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Ira Shapiro: The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis

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Published on Jun 13, 2012

Roosevelt House hosted on May 8th, 2012 a book discussion with Ira Shapiro, author of The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis. Ira Shapiro's book is a portrait of the statesmen who helped steer America during the crisis years of the late 1970s, and offers leadership lessons for current senators and other elected officials.

About the Book:
Journalists have called the U.S. Senate an empty chamber, politicians have lamented that the institution is broken, yet the Senate was once capable of greatness. Senators of the 1960s and '70s overcame southern opposition to civil rights, passed Great Society legislation, and battled the executive branch on Vietnam, Watergate, and its abuses of power. The right's sweep of the 1980 elections shattered that Senate, leaving a diminished institution in its wake. Ira Shapiro spent 12 years working for Senators Gaylord Nelson, Abraham Ribicoff, Thomas Eagleton, Robert Byrd, and Jay Rockefeller. The Last Great Senate is his vivid portrait of the statesmen who helped steer America during the crisis years of the late 1970s, transcending partisanship and overcoming procedural roadblocks that have all but strangled the Senate since their departure. The Last Great Senate is necessary reading for all those who wonder how the Senate used to work and what happened to the world's greatest deliberative body.

This event was part of Roosevelt House's The Road to November: Exploring America's Challenges on The Way To Election 2102 Series.

Ira Shapiro focuses his practice on advising clients on the impact of international trade rules that have been negotiated multilaterally, regionally and bilaterally, and breaking down barriers to exports in foreign markets around the world. During the Clinton Administration, he served as the General Counsel to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and played a key role in completing the negotiations on the Uruguay Round which established the WTO global trade rules, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As the chief U.S. trade negotiator with Japan and Canada, Ambassador Shapiro negotiated solutions to several of the most contentious bilateral trade disputes, helping to open the Japanese market to U.S. autos and auto parts, semiconductors and insurance. Ira spent twelve years in senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate, including Minority Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the Governmental Affairs Committee and Chief of Staff to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. He has also served as a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank. As a candidate for Congress in 2002, Ira's campaign was described in the local press as "the antidote to cynicism that he promised."

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