I recently had the honor of meeting Rep. Doris Matsui at the portrait unveiling of Rep. George Miller, who is retiring from Congress after forty years of service. (On that note, I also met Rep. Miller!) It was just an incredible opportunity to meet two people I admire greatly. No surprise that a Berkeley alum and a Berkeley neighbor were kind, welcoming, and funny.
The event celebrated Rep. Miller’s tenure as chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. John Kline (the current chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce) gave speeches highlighting Rep. Miller’s ability to work across the aisle in order to enact education and labor reform.
I was told over and over again that events like this were rare. One, both parties were in the same room and no one was arguing. Second, this celebration came after the House education committee passed or successfully conferenced (with its Senate counterpart) a wave of bipartisan education and workforce investment bills. Here’s to hopes that the next wave of Congress follows this example.
Trinh Nguyen was a Fall 2013 Matsui Washington Fellow and currently works in education and labor policy in Washington, DC.