RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA, Wednesday, February 20, 2013—David Dreier, the longtime chairman of the influential House Rules Committee who served in Congress for 32 years before his retirement last month, has been tapped to lead a special commission on Pacific Rim issues for The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands. The Annenberg Dreier Commission at Sunnylands, which will have an initial focus on trade, was announced by Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands at a special event in Rancho Mirage, California on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.
“The Annenberg Dreier Commission joins a remarkable constellation of Sunnylands initiatives that have held important retreats on issues such as U.S. – Mexico relations, math and civics education, and innovative ways to ensure students and teachers across the country have access to modern technology,” said Cowan. “With his decades of leadership in Congress along with his close relationship with the Annenberg family, we are fortunate to have Chairman Dreier lead this effort to create meetings and retreats designed to achieve greater international cooperation on trade and other issues.”
“It is an honor to continue public service through this Commission and to carry on the legacy and vision of Lee and Walter Annenberg,” said Dreier. “I have always believed it is important to overcome barriers between people and nations. We must continue to work tirelessly to promote the free flow of goods, services, capital, ideas, and people.” “Nations throughout the Greater Pacific are rapidly expanding financial, social, commercial, scientific, demographic, and political ties. These connections are reshaping national policies and highlighting shared interests in this region, which represents well over half the world’s population and GDP,” he added. “Ongoing efforts to achieve an ambitious new multilateral trans-Pacific trade agreement underscore the centrality of these exchanges to our future economic competitiveness, growth, and security.”
As part of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, The Annenberg Dreier Commission will organize retreats and meetings during the next year, including events at the historic Annenberg estate, which provides a spectacular setting for exchanges between thought leaders from government, academia, the private sector, the arts, and the scientific community. The Commission’s goal will be to develop new agendas for practical cooperation that can highlight and advance trade and other shared interests across the region, which includes Asia, the Americas and the rest of the Greater Pacific.
Retreats recently organized by other senior members of the Sunnylands team have included a meeting of Supreme Court Justices concerned with civics education; a meeting of the LEAD Commission to advance education through digital technology that featured Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski; a retreat on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations with a bi-national group of top policymakers and industry leaders that was convened in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Center; and a retreat on advancing math education with top educators and policymakers, including Bill Gates.
Having played a key role in many important issues during his more than three decades in Congress, Dreier has been a staunch and effective advocate for the benefits of free trade and an ally of both Democratic and Republican administrations seeking to strengthen America’s relationship with its partners.
He was first elected to Congress in 1980 and became a member of the House leadership when he took the helm of the powerful House Committee on Rules in 1999. As the youngest Rules chairman and the first from California, he played a pivotal role in fashioning all legislation for debate in the House. He authored the 1995 Congressional reform package that streamlined committee structure, promoted fiscal responsibility, created term limits for committee chairmen, and opened committee meetings to the public and press. In 2006, he authored legislation to reform lobbying and ethics laws. The reform package included stronger penalties for breaking the rules, online public access to lobbyist disclosures, and more rigorous ethics training.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the International Republican Institute. Dreier is the founding chairman of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), which works directly with the legislatures in 16 countries around the globe, helping to build democratic institutions in new and re-emerging democracies. Additionally, he is the founding Chair of the Congressional Trade Working Group that has built support for trade agreements for over 20 years. He graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College in 1975 and earned a Master’s degree in American Government from Claremont Graduate University the following year.
The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, which operates The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating entity established by the Annenberg Foundation to hold high level retreats that address serious issues facing the nation and the world community and to educate the public on the historical significance of Sunnylands. More information may be found online at www.sunnylands.org.