News and Analysis


Jack Morton Auditorium

Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the Jack Morton Auditorium as part of a CNN town hall Thursday evening. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the Jack Morton Auditorium as part of a CNN town hall Thursday evening. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke about topics like health care, immigration and trade deals to a full audience at Jack Morton Auditorium and to viewers across the country during a CNN town hall Thursday evening.

Ryan, who was targeted throughout the past election cycle by President-elect Donald Trump, talked at the event about Trump’s priorities and how he and other Republican leaders were already working with the incoming presidential administration to get projects rolling before inauguration.

Jake Tapper, the chief Washington correspondent at CNN, led the discussion with Ryan who answered questions from the audience.

Missed the broadcast? Here are some of the biggest takeaways:

1. Health care, health care, health care

The first third of the town hall featured questions about health care, which were particularly relevant as the House of Representatives had voted to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, the night before.

Jeff Jeans, a cancer survivor from Sedona, Az. who said he would have died without assistance from the health care law, asked Ryan why he and other Republicans wanted to repeal the law without offering a replacement.

Ryan said the process of repealing the law would happen at the same time that lawmakers introduced a new health care law that would provide citizens with tax credits to purchase plans.

“The law is collapsing and so we’ve got to rescue people,” he said, citing rising premiums in states like Jean’s home state of Arizona and Texas.

Shannon Doe, a GW student, asked Ryan about the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood, which Republicans have threatened to do over the years, and how they would replace the services that women use at the centers.

Ryan said he would instead support instituting federal community health centers because Planned Parenthood is too controversial for performing abortions, even after Tapper pointed out that tax dollars don’t fund abortions.

“We don’t want to effectively give taxpayer money to an organization providing abortions,” Ryan said, claiming that even though the dollars wouldn’t go directly to abortions, the funds could impact the services indirectly.

2. Two sides of immigration

Mary Anne Mendoza, who lost her son in a head-on collision with an undocumented man who was found to be using drugs at the time, asked Ryan how he would work to deport undocumented criminals and build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico that Trump famously campaigned on.

Ryan said he and others are already working with Trump’s team on those projects and condemned sanctuary cities, cities where leaders have promised to assist and protect undocumented residents. D.C. is a sanctuary city.

“Sanctuary cities are a violation of the rule of law, and they are not to be tolerated,” he said. “That means if you want federal assistance, you’re not going to get it. You’ve got to enforce the law.”

Angelic Villalobos, an undocumented immigrant who moved to the U.S. as a child and is currently protected from deportation by a law designed to protect undocumented residents who came to the U.S. as children, asked Ryan if he wanted to deport immigrants like her.

Ryan said that as he and others worked on immigration laws, they would protect those currently shielded by the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but did not provide specifics on how they would do so.

“What we have to do is figure out how to have a humane solution to this very legitimate, sincere problem and respect the rule of law,” he said.

3. Tweeter-in-chief

The final question from the audience came from Christine Ford, a GW student who asked how Trump’s tweeting habits could impact his policies and the U.S.’s reputation internationally.

Ryan said that Trump’s use of Twitter was “extremely effective for getting elected president” and that while he does expect Trump to continue to use the platform, he thinks the president will become more restrained.

“I am just marveled and amazed how well he connected with so many people,” Ryan said. “I think he has a very special, personal relationship with individuals and he connects directly with them.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke about the future of the Democratic party at a CNN town hall in Jack Morton Auditorium Monday. Lisa Blitstein | Hatchet Photographer

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke about the future of the Democratic party at a CNN town hall in Jack Morton Auditorium Monday. Lisa Blitstein | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by reporter Joshua Porter.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participated in a CNN town hall with reporter Chris Cuomo at the Jack Morton Auditorium Monday night. The town hall, which was broadcast live, focused on congressional priorities in light of an impending Donald Trump presidency.

Sanders offered broad strategies for the Democratic Party during the new administration and addressed audience members’ concerns for the future.

Here are the big takeaways:

Compromising with Trump

Sanders urged fellow Democrats against unilateral obstruction during the Trump administration, while still acknowledging characteristics of Trump’s campaign which Democrats should guard against.

