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Sept. 9, 2011 

Contact Keith Knutson at 608-796-3496 or kaknutson@viterbo.edu 

VITERBO UNIVERSITY TO HOST CONGRESS TO CAMPUS WITH FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE DENNIS HASTERT AND LONGTIME CONGRESSMAN BILL LIPINSKI SEPT. 19 

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Hon. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and longtime fellow Congressman Hon. Bill Lipinski (D-IL) will visit Viterbo University as part of the national Congress to Campus program Monday, Sept. 19–Wednesday, Sept. 21. 

Hastert and Lipinski will give a public presentation at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 in the Fine Arts Center Lobby. The event is free and open to the public, and is part of Viterbo’s annual recognition of Constitution Day.  

Hastert served in Congress from 1986–2008, including being nationally recognized for his most prominent role as Speaker of the House from 1999–2007. Lipinski served in Congress from 1983–2005. He was a key member of the Transportation Committee and a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democratic Congress members who identify themselves as centrists. Both were prominent members of their respective parties, and the U.S. Congress. 

The Congress to Campus program sends bipartisan pairs of former members of Congress, one Democrat and one Republican, to visit college, university, and community college campuses around the country. The former Congress members provide insights into the realities of American democracy and deliver the important message about bipartisan cooperation. The program was created by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress in an effort to improve college students’ understanding of Congress and American government and to encourage them to consider careers in public service. 

While at Viterbo, the Congressmen will also speak to students in several classes, be interviewed by local media, and take part in a number of other events. 

“Recent public opinion polling indicates Americans have very little confidence that representative government is capable of working effectively to solve our society’s problems,” said Keith Knutson, Viterbo history professor and chair of the event. 

 A healthy representative system needs confidence in itself to be successful. Our two guests are traditional political opponents who not only still respect one another, but have committed themselves to showing college students that politics needn’t be an art of personally destroying an opponent, but rather having the personal humility to recognize the importance and the humanity of those with whom we disagree.”  

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