American society is continually evolving, and Congress is struggling to keep pace. Deepening polarization in Washington has only worsened the gridlock, and the need for congressional reform has never been greater. Hear US Representative Derek Kilmer and Former US Representative Mickey Edwards explain their ideas to improve Congress and discuss the challenges to their efforts.
The Center for the Study of Democratic Politics invites you to join us for this discussion, co-sponsored by the School for Public and International Affairs.
Derek Kilmer serves as the United States Representative of Washington’s 6th Congressional District.
Congressman Kilmer worked as a business consultant for McKinsey & Company in Washington, D.C., before moving on to the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. He served in the Washington State House from 2005 to 2007, and the State Senate from 2007 to 2012.
Congressman Kilmer was elected to his sixth term in the House in 2022. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee, the Interior and Environment Subcommittee, the Defense Subcommittee, and the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee. He was also appointed to serve as the chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a bipartisan committee formed to investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations to make Congress more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of the American people.
He received a BA from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a doctorate from the University of Oxford in England. Congressman Kilmer lives in Gig Harbor, WA, with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.
Former U.S. Representative Mickey Edwards served in the House for 16 years, chairing his party’s policy committee and serving as a ranking member of both the House Appropriations and Budget committees and the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations.
After leaving Congress, Mr. Edwards taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before joining the SPIA faculty. Later, after returning to Washington as a vice president of the Aspen Institute, a position he still holds, he continued to teach occasionally at several universities. He remains affiliated with SPIA, as a Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs and the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor.
Mr. Edwards was one of the three founding trustees of the Heritage Foundation and national chairman of both the American Conservative Union and Washington’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference. He has also served as a political advisor and journalist. Mr. Edwards is the author of four books and the co-author of a fifth, has contributed chapters in a number of others, and is a prolific public speaker.
Mr. Edwards is married to Dr. Elizabeth Sherman, an award-winning professor of government at American University and former director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
Lauren A. Wright is an Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on The Presidency and Executive Power, Women and Politics, and Political Communication. Wright is the author of Star Power: American Democracy in the Age of the Celebrity Candidate (Routledge, 2020) and On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today (Praeger, 2016). A frequent guest political analyst, she has appeared on BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, and Fox News. Her research and commentary have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle, Glamour, The Atlantic, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The Hill, and The Huffington Post. Wright graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Wake Forest University and received a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University with a concentration in American politics and political methodology. She is a board member of The White House Transition project and previously served as Field Representative for Meg Whitman’s campaign for Governor of California.