May 2013 FORR Annual Dinner with Senator John Thune

On the evening of May 1, 2013, FORR hosted Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and third ranking member in Senate Republican leadership. It was a homecoming evening of sorts for Senator Thune, a graduate of Biola University near Los Angeles. Former Congressman and SEC Chairman Chris Cox joined Senator Thune in a conversation concerning the application of American values and strong leadership in Washington and abroad. Specific topics included Syria, Russia, the Arab Spring; and domestic issues, including the Sequester, immigration reform, and rekindling bipartisan initiatives. In the end, Senator Thune reminded us that the great American leaders—Lincoln, Washington, Reagan—have trusted in great American ideals, inspiring and informing their actions to take them beyond politics to historical statesmanship. We were reminded that America's great leaders have demonstrated that strong, values based leadership is agnostic to any particular issue or era.

Senator John R. Thune

Senator John R. Thune is the junior Senator from South Dakota, a seat he has held since 2004. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms from 1996 through 2002. He made history in his successful Senate campaign by defeating a sitting U.S. Senate party leader for the first time in 52 years. He again made history in 2010 when he was reelected to a second term in a rare unopposed race, only the third Republican and the only South Dakotan to run unopposed for a U.S. Senate seat since direct elections were created in 1913. Senator Thune serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; the Finance Committee; he is the senior most Republican and ranking member on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. From 2009-2011 he also served in Republican leadership as Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and presently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the number three position in Senate Republican leadership. The Senator and his wife Kimberley live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and have two grown daughters, Brittany and Larissa. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, pheasant hunting, and running.

The Honorable Christopher Cox

The Honorable Christopher Cox has had a distinguished career in public service. From 1986 until 1988, he served in the White House as Senior Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan. In 1988 he decided to pursue elective office and was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served through 2005. In those years, he served in the Majority Leadership of the House as Chairman of the House Policy Committee, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, Chairman of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security, Chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security (the predecessor to the permanent House Committee), Chairman of the Task Force on Capital Markets, and Chairman of the Task Force on Budget Process Reform. In 2005, President Bush asked him to serve as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he served with distinction through 2008 before entering into private practice with the international law firm of Bingham McCutcheon, where he is a senior law partner and also president of their strategic advisory group. Chris Cox graduated from the University of Southern California and went on to complete his joint Masters of Business Administration and Juris Doctorate from Harvard University. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three children and reside in Newport Beach, California.

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