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Campus and community invited to hear from longtime congressmen

March 26, 2015

Two longtime congressional leaders will be on campus Monday, April 13 to discuss crucial issues for Wisconsin residents — and the importance of civic participation in bipartisan discussion on key policy issues.

The forum is hosted by the UW–Madison Office of Federal Relations in partnership with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, the David R. Obey Civic Resource Center, the Wisconsin Humanities Council/Working Lives Project, UW–Madison Department of Political Science, the Robert La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Elections Research Center at UW–Madison. It will be held at Tripp Commons, Memorial Union, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Topics may include the process of how Congress creates and passes budgets, how representatives balance national issues with district responsibilities, opportunities and challenges for careers in public service and an overview of major policy topics, such as the U.S. economy, the future of health care, the state of higher education, infrastructure needs and security issues.

The speakers include:

Photo: Tom Petri

Tom Petri

Former Congressman Tom Petri, who represented Wisconsin’s 6th District from 1979 to 2015 and served as a Wisconsin State Senator from 1973 to 1979. After earning degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Petri was clerk to a federal judge, served as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development before taking up a law practice in Fond du Lac. In Congress, Petri served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Ethics Committee, among many other assignments. A persistent foe of government waste, Petri earned high marks from fiscal watchdog organizations and was named a “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Federation of Independent Business. Important Petri legislative initiatives have included student loan reform, the federal highway program, cost-sharing for federal water projects, tax and welfare reform, banking reform, campaign finance reform and health care reform.

Photo: Dave Obey

Dave Obey

Former Congressman Dave Obey, who represented Wisconsin’s 7th District in the House of Representatives for 42 years. The longest-serving member of Congress in Wisconsin history, Obey was a key leader in congressional reform efforts and chaired the committee that wrote a new code of ethics for the House. Throughout his career, he has been a leader of progressive forces on issues including worker rights, education, health care, medical research, environmental protection and international relations. He currently serves as a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service and on the Board of the National Alliance for Behavioral Health. He is a 1962 graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and received undergraduate and master of arts degrees in political science, with a focus on Russian area studies.

Students, staff, faculty and members of the general public are welcome to attend this free event. RSVP by April 7.