OCT. 23, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Young


EMU to Host National Politicians for Congress to Campus Seminar Nov. 4-6

YPSILANTI – Most high school and college students don’t know much about their congressional representatives. But that could change when students from Eastern Michigan University and 20 area high schools gather to spend time with two former Congressmen during EMU’s “Congress to Campus,” conference Nov. 4-6 on the University’s main campus in Ypsilanti.

Former U.S. Reps. Owen Pickett (D-VA) and Peter Torkildsen (R-MA) will spend three days meeting with various students and offering insights into the complex world of congressional politics.

“This is a unique opportunity for area high schools and our students to learn from speakers who have been in Congress and are still active in public service,” said Jeffrey Bernstein, an associate professor of political science at EMU who coordinated the visit.

The event begins Tuesday, Nov. 4, with a breakfast and talks by the former Congressmen that address community service and civic engagement. A media availability will immediately follow at 11:15 a.m. in the main lounge of EMU’s McKenny Union.
Other activities include sessions with members of Elderwise (a learning in retirement group) and a congressional simulation for political science students. There also will be a public forum on political issues, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m. – noon, Guild Hall, McKenny Union, which is open to the public.

Pickett currently serves as co-chair of Virginia’s State Commission on Military Bases.

He represented the Second Congressional District of Virginia, serving seven terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1987-2001.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he was the ranking member of the subcommittee on military research and development.

Torkildsen is director of federal, state and local workforce relations for the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development. He served two terms as a member of the United States Congress for the Sixth District of Massachusetts from 1993 – 1997. While in Congress, Torkildsen served on the House Armed Services Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, and chaired the Small Business subcommittee overseeing the Small Business Administration.

Eastern Michigan University is a public comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

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