McCloskey Speaker Series Presents A conversation with Republican Governors

July 7, 2011

Contact: Cristal Logan
Director, Aspen Community Programs
The Aspen Institute
Tel. 970-544-7929

Aspen, CO, July 7, 2011 –– The 2011 Aspen Institute McCloskey Speaker Series welcomes five Republican governors in conversation with Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson. The event will take place from 5:00 – 6:00 PM on Friday, July 22, 2011 in the Greenwald Pavilion on the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, CO. The series is made possible by a gift from the McCloskey Family Charitable Foundation. Tickets are $15 each and will go on sale on July 8 through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House. Doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the event, and unclaimed tickets will be on sale at the door.

The conversation will feature five Republican governors and leaders within the Republican Governor’s Association. They include Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Governor and RGA Vice Chairman Bob McDonnell of Virginia, Governor and RGA Chairman Rick Perry of Texas and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Governor Nikki Haley was elected Governor of South Carolina in November 2010. Haley was first elected to represent the 87th District in Lexington County in 2004, when, as a virtual unknown, she beat the longest serving state legislator in a Republican primary. In 2008, Representative Haley was sent back to the Statehouse with 83 percent of the vote – the highest percentage earned by any lawmaker facing a contested South Carolina election that year. She won the Republican Party nomination for governor in June 2010. For her efforts to cut taxes and slow the growth of government spending, Nikki was named “Friend of the Taxpayer” (2009) by the S.C. Association of Taxpayers and a “Taxpayer Hero” (2005) by Gov. Mark Sanford. She has lifetime “A” ratings from the South Carolina Club for Growth, the Palmetto Family Council, and the National Rifle Association. Nikki has also received the Palmetto Leadership Award from the S.C. Policy Council for her expertise on policy matters and the Strom Thurmond Excellence in Public Service and Government Award from the S.C. Federation of Republican Women for the outstanding constituent service she provided to her district.

Governor Susana Martinez is the Governor of the State of New Mexico. She was elected in November 2010 and is the first Latina Woman Governor in United States history. In her first six months in office, Martinez cut taxes to attract new jobs to the state, passed legislation requiring all schools to be graded A – F, downsized state government, and successfully closed the largest state budget deficit in New Mexico history – without raising taxes. Prior to being elected governor, Martinez was the District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, a position she held for 13 years. Martinez was first elected District Attorney in 1996, and was re-elected three times, running unopposed for the office in 2008. In addition to managing the second largest DA’s office in the state, Susana has personally tried some of the toughest cases, including child abuse and child homicide. In 2008, Heart Magazine named Susana “Woman of the Year” for her dedication to children’s advocacy and her efforts to keep children safe. Martinez has twice been named New Mexico’s “Prosecutor of the Year” and has a record of battling public corruption.

Governor Bob McDonnell was sworn in as the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in January 2010. He received nearly 59% of the vote, and the most votes of any candidate for Governor in Virginia history. As Virginia’s Chief Executive, Governor McDonnell inherited an unprecedented $6 billion in budget shortfalls. He defeated a proposed $2 billion increase in the state income tax, kept existing car tax relief in place and brought Democrats and Republicans together to close the shortfall without a single tax increase, producing a $400 million surplus. During that same time 80% of McDonnell’s legislative proposals passed Virginia’s bi-partisan General Assembly. In 2011, McDonnell saw 92% of his legislative proposals pass the bi-partisan General Assembly, including his plan that makes the largest investment in transportation in Virginia in a generation, and legislation to make college more affordable and accessible for Virginia students. The unemployment rate in Virginia has fallen from 7.2% when McDonnell took office to 6% today, and the Virginia was recently named by CNBC as “The Best State for Business” in the country. McDonnell served 21 years in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserve, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997. Upon graduating from law school in 1989 he served as a Virginia Beach prosecutor. McDonnell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991 and served 14 years representing Virginia Beach. He was elected as the 44th Attorney General of Virginia in 2005.

Governor Rick Perry is Texas’ 47th governor, and the first Texas A&M graduate to occupy the Governor’s Mansion. Perry has led a life of public service, starting in the United States Air Force and continuing over two decades in elected office. Governor Perry’s administration has focused on creating a Texas of unlimited opportunity and prosperity by improving education, securing the border and increasing economic development through classic conservative values.
During his tenure, Governor Perry has maintained a strong focus on fiscal discipline, leading the state out of a $10 billion budget deficit in 2003 by cutting government spending. Rick Perry’s political career started in 1985 as a representative for a rural West Texas district in the state House of Representatives. He was first elected to statewide office in 1990, and served as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture for two terms. Between 1972 and 1977, Governor Perry served in the United States Air Force flying C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

Governor Scott Walker was elected as Wisconsin’s 45th Governor in November 2010. Using an accomplished background as his base, he ran on a platform of economic growth and job creation. As governor, Scott has enacted lawsuit reform, provided tax relief for small businesses, tax deductions for Health Savings Accounts and tax credits for economic development. Scott has also replaced the state-run Department of Commerce with a public-private partnership called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Scott was elected to the State Assembly in 1993 and re-elected four times. In 2002, Scott was elected County Executive to reform the scandal-ridden county government. Scott attended Marquette University and while still in school, he worked for IBM before leaving to work full-time in financial development for the American Red Cross.

Tickets to this event can be purchased in person at the Wheeler Opera House, online at, or by calling 970-920-5770. For more information on the Aspen Institute McCloskey Speaker Series and other events open to the public, please contact Beth Slater at 970-544-7914 or, call the information line at 970-544-7970, or visit the Institute’s website at

Other speakers to be featured in the McCloskey Speaker Series include:

July 12 – A Conversation with Donna Brazile
Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committeein conversation with Walter Isaacson
6:30 – 7:30 pm; Paepcke Auditorium, Tickets at

July 27 – Afghanistan and Pakistan: The National Security Challenge in collaboration with the Aspen Security Forum. Featuring a conversation with Admiral Eric Olson moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz
6:30 – 7:30 pm; Greenwald Pavilion, Tickets on sale July 13

August 9 – 10 Years After 9/11 featuring Madeleine Albright; Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group;
Zoë Baird Budinger; President, Markle Foundation; Stephen Hadley; Senior Adviser for International Affairs at the United States Institute of Peace, and Principal in The RiceHadley Group, LLC; Philip Zelikow; Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History, University of Virginia and Chair of the 9/11 Commission. The discussion will be moderated by Ambassador Nicholas Burns.
6:30 – 7:30 pm; Greenwald Pavilion, Tickets on sale July 26

Event details subject to change. Please visit for updates or call our events line at 970-544-7970.


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