Congress Members Visit Stonehill
February 23, 2011
Sponsored by the Congress to Campus program, two former members of Congress visited Stonehill recently to give students a real life perspective on how things work politically in the U.S. today.
During their two day visit, Richard Stallings (Democrat, Idaho) and Robert Simmons (Republican, Connecticut) conducted classes, held forums, and met with students in groups as well as one on one. They shared their insights on the legislative process, the value of public service, and the meaning of leadership in contemporary politics.
Summit editor Matt Gorman '11 spent time with the former congressmen, introducing them to SGA Senate and touring them around campus, and he found the encounter candid and refreshingly unscripted:
"Since they are no longer in office, they were more candid about their time there and the issues of the day. It's rare to be able to interact with either former or current members of Congress in such an unscripted and personal way. In conversations, it becomes very evident very quickly that politics and government are the driving forces in their professional lives, yet it is also nice to hear about their families and talk to them as you would anyone else."
Our students heard first-hand from experienced politicians what the strengths and weaknesses of our system really are. It was an invaluable encounter that successfully integrated practice with theory," said Martin Institute Director Peter Ubertaccio.
Their political differences notwithstanding, however, they are both concerned about declining participation in elections/political life and the demise of civic literacy.
Stallings represented the Idaho Second District in the House of Representatives from 1985-1993. Stallings also served in several other state and local political offices over the course of a 22-year political career.
Simmons represented Connecticut's Second District in the House of Representatives from 2001-2007. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Simmons was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and was involved in issues concerning the district's major defense presence at the Electric Boat submarine shipyard in Groton and the nearby Naval Submarine Base New London.
The U. S. Association of Former Members of Congress created the Congress to Campus Program in an effort to improve college students' understanding of Congress and American government and to encourage them to consider careers in public service. Beginning in 1996, the Stennis Center partnered with the Association to assist in managing the program.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.