John Bridgeland, Former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council; Former Director, USA Freedom Corps; President and CEO, Civic Enterprises
John Donahoe, President and CEO, eBay Inc.
Susan Eisenhower, Chairman of Leadership and Public Policy Programs, Eisenhower Institute; President, Eisenhower Group, Inc.
Floyd H. Flake, Former U.S. Representative (D-NY); Pastor, Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral
Mark D. Gearan, Former Director, Peace Corps; President, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Heather Gerken, J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Michael Gerson, Former Speechwriter for President George W. Bush; Columnist, The Washington Post
Charles Gonzalez, Former U.S. Representative (D-TX)
Jennifer M. Granholm, Former Governor of Michigan (D)
Antonia Hernandez, President and CEO, California Community Foundation
Karen Hughes, Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; Worldwide Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller
Victoria Kennedy, Co-founder, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
Chris Marvin, Managing Director, “Got Your 6” (a campaign to bridge the gap between the military and civilians); Afghanistan War Veteran, U.S. Army
David McIntosh, Former U.S. Representative (R-IN); Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
Eric L. Motley, Ph.D. Former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush; Vice President, the Aspen Institute
Deborah Pryce, Former U.S. Representative (R-OH); Principal, Ice Miller Whiteboard
Reihan Salam, Lead Writer, National Review Online’s “The Agenda”
Kurt L. Schmoke, Former Mayor of Baltimore (D); Vice President and General Counsel, Howard University
Margaret Spellings, Former U.S. Secretary of Education (R); President and CEO, Margaret Spellings and Company
Diane Tomb, President and CEO, National Association of Women Business Owners
Ronald A. Williams, Former Chairman and CEO, Aetna Inc; Founder, RW-2 Enterprises, LLC
Elaine Wynn, Director, Wynn Resorts