Tag Archives: U.S. House of Representatives


Kyl to receive honorary degree from Thunderbird

Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D. will award former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl with a doctorate of international law honoris causa on Friday, Dec. 13 during Thunderbird’s fall commencement ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Thunderbird Event Center.

Kyl has been a friend to Thunderbird over the years, most notably serving as a special adviser to former Thunderbird President Barbara Barrett during a period of leadership transition in 2012. Last year, he also took time to speak with 27 Haitian businesswomen who were receiving training at Thunderbird through a partnership with the U.S. Department of State and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative.

Kyl has shown a long commitment to his country, serving 18 years in the U.S. Senate after serving for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues in 2008 to serve as Republican Whip, the second-highest position in the Senate Republican leadership. He held this position until his retirement from the Senate in 2013.

TIME magazine recognized Kyl as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People” in 2010, and as one of the 10 best senators in 2006. Capitol Hill’s newspaper, The Hill, identified him as one of the “25 hardest working lawmakers.”

“For his extraordinary accomplishments in the area of public service and his commitment to the ideals for which Thunderbird stands, we are proud to recognize Senator Kyl with an honorary degree from Thunderbird,” Dr. Penley said.

In its nearly 70 year history, Thunderbird previously has bestowed just 40 honorary degrees. This rare acknowledgement has been awarded to such international figures as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Douglas Daft, the former chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola; the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater; Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic; former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and Thunderbird President Barbara Barrett; Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, and Álvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia.

Kyl also will deliver the keynote address during Thunderbird’s fall commencement this Friday, when the No.1-ranked international business school will graduate 197 students from 14 programs and 26 countries.

Kyl currently serves as Senior Advisor at Covington and Burling, LLP and is a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona.

Commencement will be held on Thunderbird’s campus at 59th Avenue and Greenway Road in Glendale in the Thunderbird Event Center. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Commencement is a ticketed event to ensure seating for families of the graduates.




ASU names Kyl Distinguished Fellow, Scholar

Former United States Senator Jon Kyl has accepted a part-time appointment at Arizona State University as Distinguished Fellow in Public Service in the ASU College of Public Programs and as O’Connor Distinguished Scholar of Law and Public Service in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU.

The Senate’s former No. 2 Republican leader will work primarily in Washington, D.C. and will begin this new role with ASU immediately.   Recognized in 2010 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, Kyl was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 and retired at the end of his third term In January of this year.  Before serving the Senate, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995 and earlier worked as a lawyer and lobbyist in Phoenix.

Kyl, who received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Arizona, recently joined Covington & Burling, the largest law firm in the nation’s capitol.

“Jon Kyl has long been one of the nation’s most important political leaders,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.  “He has taken a thoughtful approach to important issues and has been a statesman at time when statesmanship was sometimes lacking.  ASU students will benefit greatly from his experience and perspective.”

At ASU he will teach classes and convene discussion groups on a range of issues, including immigration reform, sequestration and the debt ceiling, tax and entitlement reform, and national security and foreign policy.  Other topics will involve internal Congressional issues such as the role of politics and compromise, party discipline, lobbying and why Congress is so contentious.

“ASU has made tremendous progress in the last decade,” said Kyl. ”I am excited to work in such a dynamic environment. Twenty six years in Congress taught me a lot, and much of it is not quite what the textbooks teach.  Hopefully, I can impart some ‘real life’ lessons about our national government and major policy issues to students at ASU.”

“We are delighted that Senator Kyl will be joining us as O’Connor Distinguished Scholar of Law and Public Service,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the O’Connor College of Law.  “He is one of Arizona’s most respected and experienced public servants, and we are looking forward to the invaluable perspective he will bring our students and our law school community through his years of distinguished leadership and government service.”

Added Dean Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs, “What a great opportunity for ASU to learn from a legislator who has been a key player on issues that affect every Arizonan.

“At a time when the political process is widely disparaged, ASU students who already are drawn to public service will get the chance to see how one person can make a difference by following the path to elective office.  Senator Kyl has shown himself equally passionate about opening students’ eyes to the realities of policy making in Washington and the substantive issues, like water policy and immigration, that will shape the future of Arizona.”

Arizona Gains Seat House of Representatives

Arizona Gains One House Of Representatives Seat From The 2010 Census

It all starts with the census! The American Constitution mandates that every ten years our federal government must run a census. Once the census is complete, there is a massive political trickle-down effect.

The first and most obvious result of a new census is changes to congressional representation. There are 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they apportioned out to states based on percent of overall population. States that have populations which have grown in the last decade will have seats added. States that have shrunk in population will lose seats.

Arizona has been on the growth side of this equation for a number of decades. At statehood, Arizona got its first seat in the U.S. House. It added a second seat in 1940, and then gained one seat each census from 1960 through 1990, putting us at six seats. In 2000, Arizona gained two seats, and now in 2010 another one will be added to put Arizona at nine. This means Arizona will have more of a voice in the U.S. House as well as more importance in the Electoral College for Presidential races. Arizona’s nine seats tie us with Indiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee and put us behind only thirteen states that have a larger number (although we are right next door to the biggest; California has 53).

So, what do we do with this extra seat? After a census we redistrict. Arizona will now have to redraw the maps that determine where our congressional districts are. The eight current districts will need to be turned into nine. This can be one of the ugliest processes in the entire American political system. And that also leads to a wonderful term called gerrymandering. Redistricting is political. It is logical that parties want to gain more support and will try to use this process to give themselves an advantage.

It is hard to explain, but easy to illustrate. Take a scenario of a state where the two major parties are almost equally divided, and they are redistricting for nine seats. (This is not Arizona’s scenario as Republicans have a significant registration edge.) You might think that drawing a new map would be easy and fair.

We might have a number of competitive districts and maybe an outcome of five Republicans and four Democrats. Now let’s say one party could control that process. If I were a Republican in control in this scenario, I would try to force as many Democrats as possible into two or three districts. This is a giveaway.  Now you know that no Republican can win in these new “Democrat-safe” districts, but you have also created six or seven districts that will have a majority of Republicans with fewer Democrats. This is gerrymandering at its finest.

In order to stop this type of scenario, numerous laws have been passed, and the courts have even helped to try and moderate (or control, depending on your view) the process. In Arizona, with the passage of Proposition 106 in 2000, we have the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. This is a commission of five people who will draw the lines. There will be two Republicans, two Democrats and an Independent. This commission will draw lines for both Arizona’s nine congressional seats as well as the 30 new state legislative districts.

So, does this mean that everything is fixed? Hardly! In any political process where you try to legislate “fair” you run into the problem of what is “fair”? In the first few weeks of 2011 we will be hearing a lot about the selection process for the redistricting commission and the work they have to do.