Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Former Congressional Candidate Jean Elliott Brown to Speak

The Sarah Lawrence College Politics Faculty will present a panel discussion, “Looking Forward, Looking Backward: The 2004 and 2000 Elections,” on Friday, April 16 at 3:30 pm in Reisinger Concert Hall. The program, featuring Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Sarah Lawrence class of ’81, and Jean Elliott Brown, class of ’72, a candidate for Congress in 2000 from West Palm Beach, Florida, one of the hot spots of the recount controversy, is to be the first in a series of events presented by the politics faculty leading up to the 2004 national elections.

“As we begin to think about the choices we face in the 2004 elections, it is important to view the issues in the context of recent American history,” said Politics faculty member David Peritz. “As the immediate trauma of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 recedes and the political agenda expands again to include something approaching the usual range of policy issues, it seems particularly important to remember the extraordinary election of 2000 and to reflect on some of the longer term trends in American politics it revealed.” Peritz says that such trends would include the sharp geographically-based divides in the partisan alignment of the country; the increasingly fractious character of national electoral politics, with candidates competing for a small number of voters who determine the outcomes in the nationally decisive ‘baker’s dozen’ of swing states; and the political implications of the deep and growing inequalities that characterize American society.

Rahm Emanuel is an emerging leader among Congressional Democrats, currently seeking reelection. Representing Illinois’ 5th Congressional District, which covers the Northwest Side of Chicago and parts of suburban Cook County, Emanuel was chosen by his fellow Democratic freshmen as Democratic Whip for their class. He also serves as a Vice Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the New Democratic Coalition. Emanuel began his political career with the consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action, and went on to serve in a number of capacities in local and national politics. In 1992 he served as Director of Finance for the presidential campaign of then-Governor Bill Clinton. He went on to serve as a top White House advisor to President Clinton from 1993 to 1999, first as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy.

Jean Elliott Brown, currently the Executive Director of the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, was a candidate for Congress in West Palm Beach Florida. She lost the race, having garnered approximately 40% of the vote.

Brown began her career in 1972 as an actor, changing professions in 1983 to public relations, and eventually opening her own successful consulting firm. Her political career began with her run for Congress in March of 1999, motivated by an enormous sense of frustration with her sitting Congressman and a desire to impart change in her congressional district, an economically and ethically diverse area of southern Florida, encompassing seven counties and almost 650,000 people.

Sarah Lawrence is a liberal arts college for men and women, founded in 1926, with a distinctive system of education. It is known for having one of the lowest student/faculty ratios in the country. At the core of the system are small classes, regular one-on-one student-faculty conferences, cross-disciplinary approaches and the integration of the creative arts within the curriculum.

This program is part of Sarah Lawrence College’s 75th Anniversary celebration. For more information on this event, or future events in the series, call (914) 395-2411.