On April 24th, Roosevelt House hosted a discussion with Bob Edgar, President of Common Cause.

About the Speaker:

In May 2007, Bob Edgar was named president and CEO of Common Cause, a national nonpartisan, non-profit “citizens” lobbying organization working to make government at all levels more honest, open and accountable, and to connect citizens with the notion of democracy. Bob arrived at Common Cause with a long history of leadership and public service that included 12 years in Congress. He was the general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA for seven years  before arriving at Common Cause.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 to represent the Seventh Congressional District of Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, Bob was part of the congressional class nicknamed “the Watergate babies,” those elected in the wake of the Watergate scandal and who led sweeping reforms of Congress.

During six terms in the US House, Bob led efforts to improve public transportation, fought wasteful water projects and authored the community Right to Know provision of Super Fund legislation. He also served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and President John F. Kennedy.

Bob ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 1986 against now Sen. Arlen Specter. That race fueled his frustration with the undue influence of money in politics and he became an active supporter of clean elections and campaign finance reform, issues that have long been Common Cause’s hallmark. He served on Common Cause’s National Governing Board for several years before becoming President of the organization.

Under Bob’s leadership, Common Cause is championing a number of critical issues and reforms, including the public funding of political campaigns at all levels, election reforms that make voting more accurate, secure and accessible, improved ethics at all levels of government and a diverse and open media. One of Bob’s first actions as president of Common Cause was to call for the resignation and then impeachment of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for politicizing the Justice Department and failing to serve the public interest.

An active volunteer, Bob sits on the boards of several organizations, including Independent Sector, which was also founded by Common Cause’s founder, John Gardner, Families USA and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

Bob received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pa., and a master of divinity degree from the Theological School of Drew University, Madison, N.J. He has also been president of the Claremont School of Theology. He holds four honorary doctoral degrees.

Bob is the author of “Middle Church,” a call to progressive people of faith to take back the moral high ground from the right-wing extremists and make America a better and less divided country.


A Discussion with Bob Edgar of Common Cause | Posted on March 12th, 2012 | Public Programs