“I will tell you this: He ran a campaign whose cornerstone was bigotry,” he said. “It was based on sexism, on racism, on xenophobia, and on that issue, I will not compromise.”

After criticizing Republicans for blocking President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme court, Sanders suggested some Democrats may use a similar strategy toward the GOP. Still, he urged bipartisan cooperation when possible.

“Where Trump has ideas that make sense that we can work with him on, I think we should,” he said.

The future of Obamacare

Sanders, who ran his 2016 presidential campaign on free education and free healthcare, noted that the U.S. is one of the only major countries not guarantee health care as a right. Saying that it was time the U.S. government provide free health care, Sanders said that initial efforts like the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, would need to be tweaked over time in order to be successful.

Jessica Karabian, an audience member who relies on Obamacare to cover treatments for breast cancer, asked Sanders how he will make sure that the life-saving components of the Affordable Care Act remain.

“We are going to do everything we can to improve the Affordable Care Act. It has problems, but we damn well are not going to repeal it and not have anything there at all,” Sanders said.

The influence of trade

Sanders said that trade policy is one area of potential compromise between progressives and the Trump administration. Both Sanders and Trump have criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement and said they opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the 2016 campaign.

Ed Mash, a former Ohio corrections officer, asked Sanders how he will work with Trump to promote growth in areas like Ohio. Sanders pointed to international trade agreements.

“The issue is that for the last 30 years, under Democratic and Republican administrations, we have had trade policies like NAFTA and CAFTA and permanent relationships with China,” Sanders said.

Sanders voted against NAFTA and CAFTA in the past, saying that such agreements benefit multinational corporations rather than the American working class by outsourcing jobs to nations with low or nonexistent labor regulations and cheap manufacturing costs. Sanders said he believes in fair trade, not unfettered free trade.

“I believe we need a new trade policy. I believe we tell corporate America they’ve got to control their greed,” Sanders said. “Mr. Trump is prepared to sit down and work on a new trade policy which is based on fairness, not just on corporate greed, yes, I will be happy to work with him.”

Plans for immigration reform

Sanders highlighted his hopes for immigration reform that would give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and access to health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Jenny Gutierrez, a high school teacher from Maryland, and Osama Alsaleh, a GW student, asked Sanders about the future of immigrants and their children under the upcoming Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

In response, Sanders noted Democrats’ commitment to protecting immigrants as well as undocumented immigrants during the next administration.

“To see a man elected president who campaigned on dividing us up, turning us against each other. Your beautiful students should not be afraid. Young Muslim kids should not be afraid to walk the streets,” he said. “That is not what this country is about.”

Sanders added that diversity is what makes the country thrive.

“We must judge people on who they are, not where their grandfather came from or their religion,” Sanders said. “This is a principle we have to fight for.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Brigid Godfrey.

The president of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke about Georgia’s transition to democracy and plans for the future to a 100-person audience at the Jack Morton Auditorium Thursday.

Georgia is located in one of the most continually changing areas of the world, he said during the talk. The country has made a point to work toward Western integration, even though 15 percent of the population has become refugees, Margvelashvili said.

Here are the main takeaways from his speech:

1. Becoming a democracy

Margvelashvili said this year will be the first parliamentary election with “Western-style” campaigns, even though the country has officially been independent for more than two decades.

This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Georgian Independence Referendum, in which Georgian citizens voted to exist as an independent state after the fall of the Soviet Union, he said.

“We are a country that has built a relatively workable democracy that can change the government through elections,” Margvelashvili said.

He said developing the nation into a completely free and democratic state will not be easy, saying that new systems and functional institutions would have to be introduced, a process that cannot be completed overnight.

2. Integrating into Europe

Margvelashvili said he is working to integrate Georgia into the European Union and into European society.

“We are first, culturally, a European nation,” Margvelashvili said. “We have targeted our state development as a free and democratic state.”

Margvelashvili said Georgians hope to be part of the EU and NATO soon.

“We have identified the international alliances where we believe we belong to and to where we are committing to,” Margvelashvili said.

The transition has been tough for the Georgian government to reach the benchmarks required by those institutions to become members, he added.

