LBJ School of Public Affairs connects students with politics, Gingrich speaks about America’s future


Zachary Strain

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich discusses future leadership challenges America will face at the LBJ Library Thursday evening. The lecture was followed by a question and answer session moderated by Dr. Jeremi Suri.

Tiffany Hinman

While some students are concerned with the leadership challenges faced by candidates for the 2012 presidential election, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, discussed Thursday the post-election leadership challenges America will face.

Gingrich spoke in the Lyndon B. Johnson Library atrium to discuss American exceptionalism, the need for new forms of strategic thinking and exceptional innovations that Americans can expect to see in the future. The lecture was followed by a Q-and-A session between the audience and Gingrich, moderated by Jeremi Suri, professor of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Gingrich was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999, and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.

Gingrich said though no other society in history has had the capacity to allow people to come from nowhere, America today faces intellectual challenges which individuals have not dealt with before. He said today’s youth will live to see advanced innovations in the fossil fuel industry, biology, computational power and productivity, all results of increased intellectual thinking.

“The United States remarks major and unique power,” Gingrich said. “One of the greatest challenges for us is how to look at the next 10 to 15 years. We have to figure out a way to be much tighter and mentally tougher regarding what is good research and what is not good research.”

Gingrich’s lecture is part of the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ effort to educate students on the various stances held by political parties and provoke the discussion of important issues. The school will also sponsor a lecture by John Kerry on Nov. 2 to provide students an opportunity to learn about the views held by the Democratic party.

Suri said the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ efforts should encourage students to vote.

“Voting is absolutely crucial,” Suri said. “By voting, a person is saying that they are a full citizen and adult. If you want to be involved and taken seriously, then vote. By not voting you are saying you are still a child and that you do not care to be taken seriously.”

Government senior Billy Calve, Hook the Vote director, said having speakers like Gingrich and Kerry on campus connects students with politics in a direct way.

“When we see political figures in person, we can better understand their perspectives, regardless of whether or not we agree with their policies,” Calve said. “The LBJ School is doing a terrific job of helping students learn about the political process just in time for early voting.”

John Kerry will speak at 2 p.m. on Nov. 2 in the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium.

Printed on October 26, 2012 as: Gingrich provides insight for voters