Published January 20, 2015.
As someone with a keen interest in politics, I enjoy following election campaigns, even staying up late on election nights as the results come in – and last November's mid-term polls were no exception. My interest in elections has a professional dimension as well, of course, since my colleagues and I at the Milken Institute are often focused on public policy issues. Yet even as we engage in policy analysis, we stay out of politics.
Since its founding, the Milken Institute has been relentlessly nonpartisan, and has remained so in recent years even as many other think tanks have chosen to take sides in the ideological battles of the time. We work with government officials on both sides of the aisle, and across the political spectrum.
That doesn't mean our experts don't draw conclusions from their research that sometimes please conservatives and displease progressives – or vice versa. It does mean that, whatever their points of view, we expect Institute professionals, and the people we bring together, to be open to the ideas and insights of others.
At the Institute we try to be a forum for people on both sides of the aisle. And we generally succeed: Many of the officials and policy advocates who join each year's Global Conference tell me that, while with us, they are able to engage with their counterparts in ways notably lacking in partisanship.
Thus, at the Institute's Global Conference in 2013, Eric Cantor and Harry Reid shared a stage to discuss where they disagreed – and agreed – on issues. That same year, at November's Partnering for Cures meeting in New York, one panel featured Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee discussing their important 21st Century Cures initiative.
Our commitment to nonpartisanship extends to our publications as well. In this issue of the Review, for example, you'll find an article by Alan Krueger, the former chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, a few pages away from a thoughtful essay by a leading young conservative, Reihan Salam of the National Review.
By providing a forum for intelligent, cordial debate, our hope is that the clash of ideas can lead to solutions rather than deepen ideological separation. We are always looking for areas where there can be common cause. Our goal is not scoring points with allies, but getting things done that will actually improve lives.
Michael Klowden, CEO