Thursday, October 16, 2008

Former White House Staffer Discusses 'Presidential Transition' at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — A veteran staffer of the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations as well as an advisor to Presidents Ford and Carter is coming to Washington College to discuss the upcoming changing-of-the-guard in the White House. Stephen Hess, acclaimed author and Senior Fellow Emeritus in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, will present "Presidential Transition: The Strange History of Hitting the Ground Stumbling" at the Casey Academic Center Forum on Thursday, October 23, at 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs.

Hess, Distinguished Research Professor of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, is the author of the newly published What Do We Do Now? A Workbook for the President-elect. Like his upcoming Washington College lecture, the book covers the eventful transition phase that follows a presidential election. The period from Election Day to Inauguration Day in America seems impossibly short. Newly elected U.S. presidents have less than 11 weeks to construct a new government composed of supporters and strangers, hailing from all parts of the nation.

This unique and daunting process always involves at least some mistakes in hiring, perhaps, or in policy priorities, or organizational design. Early blunders can carry serious consequences well into a president's term; minimizing them from the outset is critical.

Hess has been engaged in presidential transitions since he was a young speechwriter in the Eisenhower White House. He returned to the White House with President Richard Nixon, helped Jimmy Carter reorganize the Executive Office, and advised the presidential transition teams of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

In addition to his latest work, Hess is the author of a number of other books as well, includingThrough Their Eyes: Foreign Correspondents in the United States and Organizing the Presidency.

The Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs was established in 1990 to encourage students to enter public service by introducing them to exemplary leaders, both in and out of government. The Goldstein Program has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders and government officials of both national and international stature.

The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy.

Admission to "Presidential Transition: The Strange History of Hitting the Ground Stumbling" is free and open to the public.

October 16, 2008

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