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Congressmen Visit Fisher for Two Days of Talks

March 11, 2019

This week, two former members of congress, one democrat and one republican, will spend two days at St. John Fisher College for a series of discussions around timely and important political topics.

Congress to Campus Logo

Congressman Larry Larocco (D-ID) and Congressman Tim Petri (R-WI) will visit Fisher through the Congress to Campus program, sponsored by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership. The goal of the program is to give college students the rare opportunity to interact with former members of Congress to learn about public service, the legislative process, and public affairs. They will be on campus Wednesday, March 13 and Thursday, March 14.

While at Fisher, Larocco and Petri will hold discussions with history, American studies, political science, and business classes, among others. They will also meet with small groups of students from the Student Government Association, Pre-Law Club, and Political Action Club, as well as candidates in the Executive Leadership Ed.D. program.

See the Full Schedule

The Congressmen’s visit to campus was organized by Dr. Kathleen Donovan, assistant professor of political science and advisor to Fisher’s Political Action Club, in collaboration with Maya Temperley, director of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Government Affairs. Donovan believes the Congress to Campus program will help students better understand how lawmaking and the political process work, and make the abstract concept of “Washington” more concrete.

 “What is great about this program is that it connects across so many content areas. Not only will political science students get to hear firsthand about campaigning and governing, but history students will hear the legislative perspective on military and security issues, and accounting students will hear about making tax policy,” she explained. “My hope is that students will leave feeling more informed about the political process, and more capable of participating in it. The goal is partially to show students the connections between politics and their own interests. Regardless of major, I hope students leave wanting to stay informed on topics that are important to them.”

LaRocco is a former democratic Member of Congress who represented the First District of Idaho from 1991 to 1995. While in Congress, he served on the influential House Financial Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee.

A leader in the intersection of financial services and public policy, his career in finance started in 1973 in Idaho’s banking industry, including work as an executive in the securities sector with Shearson Lehman Hutton and Piper Jaffray. After Congress, he served for five years as managing director of the American Bankers Association for affiliate organizations in securities and insurance. In 2000, he co-founded LaRocco & Associates, Inc. with his son and in 2003, LaRocco joined Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations and led the organization as its president.

U.S. Representative Tim Petri represented Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District for 18 terms until his retirement at the end of the 113th Congress (January 2015).  He was a senior member of both the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. In the 113th Congress, he served as Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee and previously served as chair of the Aviation Subcommittee. A lawyer in private practice in Wisconsin, Petri also served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1973 to 1979.

In addition to his legislative work, Petri at various times in his career served as the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives-British Parliament exchange, the House French and German Caucuses, and was an active participant in U.S. House-Japanese Diet discussions.  In appreciation of his efforts, in November 2015 Japanese Emperor Akihito conferred on Petri honorary membership in the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver level, and in early 2016, Queen Elizabeth II made Petri an honorary Officer of the British Empire.