Jan. 30, 2004

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Contact: Burdett Loomis, political science, (785) 864-9033.

KU's Burdett Loomis to discuss building civility in Congress with Stennis fellows

LAWRENCE -- Burdett Loomis, University of Kansas professor of political science, and Brian Lamb, C-SPAN president and chief executive officer, will discuss building greater trust and civility in Congress with the Stennis Congressional Staff Fellows for the 108th Congress from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Freedom Forum headquarters in Arlington, Va.

The Stennis Congressional Fellows Program -- sponsored by the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service, based in Starkville, Miss. -- is a practical, bipartisan leadership development program for senior-level staff members of the U.S. Congress.

The discussion led by Loomis and Lamb will focus on the book "Esteemed Colleagues: Civility and Deliberation in the U.S. Senate," which Loomis edited in 2000. The book was funded with a $100,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts and was sponsored by the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at KU.

"There is a sense among many that the legislative process is breaking down over increasing partisanship from both Republicans and Democrats," Loomis said. "I will be talking to some very talented senior congressional staff members on ways for them to approach this subject with their bosses."

Loomis, a member of the KU faculty since 1979, is a nationally recognized expert on Congress and interest groups. He recently contributed to a National Journal cover story on the state of Congress and the legislative process, as well as a November 2003 New York Times story about "incivility" in government.

In each Congress, 24 to 28 Stennis fellows are selected by an independent panel. Each group is balanced with nearly equal numbers from both political parties and from the House and Senate. The mission of the program is to enhance the capacity and commitment of exceptional congressional staff members to better serve the institution and its members.


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