On Monday, November 11, 2019, Cairn University welcomed Andrew Lewis of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to speak on campus. Attendees gathered in Holmes Hall to hear Representative Lewis’ presentation on the importance of personal character in public service followed by a Q&A with Cairn faculty and students.
Andrew Lewis (R) represents Pennsylvania’s 105th district, located in Dauphin County near Harrisburg. He was elected in November 2018. Drawing on his experience in the United States Army and various business ventures, Rep. Lewis focuses his political efforts on responsible spending and ensuring that the government works for the people it represents.
During his talk on Monday night, Rep. Lewis addressed the question of whether one can maintain a high moral character during a career in politics. As a recent PEW Research study suggests, trust in the government is at a historic low, and the public generally does not expect government officials to consistently “do what is right.” Rep. Lewis sees this as an urgent problem. He rejects the notion that being a good politician equates to being a “good liar,” and his talk conveyed three ways he believes public servants can build up trust: character, selfless leadership, and a commitment to American exceptionalism.
Following Rep. Lewis’ talk, Cairn professors Mark Gaspar and Doug Baker moderated a Q&A in which Cairn students asked thoughtful questions. Questions involved respectful pushback on his view of American exceptionalism, his thoughts on the problematic elements of the two-party system, and present challenges facing the Pennsylvania education system. Rep. Lewis had the opportunity to discuss his view on the importance of “diversifying news sources” to avoid political polarization, as well as to inform those present of some of his current legislative work. As an example of unified political action, Rep. Lewis explained his proposed “Fighting Chance Act” with Democratic state representative Malcolm Kenyatta that would simplify the process of occupational licensure for people working toward a variety of jobs.
This informative event offered students and other attendees an inside look at state-level government politics. Rep. Lewis offered hope to people from all parts of the political spectrum that public servants can exhibit moral character and truly work for the people they represent.
Thank you to Representative Andrew Lewis for accepting this invitation to speak. The livestream recording of the event can be watched here.