Acting Dean Andrew Card welcomed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the Bush School on February 20. A capacity crowd heard Leader Pelosi discuss the importance of public service exemplified by George Bush, 41st President of the United States, and Barbara Bush, both of whom attended the presentation. Also in the audience were Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, former Congressman Chet Edwards, A&M Chancellor John Sharp, and President Bowen Loftin.
Dean Card moderated the discussion, noting that this and other presentations demonstrated the School’s commitment to bipartisan and civil discussion of major issues. Pelosi praised both President Bush and Dean Card for their public service, and Card in turn cited Pelosi’s service as the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives and the first woman to lead a major political party in Congress as a breakthrough for women.
Leader Pelosi said it was a privilege to spend President’s Day with President George Bush: “His name and his presidency are synonymous with the word ‘civility,’ something that is badly needed,” she added. She discussed several topics of current interest, including the national debate over whether religious institutions should be required to provide their employees with contraception. Pelosi said that she, as a devout Catholic, viewed the debate as intensely personal, not about contraception per se, but about women’s right to health care.
Part of the day’s activities included taking the graduation photo for second year Bush School students with the President. Bush School MPIA student Kate Rezabek noted how great it was to be able to interact with a former president as well as world and national leaders. “Having President and Mrs. Bush on campus makes such a difference to my educational experience. President Bush is always eager to interact with students and to discuss topics of current interest,” she added.
In another example of the School’s commitment to bipartisanship, James Carville, former lead strategist for President Bill Clinton and his wife Mary Matalin, a Republican political consultant, will be on campus on February 24 to discuss a range of political topics.