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UAlbany welcomes former members of Congress for two days of education and inspiration

U.S. Capitol BuildingHave political aspirations? Interested in how government works? Curious about the inner workings of politics? The UAlbany community will get a firsthand look at life in the political arena when two former Congressmen visit campus October 28-30, through the Congress to Campus Program. Honorable Jack W. Buechner (R-Missouri) and Honorable Andy Jacobs, Jr.,(D- Indiana) will be on hand for a series of events to educate, encourage and inspire students to consider public service and government careers.

The Congress to Campus Program sends bipartisan pairs of former members of Congress to visit college campuses all over the country for two and a half days of classes, forums, informal meetings with university and community members, and interviews with local press and media. Both Buechner and Jacobs bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge about the legislative process.

While in Congress for two terms in 1987 and 1989, Jack Buechner served in the Republican leadership as Vice-Chairman of the Republican Study Committee and as a Deputy Whip to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He also served two terms in the leadership of the Missouri State House of Representatives where he was a member of the Advisory Board of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Before being elected to Congress, Mr. Buechner founded his own law firm in St. Louis and practiced law for 18 years. Since leaving Congress, he has served as President of the International Republican Institute (IRI), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that provides training in civic education, political party building, communications strategy and electoral processes in emerging democracies. He is also president of Presidential Classroom, which takes students behind the scenes of our nation's capital for seminars and discussions featuring members of Congress, Presidential appointees, journalists and other Washington insiders and names in the news.

Andy Jacobs served fifteen terms in Congress beginning in 1964. He was appointed to the Judiciary Committee where he helped write the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act. He lost his bid for re-election in 1972 but was re-elected in 1974 and during his tenure served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, as well as the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Social Security. Nationally praised as being one of the most frugal members of congress, Jacobs gave the speech in Congress which stopped a 300 percent increase in a sales tax and in 1976 authored the “Payment Book Amendment” to the Constitution which required a balanced annual budget with mandatory retirement of the national debt.

"...this visit allows them to speak one-on-one with individuals who served in highest office and have insights into how to succeed in public life.”UAlbany was selected to be part of this program due in large part to Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy and Political Science, Julian Zelizer, who teaches for the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. Dr. Zelizer applied to the Program as an outgrowth of his interest, teaching and writing about Congress since the 1940s and the roots of the current style of legislative politics.

 “This visit will give students the unique opportunity to meet and talk with two individuals who served in one of the most important offices in the land,” said Zelizer. “While most students only learn about politicians through the media, this visit allows them to speak one-on-one with individuals who served in highest office and have insights into how to succeed in public life.”  There will be an Open House and public lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. in the Campus Center Assembly Hall.

In the latest U.S. News & World Report survey, UAlbany’s Rockefeller College is ranked 12th in the nation for Public Affairs and 8th for Public Management. The Congress to Campus Program was founded in 1976 by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and is managed in partnership with the Stennis Center for Public Service.

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