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Public Launch of UNH Law’s Rudman Center Draws High-Profile Guests

Public Launch of UNH Law's Rudman Center Draws High-Profile Guests

McCain, Ayotte, Shaheen, Gregg, Gramm, Kerrey, Domenici among those gathered to remember Warren Rudman, discuss fiscal crisis

UNH Law's Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy opened with fanfare on April 21-22 as state and national leaders converged to remember the late Senator Rudman and debate political challenges accompanying the nation's fiscal crisis.

Panel 1, "Current Realities and Political Challenges" featured Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Phil Gramm, and Bob Kerrey, along with Alice Rivlin, former head of the OMB. Ari Shapiro, NPR's White House Correspondent, moderated both panel discussions.

Panel 2, "Tough Choices and Possible Solutions" featured Senator Pete Domenici, Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition, William Hoagland of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Alice Rivlin.

The Center aims to train lawyers to lead and serve the public interest in the thoughtful, bipartisan style for which Rudman was famous. The late senator from New Hampshire, who also had served as the state's attorney general, gave the Center's creation his blessing and support before he passed away in November 2012.

Rudman's colleagues and friends gathered at a dinner to honor him April 21. Senators John McCain, Jeanne Shaheen, and Kelly Ayotte, former Senators Judd Gregg, Bob Kerrey, and Phil Gramm, and former NH Governor Stephen Merrill were among those who spoke about their late colleague and mentor. And several guests came bearing gifts for the new Rudman Center: Governor Hassan presented UNH Law Dean John Broderick with a New Hampshire flag, Senator Shaheen presented a U.S. flag that had been flown over the Capitol, and Senator Ayotte presented a U.S. Army flag.

Afterward, Senator Angus King presented the inaugural Warren B. Rudman Center award to former Senator Olympia Snowe, who was well-known for her willingness to cross the political aisle, as Rudman had been.

Also in attendance were Congresswomen Carol Shea Porter, Annie Kuster, and Donna Edwards, herself a graduate of UNH Law.

On April 22, the Rudman Center hosted its inaugural conference, "The Federal Budget and the Law: Finding a Way Forward." The event was funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation as part of a $1 million grant to the Center to support programming on fiscal responsibility. The conference was co-hosted by The Concord Coalition and New Hampshire Public Radio.

The Rudman Center's executive director, Professor Erin Corcoran, opened the conference by announcing the inaugural class of summer Rudman Fellows, who will receive a stipend for their summer work in public interest and government service positions: Vitali Anfimov, at the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office; Christian Ansah, at the Philadelphia Public Defender; Jessica Canter, at the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Texas; Juli Hincks, at New Hampshire Legal Assistance; Andrew Jabaji, at the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services; David Kolesar, at the NH Public Defender; Jillian Lawrence, at the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office and the City of Concord Prosecutor's Office; Sean List, at the NH Bar Association, DOVE Project; Callan Maynard, at the NH Public Defender; Timothy McKernan, at the State Employees Association of New Hampshire; Rahkiya Medley, at the NH Attorney General's Office; Aaron Farides-Mitchell, at the U.S. Department of Education, Civil Rights Division; Lina Shayo, at NH Catholic Charities; Jennifer Shea, at NH Circuit Court, Family Division; and Shea Sennett, at NH Disabilities Rights Center.

Hosted by Ari Shapiro, White House correspondent for National Public Radio, the conference featured two all-star panels looking at, respectively, political challenges and solutions. The former featured Senators McCain and Ayotte, former Senators Gramm and Kerrey, and noted economist and national budget expert Alice Rivlin. The second panel, focused on finding a way forward, featured Rivlin, former Senator Pete Domenici, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert Bixby, and G. William Hoagland, a national budget expert and senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The conference featured keynote speakers Senator Snowe and David Walker, former comptroller general of the United States. Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson, who founded The Concord Coalition with Rudman and whose foundation donated $1 million to the Rudman Center, also spoke, about his late friend the senator.

In attendance at both events was Margaret Rudman, the late senator's widow, to whom many speakers paid tribute. Senator Snowe, who ended the conference with a talk about the importance of returning bipartisanship to Washington, D.C., closed by telling Mrs. Rudman how much her husband was loved, and missed.

Event photos by Perry Smith