Meacham Headlines Anniversary Dinner at the Library of Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – A crowd of over 130 turned out Monday night for a reception and dinner in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress to mark the 60th anniversary of The Ripon Society and the 45th anniversary of the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange.

The dinner featured a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham, who discussed his latest book, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle, and how the life of America’s 16th President can serve as an example for policymakers in Washington today.  Also attending the event were a bipartisan group of 28 policymakers from the U.S. House of Representatives.

The policymakers included U.S. Reps: Don Bacon (R-NE-02), Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), Michael Burgess (R-TX-26), Mike Carey (R-OH-15), Buddy Carter (R-GA-01), Ron Estes (R-KS-04), Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04), Garret Graves (R-LA-06), Bill Huizenga (R-MI-04), John Joyce (R-PA-13), Thomas Kean (R-NJ-07), Mike Kelly (R-PA-16), Dan Kildee (D-MI-08), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Darin LaHood (R-IL-16), Laurel Lee (R-FL-15), Frank Lucas (R-OK-03), Rich McCormick (R-GA-06), Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19), Raul Ruiz (D-CA-25), Terri Sewell (D-AL-07), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11), Pete Stauber (R-MN-08), Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), and Steve Womack (R-AR-03).

Jim Conzelman — who served nearly 30 years as the Chief of Staff to former Congressman Mike Oxley (R-OH-4) and has served as the President & CEO of The Ripon Society and Franklin Center since 2009 — opened the evening with a quote from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address that, he said, reflected “the tone and tenor for this evening’s celebration.”

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

“Lincoln’s masterful eloquence was a balm for a troubled America,” Conzelman continued, “and he stirs something in all of us today when he calls upon his fellow Americans to strengthen the ties that bind and reflect on the common good that we share.  I’ll leave the lessons of history to Jon Meacham, who you will hear from shortly.  But it is my firm belief that the importance of relationships and of finding common interests is the very essence of what grounds these two organizations.

“We gather this evening not just to celebrate our past glories, but to re-energize our vision for what’s to come. It’s clear our work continues to be vital, even amidst a challenging landscape.  But one thing I know about this group — we are up to the challenge. So, to the good people here and in Washington who are inspired and driven by the better angels Lincoln called upon, we celebrate you tonight, as well.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

Founded in 1978, The Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to enhancing global understanding of important international issues. The Franklin Center brings together Members of the U.S. Congress and their international parliamentary counterparts as well as experts from the Diplomatic corps, foreign officials, senior private sector representatives, scholars, and other public policy experts. Through regular conferences and events where leading international opinion leaders share ideas, the Franklin Center promotes enlightened, balanced, and unbiased international policy discussion on major international issues.

To view additional photos from Monday night’s dinner at the Library of Congress, please click here.