3. Working toward a peaceful future

Margvelashvili said the current occupation of parts of Europe by the Russian Federation is an “embarrassment” that Georgia would not be a part of.

“We are a friendly neighbor,” said.

He hopes to continue Georgia’s current peaceful relationship with neighboring states Armenia and Azerbijan, he said. He said his country has a dedication to goodwill and peace.

“I hope the future is peaceful,” Margvelashvili said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 10:38 a.m.

German official talks U.S. alliance, diplomacy

The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about U..S.-German relationships in Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about U..S.-German relationships in Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Joseph Konig.

One of German’s highest ranking officials warned against “the politics of fear” in the Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday.

On a day when millions of Americans across the nation headed to caucuses and primaries, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier argued that global cooperation and perseverance are the answers to security and prosperity concerns, not fear-mongering and isolationism.

“In Germany and in Europe, something is gaining momentum in our domestic politics,” Steinmeier said. “And to be honest, I am also seeing it here in the United States during the primary campaigns. It’s the politics of fear.”

In his 30 minute-long speech, the top diplomat in the German government quoted Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Secretary of State John Kerry. Hope Harrison, the associate dean for research in the Elliott School of International Affairs, moderated the conversation.

If you were too busy catching up on Super Tuesday results to attend, here’s what you missed:

1. Walls are ‘a very bad idea’

While Steinmeier did not mention any of the current presidential candidates, one point he made in support of globalization appeared to be a dig towards Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

“If you ask me, building walls is a very bad idea – no matter who pays for them,” Steinmeier said after disavowing politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who “call for retreat” and wish to “leave the world outside to deal with its own problems.”

2. Persevere in foreign affairs

Steinmeier focused not only on fear, which he defined as an “important human reflex” but a “terrible adviser in politics,” but also referenced “the politics of hope” as an alternative in American and European politics that is just as ineffective in foreign policy.

“In foreign policy, hope mostly doesn’t get you very far,” Steinmeier said. “In foreign policy, what you need above all is perseverance, perseverance even in hopeless situations.”

Steinmeier, who is a member of the Social-Democratic Party in Germany, cited the Syrian civil war and the ongoing European refugee crisis as issues the United States and Germany need to work together on.

“Diplomacy can bridge even the deepest of rifts,” Steinmeier said.

3.’The strongest alliance’

Steinmeier repeatedly praised the U.S.-German alliance, saying his talk was one of his few stops among talks with U.S. and UN officials.

“We have built the strongest alliance that either of us has ever had: The Transatlantic Alliance,” Steinmeier said. “It’s strong in terms of security. It’s strong in terms of economy.”

Steinmeier said the U.S. became Germany’s largest trading partner and German firms have created 600,000 jobs in the United States last year. He added that American influences in Germany include popular TV shows like Homeland and House of Cards, as well as supermarkets, Superman, and the Super Soaker.

“But not our Tuesdays, they’re just average Tuesdays,” Steinmeier said, referring to the then-ongoing Super Tuesday.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Catherine Samba-Panza, the transitional president of the Central African Republic, spoke in Jack Morton Auditorium on Tuesday. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

Catherine Samba-Panza, the transitional president of the Central African Republic, spoke in Jack Morton Auditorium on Tuesday. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Tanvi Banerjee.

Catherine Samba-Panza, the transitional president of the Central African Republic, spoke in Jack Morton Auditorium on Tuesday about the small but fragile country she now leads.

“Without a doubt, some of you have never have never heard about the Central African Republic,” Samba-Panza said during her presentation.

Samba-Panza, the first woman to serve as the country’s head of state, was elected into her transitional role in 2014. She will leave her post at the end of this month.

During the event, she talked about some of the issues her country faces and answered questions from an audience of about 40 people.

Here are a few takeaways from Samba-Panza’s presentation:

1. Central African Republic ‘is not that crazy’

The instability caused by conflict has affected the Central African Republic’s economy, governance and national unity, Samba-Panza said. The country currently ranks 185 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index.

“The Central African Republic has always been presented as a failed state,” she said.

