At a public forum next week, former U.S. Ambassador to China and former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson from Wyoming will discuss the current dysfunction in the U.S. Senate and the political system and the role civility may play in repairing the political process.
This community event is sponsored by Yellowstone Public Radio and Montana State University Billings.
The public is invited to attend this free community forum on Monday, Dec. 4, at Cisel Recital Hall on the MSU Billings campus. Seating is first-come, first-served. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum will run from 6 to 7.
The event will be broadcast live on YPR and video-streamed live on ypradio.org. The audience at Cisel will have the opportunity to submit questions to the panel.
The public forum will explore how hyper-partisanship and the lack of compromise has hamstrung the passage of basic legislation as well as complex issues like healthcare and tax reform. Both Baucus and Simpson can cite examples where they were involved in bipartisan solutions. They also will discuss possible ways to bring civility back to our political discourse.
Baucus, a Democrat, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and served until 2014, making him the longest-serving Senator in Montana history. He rose to chair the Senate Finance Committee and played an influential role in crafting the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Baucus served as U.S. Ambassador to China from 2014 to 2017.
Simpson, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978. He served as a Senate Republican whip from 1985 to 1995 and declined to seek re-election in 1996. Since leaving office, Simpson has served on a number of commissions, including an appointment by then-President Barack Obama as co-chair of the national Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Simpson has also been a vocal proponent of campaign finance reform.