Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, presidentially appointed co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, will discuss America’s debt and deficit crisis at a University of Oklahoma President’s Associates dinner in October. The dinner, scheduled for Monday, Oct. 8 in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom of Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., will be preceded by an informal discussion with students.
“To hear Simpson and Bowles discuss in person the budget plan of the bipartisan commission is a great opportunity for the OU community,” said OU President David L. Boren.
In February 2010, President Obama asked Bowles and Simpson to co-chair the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The commission was charged with identifying policies to improve the country’s fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. At the end of 2010, the bipartisan commission released its final report, which included a plan to reduce the nation’s deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. The plan was supported by a supermajority of the commission with equal support from both Republican and Democratic members.
Both Bowles and Simpson have extensive experience in public service and government. In 1991, Bowles joined the administration of President Bill Clinton as administrator of the Small Business Administration. In 1993, he was brought to the White House to serve as President Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and later as chief of staff.
As chief of staff, he was a member of the president’s Cabinet and on both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. Working at the direction of the president and with the Republican House of Representatives and the Senate, Bowles negotiated the first balanced budget in a generation.
Also while chief of staff, Bowles coordinated the federal response to the Oklahoma City bombing.
Leading up to his time in the White House, Bowles established a successful financial service career. To address what he believed was a void in the financial services marketplace, he formed a middle-market investment bank and later a venture capital firm. He also co-founded a middle-market private equity firm and served as a partner in a New York private equity firm.
In recent years, Bowles served as president of his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, from 2005 to 2011. He also served at North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt’s request as chairman of the state’s Rural Prosperity Task Force charged with developing ways to bring economic development to rural North Carolina. Active in several nonprofit organizations, he served as the national president of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Bowles is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and earned his MBA from Columbia University in New York.
Simpson served in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1997, representing his home state of Wyoming. Following his first term in the Senate, he was elected by his peers to the position of Assistant Majority Leader in 1984, serving in that capacity until 1994.
Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Simpson served in the U.S. Army in Germany and then returned to practice law in Cody, Wyo., for 18 years. A third-generation lawyer in his family, he served a short time as assistant attorney general before joining his father’s law practice in Cody. He also served 10 years as city attorney.
A member of a political family – his father served both as Governor of Wyoming from 1954 to 1958 and as U.S. Senator from Wyoming from 1962 to 1966 – Simpson chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and began his own political career in 1964 when he was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature as a state representative of his native Park County. He served the Wyoming House of Representatives for the next 13 years, holding the offices of majority whip, majority floor leader and speaker pro tem.
Following his time in the U.S. Senate, Simpson was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and later at his alma mater, the University of Wyoming.
Simpson earned both a bachelor of science in law and his juris doctorate from the University of Wyoming.
Limited seating for the dinner is available by reservation for OU students, faculty and staff, with overflow seating available to the public. For reservations, more information and accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the OU Office of Special Events at (405) 325-3784.