Former members of Congress Dan Miller and Max Sandlin discussed issues in American society today and answered questions from students and faculty had in an open forum as part of Congress to Campus Oct. 29 in Farber Hall.
Dan Miller, a Republican and former member of the House of Representatives, earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida and went on to obtain his M.B.A. from Emory University and later a Ph.D from Louisiana State University.
Max Sandlin served in the House of Representatives from 1997 to 2005 as a Democratic Congressman representing Texas in district one. A graduate of Baylor University, Sandlin currently directs government relations for the public strategies firm Mercury in Washington, D.C.
Beginning with a brief illustration of how Congress is operating today as a result of terrorist events like Sept. 11, 2001, both Sandlin and Miller discussed topics of oversight and the role of the executive branch within Congress and the U.S. government as a whole. Miller pointed out several fluctuations with oversight through the years beginning in 1993 when President Bill Clinton was in office.
“Terrorism has essentially brought us all together,” Miller said in reference to oversight within Congress. Believing that it has brought political realms together, Miller also said terrorist attacks have brought the American people closer together as well.
Finishing up an introduction on the war on terror, Sandlin expressed his opinion on the Patriot Act, saying the act lingers on the subject of privacy versus protection.
“It was enacted in a panic,” Sandlin said. “I think there was a little overreaction on the Patriot Act from the standpoint of invasion of privacy. I think now that things are a bit more settled down, the Patriot Act would have a tough time making it.”
In response to a question concerning drone usage and strategy, Miller said it’s a different psychology of warfare. He said it is amazing technology and an asset to the military.
The forum ended with a discussion regarding America’s trust in China. Sandlin and Miller agree there is a “healthy trust and mistrust” with the Chinese government.
“It’s a fascinating country,” Miller said. “Their economy grew extremely fast, and now it’s slowing down. Now you’ve got a group of people who’s quality of life expectations don’t match the reality.”
Miller and Sandlin will be present at another forum at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 30 in Farber Hall.