WASHINGTON – The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) today announced that former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican, will join the organization’s national advisory board as co-chair. Whitman, a two-term governor who also served as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will pair with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to chair a board that includes former President Bill Clinton, former Senators Alan Simpson and Olympia Snowe; former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell; and journalists including Katie Couric and NPR’s Scott Simon.
“Washington desperately needs a course correction and our elected officials must get back to prioritizing the people’s business over their own partisan positions,” said Whitman, who authored the New York Times bestseller “It’s My Party Too” focused on reestablishing dialogue across the aisle to find compromise. “It’s an honor to join the esteemed board of the National Institute for Civil Discourse as the organization works to help Americans come together, listen to one another, and find common ground on the issues impacting our country.”
Elected as New Jersey’s first female governor, Whitman served as the 50th Governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001. She built bipartisan partnerships and secured broad support for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. Whitman became EPA Administrator in 2001, serving two years as part of the administration of President George W. Bush, where she promoted common-sense environmental improvements such as watershed-based water protection policies. She championed regulations requiring non-road diesel engines to reduce sulfur emissions by more than 95 percent. She currently leads the Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm that specializes in government relations and environmental and energy issues.
“Throughout her career in public service, Christine Todd Whitman has demonstrated that Republicans and Democrats can develop strong relationships and work together to make progress on tough issues,” said Keith Allred, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. “She will be an excellent leader for the organization and I look forward to working with her to strengthen civility across the country.”
NICD’s broad grassroots programming works with thousands of people every year in elementary schools, on college campuses, in state capitols, and in local communities, teaching the skills needed to improve conversations, demonstrate respect, and find common ground. Whitman succeeds former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has served as honorary co-chair with Daschle since the organization’s launch in 2011 as part of her commitment to advance civic learning and engagement. In October, O’Connor announced her intention to step away from public life following her diagnosis of dementia.
“As the first woman on the United States Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor has been a trailblazing leader of our nation, an inspiring and eloquent jurist, and a dedicated public servant,” Daschle said. “Beyond her history-making tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor provided invaluable support and wise counsel as co-chair of the National Institute for Civil Discourse advisory board. We are grateful for her important work advancing civic engagement and were fortunate to collaborate with her on her iCivics initiative to instill civic values in our country’s young people. Justice O’Connor is an American icon and we will work to continue her legacy for many years to come.”
About the National Institute for Civil Discourse
The National Institute for Civil Discourse, is a non-profit, non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavioral change. Informed by research, NICD’s programs are designed to create opportunities for elected officials, the media, and the public to engage different voices respectfully and take responsibility for the quality of our public discourse and effectiveness of our democratic institutions. Their National Advisory Board includes former President Bill Clinton; former Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe; former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell; and journalists including Katie Couric and NPR’s Scott Simon.