Melanie Coen
Dole Institute of Politics

2014 Dole Lecture to feature key Democratic leader

Wed, 04/02/2014

LAWRENCE — Democratic political strategist Al From will give the annual Dole Lecture at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas this semester. From will discuss his recent book and his involvement in the effective restoration of the Democrat party in a program titled “The New Democrats and the Return to Power featuring Al From.” The Dole Lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, May 4. The event is free, open to the public and contains a book sale and signing.

“Al From is the principal architect for the Clinton presidency and the new Democrat movement, which helped shape the 21st century Democratic Party,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “Most of the Dole Lectures have been by or about public figures; this is the first that will honor a person working behind the scenes to change American politics in a major way.”

Al From is one of America’s premier strategists and policy entrepreneurs with a track record of injecting innovative ideas into the national debate and turning major national institutions around. He is the author of the book “The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” published by Palgrave Macmillan. He has appeared on a number of television programs, including “Morning Joe,” “Press Pass with David Gregory,” “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and “Up with Steve Kornacki.” Currently he is principal of The From Company LLC, which offers strategic advice to private clients.

“People tend to forget that before President Clinton, Republicans had won five of the last six presidential elections, three by landslide margins,” said Lacy. “Now, Democrats have won four of the last six, due in no small part to Al’s efforts and the effect that the new Democrat movement had on the national political landscape.”

In March 1985, From founded the Democratic Leadership Council, the organization whose ideas and political strategies during the past quarter century played a central role in the resurgence of the modern Democratic Party. He led the DLC from its inception until April 2009. The New York Times Magazine, in February 2010, called the DLC under From’s leadership one of the two “most influential think tanks in history, the primary shapers of political thought at the end of the broadcast age.”

From played a prominent role in the 1992 election of President Bill Clinton and served as domestic policy adviser to the Clinton transition. Before founding the DLC, From was executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, served in President Jimmy Carter’s White House and was staff director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.

From’s writings have appeared in numerous national publications, including the The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic and

From serves on the Board of Advisers of the Medill School at Northwestern University, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Chamber Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the National Advisory Board of The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the Board of Directors of the Institute for Behavior and Health, the Executive Board of the University of Maryland’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship and the Advisory Board of the Annapolis Forum. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors in 1999 and served as chairman until December 2002 when his term expired.

Born in South Bend, Ind., From earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, was editor of the Daily Northwestern and was named a charter member of the Hall of Achievement of the Medill School of Journalism. He lives in Annapolis, Md., with his wife, Ginger.

On April 14, 1945, Bob Dole was gravely wounded during a WWII battle in Italy. Each spring, on or near April 14, the Dole Institute of Politics hosts The Dole Lecture, a signature event featuring a person or topic addressing some aspect of contemporary politics or policy. Previous Dole Lectures have featured Bill Clinton, Tom Brokaw, Bob Woodward, Sheila Bair and Sens. Tom Daschle and George Mitchell.

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