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The Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series

Photo of David Skaggs

March 31, 2003     Video

David Skaggs is Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Citizenship Program at the Council for Excellence in Government, and Of Counsel to the Washington-based law firm of Hogan & Hartson. He has also taught from 1999 to 2002 as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado. These positions follow Skaggs' twelve years of service in Congress (1987-99) as U.S. Representative from the 2nd Congressional District of Colorado (the northwestern Denver suburbs) and three terms in the Colorado House (1981-87), the last two terms as Minority Leader.

The Center for Democracy & Citizenship works to strengthen American democracy through several projects and activities, variously designed: to build trust and other ingredients essential to a healthy democracy; to improve working relationships among and between legislators, journalists and citizens; and, to promote and renew citizenship, especially among younger Americans. The Center provided overall management of the 1997 and 1999 House Bipartisan Retreats at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the 2001 Retreat at The Greenbrier. It will be performing the same service for the 2003 Retreat, and recently managed a similar bipartisan conference for the Virginia House of Delegates. In 2000, the Program's Young Voter Initiative published the well-received booklet 30 Million Missing Voters: A Candidate's Toolkit for Reaching Young Americans. Now titled the Campaign for Young Voters, the project relied on extensive research to develop a revised, web-based toolkit, sent to12,000 candidates for state and federal office in 2002, and available on-line at www.campaignyoungvoters.org. The Center has recently assumed management, in partnership with the Stennis Center for Public Service, of the Congress to Campus Program of the U. S. Association of Former Members of Congress. The program sends bipartisan pairs of former Members of Congress for three-day visits to colleges and universities to teach about politics, government and Congress and to promote public service careers to college students. From 1999 through mid-2001 the Center was part of The Aspen Institute.

Mr. Skaggs served eight years on the House Appropriations Committee, with assignments on the Interior Subcommittee and the Commerce, Justice, State & Judiciary Subcommittee, and previously on the Energy & Water and the Treasury, Postal & General Government subcommittees. During his last six years in Congress, he was a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he devoted particular attention to classification and information security issues. Prior to joining the Appropriations Committee, he was a member of the (then) Public Works & Transportation Committee and the Science, Space & Technology Committee. Mr. Skaggs did extensive work on public lands and environmental issues, on constitutional matters, in protecting the advocacy rights of nonprofit organizations, and in support of basic research and higher education. He also played an active role in House consideration of foreign policy and trade matters and has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America.

During his tenure on the Hill, Mr. Skaggs was a leader in efforts to improve the House of Representatives. He was the founding co-chairman with Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Illinois) of the House Bipartisan Retreat, the first such meeting in history, held in March, 1997, at Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was also co-founder with Representative Jim Leach (R-Iowa) of the Constitutional Forum, a series of seminars featuring distinguished guest lecturers who led Member discussions of current and recurring constitutional issues. During the 104th Congress, Mr. Skaggs was Chairman of the Democratic Study Group, the principal policy development and institutional reform organization of House Democrats.

Prior to serving in elected office, Mr. Skaggs practiced law in Boulder, Colorado, as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps, and briefly in New York City. He was also chief-of-staff to then Congressman Timothy E. Wirth of Colorado from 1974 to 1977.

After earning a B.A. in philosophy from Wesleyan University in 1964, Mr. Skaggs studied law at the University of Virginia for one year, completing his LL.B. at the Yale Law School in 1967. He is admitted to the Colorado, New York and District of Columbia bars. He entered active duty in the U. S. Marine Corps in 1968 and served on Okinawa, in Vietnam, and at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, earning the Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal (with Combat "V"), and with a Reserve unit in Colorado, attaining the rank of Major.

He serves on the boards of trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, of the U. S. Association of Former Members of Congress, of the National Trust for the Humanities, of Demos (an organization working on democratic participation and economic equity issues) and of the U. S. Capitol Historical Society, on the National Advisory Council of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, on the Nonprofit Sector Strategy Group of The Aspen Institute, on the Public Affairs Advisory Council of the Advertising Council, as a Fellow of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, on the Advisory Board of the Campaign and Media Legal Center, and on the Steering Committee of the East West Parliamentary Practice Project. He served as a member the Secretary of Energy's Task Force on Nonproliferation Programs in Russia in 1999-2000 and in 1999 served on the Secretary of State's Overseas Presence Advisory Panel. He has also been an Academic Fellow at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and served on the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1994.

Mr. Skaggs is married to Laura Locher Skaggs, and has three children: Matthew Babcock (35), Clare Driscoll (27) and Will Driscoll (23).

Photo of Dan Miller

Elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1992, Dan Miller represented the Thirteenth Congressional District of Florida for ten years. This Gulf Coast district included all of Sarasota and Manatee Counties, as well as parts of Hillsborough and Charlotte Counties. A former college professor and businessman, Dan never held public office before his election to Congress. In keeping with his promise of a self-imposed ten-year term limit, Dan retired from Congress in 2003.

Born in Michigan, Dan moved to Bradenton with his parents in 1958. After graduating from Manatee High School, Dan received his B.S. degree from the University of Florida, and subsequently earned an M.B.A. at Emory University and a Ph.D. in Marketing & Statistics from Louisiana State University. He taught statistics and marketing at the graduate and undergraduate levels at Louisiana State University, Georgia State University, and the University of South Florida in Sarasota.

Following his teaching career, Dan became a successful entrepreneur in Southwest Florida. He is a former partner in the family-owned Miller Enterprises, which operates the Twin Dolphin Marina, SunTrust building, and Gulf Coast Corporate Park. Dan was very active in community affairs, serving on numerous boards, and is past chairman of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Dan's Congressional career provided him the opportunity to serve on both the House Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Government Reform. As a member of the Appropriation Committee, he served on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee; Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Subcommittee; and Military Construction Subcommittee. As a member of the Government Reform Committee, Dan served as Chairman of the Census subcommittee with oversight of the U.S. Census Bureau. Dan led the successful fight against adjusting the 2000 Census based on unreliable and unconstitutional statistics estimates.

As a staunch fiscal conservative, Dan is committed to both reducing the size and scope of the federal government and fighting corporate welfare - efforts that have earned him top voting record scores from both the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. He was persistent in his efforts to end the big government sugar program, and he led efforts to reform extradition laws which enabled criminals to flee persecution.

Dan is married to Glenda Darsey Miller. They have two children and two grandchildren.