Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Steve Sisolak Among New Pritzker Fellows At University Of Chicago


The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics has announced its latest class of Pritzker Fellows, a group that includes Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Steve Sisolak (D-Nevada).

The Institute of Politics’ Pritzker Fellowship is a nonpartisan, extracurricular program that annually brings groups of prominent politicians, journalists and diplomats to the University of Chicago to conduct on-campus seminars on what it describes as “the most pressing issues of the day.” A complete list of fellows can be found here.

O’Rourke, former U.S. Representative from Texas’s 16th Congressional District, is scheduled to conduct seminars using Texas as a case study to explore the present and future of U.S. democracy.

Ryan, the former Ohio Congressman who recently lost a Senate bid to J.D. Vance, will examine the political and cultural divides affecting the U.S. electorate.

Sisolak, the former Governor of Nevada, will lead seminars on the challenges and opportunities of governing Nevada, including addressing climate change, improving state public education and governing through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining O’Rourke, Ryan and Sisolak will be:

  • former Rep. Peter Meijer (R) from Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, leading a seminar on the impact of federal policies on both cost-of-living realities and defense capabilities.
  • former Shreveport, Louisiana Mayor Adrian Perkins (D), who will discuss the challenges and rewards of running a mid-sized city as a millennial mayor, with a focus on smart grid technology and bridging the digital divide.
  • former 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons from Evanston, Illinois, who will discuss her role as the leader of the country’s first government-funded reparations bill, focusing on the complexities of passing the historic, tax-funded legislation in a largely segregated city.
  • Heather Cherone, political reporter for WTTW in Chicago, examining the upcoming Chicago mayoral and aldermanic elections.
  • journalist and co-founder Matthew Yglesias, whose seminar will focus on “the growing disconnect between nationalized media and the typical American and its impact on politics and policymaking.”

The Institute of Politics (IOP) was founded at the University of Chicago in 2013 by David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Created as a nonpartisan organization and affiliated with the Harris School of Public Policy, IOP “encourages and assists University of Chicago students to explore careers in public and social service and provides extracurricular opportunities in politics and policymaking.”

Included in IOP’s programming are the Pritzker Fellows program, funding of various political, policy and public interest internships; and a series of public speakers discussing current events and political life.

Axelrod has served as IOP’s Director since its founding, but in January, he stepped back from that role to become the chairman of IOP’s Board of Advisors and assume a new post as a Senior Fellow. Heidi Heitkamp, former Democrat Senator of North Dakota and herself a former Pritzker Fellow, has been named the new director.

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