Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Election Impact Resonates For GU

As voters sent new leadership to Congress on Tuesday, candidates with Georgetown backgrounds learned their fate in races across the country.

In Northern Virginia, Georgetown took on Georgetown when voters decided between Republican Rep. Frank Wolf (LAW ’65) and Judy Feder, dean of Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, in the state’s 10th congressional district.

Though Democrats defeated Republican incumbents across the country and swept to a majority in the House for the first time in 12 years, Feder lost to Wolf by a margin of approximately 40,000 votes, or 16 percent.

Feder said in an interview that she is glad to have run for Congress and added that she will continue working as the dean for the Public Policy Institute.

“There is no more exciting experience than to be running to represent your community. . I am really proud to have done it,” she said. “I remain as committed as I was in the beginning of the election to continue to promote better lives for citizens, and I will be looking forward to do that in all kinds of ways, including training the next generation of leaders at GPPI.”

In the Senate, a Georgetown graduate proved pivotal when former Navy Secretary James Webb (LAW ’75) was declared the winner yesterday of an extraordinarily close Virginia Senate race against Sen. George Allen (R). Webb’s victory delivered the upper chamber to the Democrats.

In neighboring Maryland, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R, LAW ’91) lost his bid for the Senate. Meanwhile, the fate of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La., LAW ’96) will not be determined until after a runoff election in December.

Scott Fleming (SFS ’72), assistant to the university president for federal relations, said that having alumni in Congress could benefit Georgetown, especially with issues that concern higher education.

“Most of our alumni are receptive to what we think about things,” he said. “The ability to talk to members of Congress on the issues that are important to us . that’s helpful.”

Local level elections included one candidate fresh off the Hilltop. Patrick Schmitt (SFS ’06), lost his bid for the Rhode Island State Senate as a Democrat. Last year, Schmitt was the executive director of Student Taking Action Now: Darfur.

Schmitt said that although he was disappointed by the outcome, he had a good experience campaigning against Republican incumbent St. Sen. Dennis Algiere, the Rhode Island State Senate minority leader who has not faced a serious opponent since 1992.

“I am obviously disappointed, but we came close,” Schmitt said. “Obviously, running against an incumbent is difficult. I think we made a great impression on people.”

Even one of the most powerful figures to come out of Tuesday’s election had Hilltop connections. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the current House minority who is expected to become the first female Speaker of the House in January, is married to Paul Pelosi (SFS ’62), and her children – Christine (SFS ’88), Jacqueline (CAS ’89) and Paul (CAS ’91) – are all Georgetown graduates.

Fleming said that Pelosi’s impending elevation to Speaker could also have far-reaching implications for higher education policy. Fleming said that Pelosi has made higher education a top priority.

Rebecca Thompson, legislative director for the United States Student Association – the largest national student organization in the country – said that having Pelosi lead the House could benefit students who have a difficult time affording college tuition.

“We are definitely excited because the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has made higher education one of her priority issues in addition to increasing minimum age [and others],” she said.

Another leading figure to emerge from the results was Robert Gates (GRD ’74), President Bush’s nominee to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Gates earned a doctorate on Russian and Soviet studies.

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