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posted: 3/28/2014 3:15 PM

Former presidential hopeful Howard Dean appearing at Benedictine

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  • Past chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will visit April 22 at Benedictine University in Lisle.

    Past chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will visit April 22 at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    AP file photo

By Ryan Blackburn
Benedictine University

Past chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will visit Benedictine University in Lisle to discuss his experiences in politics, the future of the Democratic Party and his views on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Dean's appearance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in the Krasa Student Center, 5700 College Ave., is free.

Dean was invited to speak at Benedictine as part of the nonpartisan Center for Civic Leadership's speaker series. Established in 2005 under the direction of former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, a 1969 Benedictine graduate and Distinguished Fellow, the series seeks to shape a new generation of public leaders and responsible citizens.

"Dean brings tremendous experience in both Democratic politics and the field of medicine," said Phil Hardy, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and acting CCL director. "His background, both as a medical doctor and former presidential hopeful, will allow him to discuss health care reform and the Affordable Care Act from a unique vantage point.

"We look forward to hearing him outline the challenges that lie ahead for the new health care law, as well as the electoral prospects for the Democratic Party as we approach the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential contest."

Dean also will visit with area high school and community college students to discuss "Reforming Health Care in the United States" as part of the CCL's Youth Government Day, an annual event at Benedictine created to engage young people on the importance of government by examining some of the most pressing political issues affecting their country, state and community.

Dean first entered politics in 1982 as a state representative in Vermont after transitioning from a career as a full-time practicing physician. In 1991, he was elected governor of Vermont, a seat he held for six terms.

In 2003, he left the Vermont governorship to run for president. During this campaign, he implemented innovative strategies for fundraising, voter outreach and feedback through the use of the Internet and social media -- techniques that were used by both parties in the 2008 election.

Dean is past chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governors Association and the New England Governors' Conference.

As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Dean created and implemented the "50 State Strategy," an ambitious effort to forgo the old approach of campaigning in traditional Democratic strongholds in favor of cultivating candidates in every state and level of government. Under his leadership, significant resources were dedicated to revitalizing the Democratic Party by building and strengthening the organizational tools, technological capabilities and infrastructure required to win elections while laying the foundation for a long-term Democratic majority.

Today, Dean serves as a senior strategic adviser and independent consultant in the Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs practice at McKenna Long & Aldridge, where he specializes in the areas of health care, early childhood development, alternative energy and the expansion of grass-roots politics around the world. He also serves as a contributor for CNBC and as a board member of the National Democratic Institute, where he focuses on Southeast Europe and China. He is the founder of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee.