Two members of Congress to hold joint forum on campus

Posted September 21, 2012

Abilene Christian University will host two alumni who now serve as members of the United States House of Representatives for a special event set to take place on campus this Tuesday. A Forum on Civil Discourse and Christian Faith will be held in ACU's Cullen Auditorium on Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited.

Rep. Janice Hahn ('74), a Democrat from Los Angeles, and Rep. Ted Poe ('70), a Republican from Houston, will take part in a conversation aimed at helping audience members better understand why lawmakers are so bitterly divided. They'll also talk about what is being done to turn the tide of cynicism in Washington.

"We're thrilled that two of our outstanding graduates are taking time to share their insights with our university community on such an important topic," says Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university. "Day in and day out, Rep. Hahn and Rep. Poe are involved in decisions about major issues that impact our nation. What a privilege it is to have them return to campus for a day that is sure to benefit our students."

Both members of Congress bring their Christian backgrounds to what promises to be a fascinating discussion. A guest panel will pose questions that address the thorny issues of balancing Christian values and radically differing political viewpoints. Students will also be invited to submit questions via text message.

“As we find ourselves in a heated political season, we need more than ever to treat each other with respect,” says Dr. Neal Coates, chair of the Department of Political Science. “With congressional approval ratings at an historic low, it's refreshing to know there are at least a few lawmakers who see the value of living out Christian principles of interaction.”

About the Representatives

Congresswoman Janice Hahn is Representative of California's 36th Congressional District. She sits on the Committee on Homeland Security, the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and the Committee on Small Business.

Hahn served previously as the Chair of the Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee, where she oversaw the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, and the Convention Center. She championed the creation of a green technology incubator at the Port of L.A. In 2001, she was elected Councilwoman of the 15th District of the City of Los Angeles, representing the communities of San Pedro, Watts, Wilmington, Harbor City, and Harbor Gateway.

In recognition of her distinguished leadership, Hahn has received several citations, including the Rosa Parks Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; the Lillian Mobley Grassroots Catalyst Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus—South Bay; the Public Service Award from the African American Chamber of Commerce; the Bold Vision Award from the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce; the Recognition Award from the Harbor Area Gang Alternative Program; and enshrinement on the Promenade of Prominence in Watts.

Congressman Ted Poe is a leading advocate for limited government, free markets, low taxes and individual liberty. Prior to his arrival in Washington, Poe served for 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston, where he garnered national media attention for his innovative sentences. Before that, he served for eight years in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where he became the chief felony prosecutor. He never lost a jury trial.

Poe currently serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees. An outspoken advocate on border security, he travels regularly to the nation's southern border to meet directly with local law enforcement and residents.

Additionally, he visits U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan and around the world. Poe established the bipartisan Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC) to advocate on behalf of victims in our nation’s capital. A strong constitutionalist, he firmly believes in the idea of “we the people,” not “we the subjects.”