This week a Senator stopped by the SEGL residence! After dinner on Thursday, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) spent more than an hour with our students, answering questions about his career, his values, and his commitment to bipartisanship. (Indeed, former New York Times columnist and Executive Editor Bill Keller once called him “The Last Bipartisan.”)
After a brief introduction to his life and career (a former college basketball player, he was “dribbling his way through life” until he found law school and then a passion for working with the elderly), we settled in for an energetic question and answer session that was peppered with good humor and compelling anecdotes.
A sampling of questions: “What is your biggest regret or failure in public life, and what are your reflections on that?” “What was your toughest election and how did you get through it?” “What question do you wish people people would ask you, and what is your answer to that question?” (To this last question he replied, “I wish people would ask the Presidential candidates, ‘What is one initiative you would be willing to work on with people on the other side of the aisle?'” He then gave several of his own answers to that question.)
Part of what makes SEGL special is the opportunity to meet with top leaders behind-the-scenes and off-the-record. Yes, photo ops and handshakes are fun, but what is it really like to sit at the table and try to lead? This week our students got to learn those lessons.