However, President Samba-Panza said she has focused on bringing the country to a state of relative stability. She attributed the the success of her tenure as the transitional president to the support she received from the international community.

With international support from organizations like the World Bank, the government has been able to strengthen national cohesion and increase the mobilization of resources, she said.

She also acknowledged a changing mindset in people, which she said has helped in the transition of the country to a democracy.

2. Using the local process to stop the cycle of violence

The Central African Republic is often presented as a violent country, with mass killings and religious discrimination but citizens of Central African Republic were now tired of this violence and conflict, Samba-Panza said.

“People are tired of violence, People are tired of conflict. The population itself is starting to reject conflict and violence.” President Samba-Panza said.

She said that that the first plan of stopping the culture of violence was starting the program of “disarmament” and sensitization.

“We knew that as long as these groups and populations did not feel safe, they would not separate themselves from their arms.” President Samba-Panza said.

3. Challenges for young people

Samba-Panza said that young people have played a major role in recent conflicts. She said that young people in Central African Republic and other countries like Burundi got involved in a cycle of violence because they did not have any other activities.

“It is important for the community to figure out not just giving young people something to do, but to also figure out how to continue to keep them involved with the community,” Samba-Panza said.

Samba-Panza talked about several projects that involve young people in high intensity labor to help them rehabilitate their communities.

Samba-Panza also had advice for young women, whom she encouraged to become more engaged in public and international events.

“Women should affirm themselves by making frank, open and honest commitments in the area of women’s rights and the area of politics and all other sectors.” she said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Chuck Todd led a discussion of the 2016 election in the Jack Morton Auditorium on Wednesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Chuck Todd led a discussion of the 2016 election in the Jack Morton Auditorium on Wednesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated: Sept. 2, 2015 at 11:19 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Vaidehi Patel.

Chuck Todd led a panel of political experts to discuss the 2016 campaign in front of a packed crowd in the Jack Morton Auditorium Wednesday night.

The panelists of pollsters and strategists quickly acknowledged the growing popularity of Trump, a “flamboyant” Republican candidate. Known for his countless controversies with the media since the start of his campaign, Trump has quickly become well-known for his politics and strategies – and not just for his business ventures or TV presence.

Paul Wilson, the chairman and CEO of Wilson Grand Communications, said Trump’s ability to effectively use social media like Twitter and make his campaign similar to reality TV has given him an edge over the other candidates.

“He treats media like a salt shaker,” Wilson said.

Amy Walter, the national editor of The Cook Political Report, said that Trump is different from the other candidates because he tends .

“He is seen as the kid on the playground not playing by the rules,” Walter said.

A panel of political strategists discussed the 2016 campaign. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A panel of political strategists discussed the 2016 campaign. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The panelists also criticized Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for doing few national interviews.

Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said that Clinton’s campaign depends on the votes of all kinds of minority groups, including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and women. If she doesn’t make herself more accessible, she could lose the votes from these key populations, the panelists agreed.

But Cornell Belcher, the president of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, said that any candidate could lose to a late campaign launch from the “amiable” Vice President Joe Biden.

And all panelists agreed that the American people have lost trust in Washington politicians, meaning that anxiety over the future and anger are driving forces behind their choice of candidate. Candidates will have to work on becoming likeable to win the voters over, they said.

“The most important thing that the people want is a president they like,” Belcher said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Frank Sesno, the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and founder of Planet Forward, welcomed guests to the Feeding the Planet Summit in the Jack Morton Auditorium. Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Frank Sesno the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and founder of Planet Forward, welcomed guests to the Feeding the Planet Summit in the Jack Morton Auditorium. Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Noah Olsen.

An Earth Day summit Thursday brought together students and professionals in agriculture and climate change to talk about hot-button issues in sustainability, including genetically modified organisms and world hunger.

The Feeding The Planet Summit was hosted by School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno and featured scientists, agriculturists and other sustainability experts to talk about their fields of study.

Here are summaries of some of the key discussions:

1. The future of food

After quick opening remarks, Sesno introduced Krysta Harden, the deputy secretary of the agriculture, to lead a discussion on the future of food and the steps the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking to ensure sustainability in food production with rapidly increasing populations.

