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Edward M. Kennedy Institute Expands Board with Four Former Senators

Former Senators Boxer, Chambliss, Gardner, and Martinez bring the total number of former Senators on the Board to eight; with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans

January 11, 2024 (Boston, Mass.) – The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate today announced the appointment of four former U.S. Senators as the newest members of its Board of Directors. Their addition brings the total number of Senators on the Kennedy Institute’s 21-member Board to eight, with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. These former Senators join other directors who are inspired by Senator Kennedy’s legacy of bipartisanship and united in guiding the Kennedy Institute in its work to champion, modernize, and advance the unique role of the United States Senate in American democracy.

“The Kennedy Institute is honored to welcome these four proven leaders of the Senate to our Board of Directors. Their addition comes as the nation enters a presidential and senatorial election year where the durability of our democracy will be front of mind for all Americans,” said Bruce A. Percelay, chair of the Board of Directors. “The wisdom and experience of these new directors will strengthen our efforts to be the leading educator, advocate, and convener centered on constructive dialogue to promote a more productive Senate to students, political leaders, and the public.”

The new directors include:

Barbra Boxer (D-CA) is a former U.S. Senator, Congresswoman, and County Supervisor. She served the state of California in the U.S. Senate for 24 years following 10 years in the House of Representatives. Senator Boxer’s service in the Senate included chairing the Environment and Public Works Committee and involvement on the Foreign Relations Committee. She has won numerous awards for her efforts to create a cleaner environment and address the threats of climate change.

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before serving two terms in the Senate. During his tenure in the Senate, he served as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; the Senate Rules Committee, and his leadership and experience on homeland security earned him an appointment to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where he served as vice chairman from 2011 to 2014. He is currently a partner in the Atlanta office of DLA Piper.

Cory Gardner (R-CO) represented the state of Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 2015 to 2021 after his term in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015. During his time in the Senate, he was selected to serve as the Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; also serving on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Mel Martinez (R-FL) was the first Cuban-American elected to serve in the United States Senate. He represented Florida from 2005 to 2009. During his term, he served on several committees including Armed Services; Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs; Energy and National Resources; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and the Special Committee on Aging. He also served as General Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2008. Prior to his time in the Senate, he was appointed as the 12th Secretary of the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development by President George W. Bush.

“I welcome these four former Senators who bring decades of experience from the Senate as well as bipartisan representation to the Kennedy Institute Board, which will be important to the work the Institute is doing to strengthen the Senate and educate young people and the public on its importance to our country,” said Tom Daschle, Board Member and former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. “I look forward to collaborating with my fellow former Senators and all of the Institute Board members on making the Kennedy Institute the leading resource to modernize, elevate, and advance the role of the United States Senate in our American democracy.”

The newest directors join the Kennedy Institute at an important time in advancing its mission to educate the public about the unique role of the Senate in our government and promote civil discourse and bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges. This past year, the Kennedy Institute launched the newly updated “Senate Immersion Module” for K-12 students, collaborated with the Bipartisan Policy Center and Orrin G. Hatch Foundation on two additional iterations of The Senate Project series, convened 10 former Senators with the McCain Institute at the Kennedy Hyannis Port house for discussions on reforming the Senate, and held public forums on important issues facing democracy and government.