A former Pennsylvania Congressman is taking on a new role overseeing a program for current members of Congress.
Former Congressman Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) has been appointed to serve as the next Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program.
Dent will now oversee the nongovernmental, nonpartisan educational program, established in 1983, that helps elected officials work across the aisle and gives Senators and Representatives the opportunity to “delve into complex and pressing public policy issues with internationally recognized experts in a neutral, off-the-record setting,” according to a release about his hiring.
“As a participant in several Aspen Institute programs while a member of Congress, I can personally attest to how meaningful and beneficial the Institute’s convening of substantive, bipartisan interactions enhanced my understanding of complex policy issues,” said Dent. “The Aspen Institute helped me become a better Congressman. In the aftermath of the violent attack on Congress, it is imperative, now more than ever, for us to engage constructively with members on the pressing issues facing our nation.”
Dent takes over for Dan Glickman, a former Kansas Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture during the Clinton administration, who headed the program since 2011. Dent said Glickman “leaves big shoes to be filled,” while Glickman lauded Dent as an “exception member of Congress” in the announcement.
“He has been a leader on ethics and appropriations issues, and has been genuinely committed to working across the aisle to seek bipartisan collaboration, to stand for a strong moral commitment to fairness and justice, and to foster efforts to secure a leadership role for moderates in Congress, especially among Republicans,” Glickman said, referring to Dent. “He is respected and admired across the aisle, and in the Biden Administration, and will help our continued efforts to make Congress function better for the American people.”
Dent comes to the role at the Aspen Institute from DLA Piper, where served as Senior Policy Advisor.
The Aspen Institute Congressional Program hosts weekly breakfasts for Senators and Representatives to hear from “experts and discuss policy solutions and bipartisan partnerships.” The program celebrated 600 breakfasts in the summer of 2020, according to a release from the group, which included more than 40% of the current Congress at that time participating in one or more breakfasts.
Dent, who is currently a CNN commentator, served in Congress from 2005-2019. He was a leader of the moderate GOP Tuesday Group and emerged as a vocal critic of President Donald Trump within the party when the president was elected, who did not support Trump in 2016, but instead voted for independent candidate Evan McMullin.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Dent endorsed Joe Biden over Trump and even signed onto a letter along with 25 other former GOP members of Congress calling for Trump to be impeached following the riots at the Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6.