UW Today

September 18, 2015

Former U.S. Senators Lott, Daschle to discuss plan for ‘civility and democracy’ at Sept. 24 Ruckelshaus Center event

News and Information

In a sense, early returns from the 2016 election are already in: Civility is losing to vitriol in a landslide.

But two former U.S. senators who each served as Senate majority leaders — Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi and Democrat Tom Daschle of South Dakota — have been promoting a plan to restore civility to governing.

On September 24, the two will present some of these ideas to an audience of state legislators, university representatives, business leaders and members of the community in the Grand Lobby of Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street, from noon to 1:30 p.m., as part of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center‘s fifth annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon.

The center is jointly run by the University of Washington and Washington State University through the Evans School for Public Policy and Governance and WSU Extension. Its mission is to be a neutral resource for collaborative problem-solving in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

At the heart of the discussion is “A Bipartisan Blueprint for Civility & Democracy,” a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 by Daschle along with former senators Howard Baker, Bob Dole and George Mitchell. The group’s website says it “drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue.”

The blueprint’s recommendations for reform include:

  • Creation of a single, nationwide primary date and a five-day work week for Congress.
  • Disclosure of all political contributions, including those made to outside or independent groups such as political action committees, or PACS.
  • Requiring that all Americans 18 to 28 years old commit to a year of “service to their communities and to the nation” by military service, civilian service, nonprofits or religious entities.

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Press interested in this sold-out event should contact Erin McCarthy, development and communications coordinator for the center, at 206-219-2418 or erin.e.mccarthy@wsu.edu.