Former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays will deliver a lecture titled, “Principles, Politics, and Leadership: The risks and rewards of staying true and speaking honestly in Washington,” on April 7, at 5 p.m. in Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
Shays recently donated his Congressional papers to the Dodd Center.
Shays spent 21 years representing Connecticut’s 4th District in Congress as a Republican. Known for his moderate views, he is considered by many to be a social liberal and a fiscal conservative, and often described as a “maverick” and an “independent thinker.”
Some suggest these views helped in his 2006 re-election, which made him the only Republican to hold a seat in the House for New England.
In 1987, he was elected based on his promise to “get our financial house in order” and worked hard throughout his political career to reduce spending and stimulate the economy.
He helped establish the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program, which has helped reduce crime through the United States; helped lead the charge to end racial profiling and sexual discrimination in the workplace; supported a woman’s right to choose; and assisted in authoring the 1993 Gun Control Act and advocating for a sensible assault weapons ban reauthorization bill.
His interest in speaking honestly also led him, in April 2005, to break with most of his party over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s alleged ethics violations, being the first Republican to say he should step down from his post.
He was the first U.S. Congressman to visit Iraq after the war began, and by 2008 had traveled to Iraq more times than any other member of Congress.
Shays’ interests also include the Peace Corps, in which he served as a volunteer from 1968 to 1970, together with his wife Betsi.
While in Congress, he helped establish the AmeriCorps national service program and co-founded the Congressional National Service Caucus.
Some of his other roles included being a senior member of the Government Reform Committee, Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on National Security, and a member of the Homeland Security and Financial Services Committees.
A reception will follow the lecture, which is sponsored by Leadership Legacy Experience and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.