TSG reps talk politics, participation at Bipartisan Policy Center

Temple Student Government representatives attended the Bipartisan Policy Center’s town hall style meeting last Tuesday, and discussed ways to improve citizen participation in government.

Darin Bartholomew, Temple’s student body president, and Dylan Morpurgo, TSG director of government affairs, represented the university at this free invite-only event hosted in the National Constitution Center.

For those that were not in the audience, the event was live streamed through the BPC website at bipartisanpolicy.org as well as active viewer interaction via the hash tag #EngageUSA on Twitter.

Speakers at the event included big name policy makers such as Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, former governor of Pennsylvania, Edward Rendell and former U.S. Senate majority leader, Trent Lott. In total, there were three former U.S. senators, three former governors, two former members of the U.S. President’s cabinet and a former U.S. representative.

“There was a nice and wide range of opinions,” Morpurgo said.

The BPC is a think tank which was formed in 2007 to discuss issues and policies while stressing bipartisanship. The panel at this town hall meeting was the BPC’s Commission on Political Reform which focuses more specifically on the effects of America’s partisan divide while advocating for achieving shared political goals.

“We have to restore the respect the government use to have,” Bartholomew said. “Government is such a toxic subject now.”

In a poll released the day before the town hall meeting, BPC and USA Today found that “Americans are more interested in community service, such as volunteering at a place of worship or school, than running for or serving in government office.”

“Encouragement of [public] service needs to come from government,” Morpurgo said.

Various suggestions to policy makers were discussed such as mandatory national service for 18 to 25 year olds, similar to the service requirement in Israel. Another proposal was giving incentive to Americans by providing financial aid for college in return for public service. The findings of the poll indicated large support for either of these options.

“I had a lot of [ideas] reinforced here,” Morpurgo said. “It was a great event and I was glad to have the opportunity.”

The BPC’s next event will be July 30 at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. where they will discuss the issues facing the federal budget.

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