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Bipartisan Policy Center Announces New Commission On Political Reform

Top Political and Civic Leaders Launch "National Conversations on American Unity" in a Town Hall Event at Reagan Library on March 6

Americans Across the Country Invited to Join Dialogue Online

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) announced the creation of a new Commission on Political Reform (CPR) to understand the causes and consequences of America's partisan political divide and to recommend reforms to help Americans achieve shared national goals.

The commission will be co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS), former Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), former Senator, Governor and Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID), and former Representative and Secretary Dan Glickman (D-KS).  The co-chairs will be joined by 25 other Americans, including volunteer and religious leaders, veterans, business executives, academics, state and local elected officials and journalists. The full list follows.

"Our body politic is ailing, suffering gridlock and polarization so severe that Americans are questioning whether their government can perform even its basic functions, let alone address the big issues. We think it's time to give our political system some 'CPR,' and we want to help the American people make it happen," said Snowe, who is joining BPC as a senior fellow.

The commission will hold a series of "National Conversations on American Unity" starting on March 6, 2013 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in California.  Throughout the next year the commission will also host forums in other cities across the country, including: Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; and Boston.

"Democrats and Republicans are not just more divided ideologically, but less collaborative in practice than at any time in our careers.  Even more troublingly, we suspect that the divide is not limited to Washington; that much of America is now riven along party lines, goaded to partisanship by increasingly shrill voices in politics, the media, and well-funded interests on both sides," wrote Snowe and Glickman in an op-ed for USA TODAY .

Through these forums and via social media platforms, the commission will engage the public in a national campaign to ensure America continues to be a role model for democracies around the world.  "Average Americans of differing political and cultural views also need to begin talking with one another—just as politicians in Washington must—if we are to bridge the partisan divide and compel action," continued Snowe and Glickman.

In 2014, the commission will present recommendations to the American people in three areas: electoral system reform, congressional procedural improvements, and promoting public service. 

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