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Barrett, The Honors College names Jeff Flake, Jon Kyl 2018 Rhodes Chairs

The Arizona senators will deliver the Rhodes Lecture at Arizona State University in March


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February 26, 2018

Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and Jon Kyl have been named the 2018 John J. Rhodes Chairs in Public Policy and American Institutions at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. As chairs, they will deliver the Rhodes Lecture in March.  

The 2018 Rhodes Lecture titled “Arizona Politics: The Past, Present and Future” will feature Republicans Flake and Kyle giving their insights into Arizona politics in a moderated discussion format. The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at the Galvin Playhouse, 51 E. 10th St., on the ASU Tempe campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will become available on Feb. 28.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rhodes Lecture. Over the past two decades, the it has featured leaders in politics, business, social entrepreneurship, journalism, science, the law and healthcare. Each speaker embodies a commitment to service, fair-minded leadership and the betterment of our society through open dialogue and the sharing of ideas — the very ideals upheld by the lecture’s namesake, John J. Rhodes.

Rhodes represented Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years, from 1953–83. He served as the minority leader of the house from 1973–1981. He exemplified the values of personal integrity, fiscal responsibility, respect for persons of all political beliefs and international foresight.

Upon his retirement, Rhodes’ family and many friends wanted to establish an enduring tribute to his leadership. John and his wife, Betty, had long been supporters of higher education, so the family established an endowment for the John J. Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions and selected Barrett, The Honors College at ASU to be the chair’s home. An archive of John Rhodes’ congressional papers is in the Special Collections at Hayden Library on the ASU Tempe campus.

portrait of Jeff Flake

Sen. Jeff Flake

About Jeff Flake

Flake is a fifth-generation Arizonan who was raised on a cattle ranch in Snowflake, Arizona, a small town named in part for the senator’s great-great grandfather.

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Flake served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001–13, representing the East Valley.

As a member of the U.S. Senate, he sits on the Judiciary Committee and is chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law. He also serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Water and Power, and the Foreign Relations Committee where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs.

After serving a Mormon mission in southern Africa, Flake graduated from Brigham Young University, where he received a bachelor's degree in international relations, and an master's degree in political science.

In 1987, he started his career at a Washington, D.C. public affairs firm, but soon returned to Africa as executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Namibia. In this role, he helped monitor Namibia’s independence process and saw that nation usher in freedom and democracy.

In 1992, he and his family moved back to Arizona, where he was named executive director of the Goldwater Institute, where he worked to promote a conservative philosophy of less government, more freedom, and individual responsibility.

portrait of Jon Kyl

Sen. Jon Kyl

About Jon Kyl

Kyl currently serves as senior of counsel at Covington and Burling, LLP and is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He also is a Distinguished Fellow in Public Service at ASU’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions, a Distinguished Scholar of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy. Previously, Kyl served 18 years in the U.S. Senate after serving eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2008, he was elected unanimously by his colleagues to serve as Republican Whip, the second-highest position in the Senate Republican leadership, a position he held until his retirement in 2013.

As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he helped write reforms to U.S. patent law, the landmark Crime Victims’ Rights Act, as well as important provisions of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and other anti-terrorism laws.

As a member of the Finance Committee, he was the chief advocate of pro-growth tax policies, including low tax rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estates. He was a member of the Joint Select Committee for deficit reductions, the so-called “Super Committee.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote in February 2011 that Senator Kyl “had made his mark the old fashioned way — by knowing what he is talking about.” The New York Times, in a February 2012 piece, called Kyl “the emissary of the Republican leadership, a gatekeeper of conservatism, and a bridge between his party’s most ardent conservatives and more pragmatic centrists.” Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes called Kyl “The Indispensable Man,” noting that “he knows more about more issues than anyone else in Congress — ranging from missile defense to estate tax.”

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