Harden began by sharing the story of her father’s lifetime of hard work as small Georgia peanut farmer and emphasized how her upbringing made her realize the importance of farmers in America.

“Is there not a greater honor than feeding people?” Harden said.

Harden also discussed the every day threats farmers face, like climate change. She said drought costs the U.S. about $50 billion between 2011 and 2013.

2. Conversations with a hunger fighter

In a separate panel, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., discussed his efforts to eradicate hunger during his time in Congress.

“We know how to end hunger. It’s not that hard,” he said. “I don’t know how to end all wars, but we all know how to end hunger.”

He added that the nation has the resources to end hunger, but the political system is preventing it from happening.

3. The next generation of hunger fighters

After his talk on his own efforts to combat hunger, McGovern moderated a panel discussing what the next generation of leaders is doing to combat hunger. Students from American, Iowa State and Ohio State universities joined McGovern to discuss their ventures to eradicate issues related to hunger.

Maria Rose Belding, a freshman at American University, founded the Matching Excess And Needs for Stability Database, a website designed for food banks around the country to communicate and share resources.

Belding describes the database as a “Craigslist for food banks.”

4. Farmers, science and the sustainability story

The morning finished with a conversation between Sesno and Monsanto Company Vice President Michael Frank, the largest producer of planting seeds in the world.

While Frank defended the importance and scientific reasoning behind the use of genetically modified seeds, Sesno challenged him using the popular opinion that the health repercussions of GMOs are unknown and that they also have the potential to create dangerous mutated crops.

Sesno asked why GMOs are so villainized by the public and news media, and Frank responded by discussing the science supporting the use of GMOs.

“There has been more than four and a half billion acres of GMO seed planted around the world,” Frank said. “There’s been over a trillion meals served with GMO improved grains and there’s not one health issue.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Updated: March 16, 2015 at 1:51 p.m.

Former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and former White House press secretary Dana Perino will visit campus next Sunday for the third annual “Only at GW” debate series.

Each year, GW College Democrats and College Republicans each receive funding and co-sponsorships from the Student Association to bring current and former political figures to Foggy Bottom. College Democrats will host Frank, while Perino will come for the College Republicans.

SA Finance Committee Chair and presidential candidate Ben Pryde said the College Democrats received about $18,000 and the College Republicans received more than $27,000 from the SA for the event this year. Pryde said the College Democrats also used some of the group’s own revenues to bring Frank, but declined to give an exact figure.

Frank is the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay.

Program Board organized the event with the two political student organizations by helping with press releases and promotion, Executive Chair Liz Moses said.

Members of the College Democrats and College Republicans will attend a reception following the event, where they can meet the speakers, Moses said.

Last year, David Plouffe, who worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, participated in the debate.

The event will take place March 22 in the Jack Morton Auditorium at 6 p.m. Tickets are free.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Four GW alumni and political journalists returned to campus to talk about their reporting and the 2014 midterm elections. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Four GW alumni and political journalists returned to campus to talk about their reporting and the 2014 midterm elections. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Sept. 16, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Brandon Lee.

A panel of journalists who graduated from GW returned to campus to discuss their reporting experiences and the upcoming midterm elections Tuesday.

Roll Call’s Emily Cahn, Reid Wilson of the Washington Post, Shawna Thomas of “Meet the Press” and The McClatchy Company’s Vice President of News Anders Gyllenhaal met at the Jack Morton Auditorium to share their experiences with students, faculty and fellow alumni.

Here are the big moments from the evening.

1. Americans don’t vote often in midterms, but they should

Why do so few Americans vote in midterm elections, moderator and School of Media and Public Affairs associate professor Cheryl Thompson asked to kick off the discussion.

Wilson took a stab at the answer by first recognizing that the lack of enthusiasm is understandable.

“The average American is going through a tough time right now,” Wilson said. “When you struggle to make ends meet, you don’t have time to read the paper everyday.”

And while a majority of eligible voters take a pass on the midterms, 1974 GW graduate Gyllenhaal said the stakes of the 2014 elections could excite people.

“It’s hard for people who aren’t as addicted to this stuff as the folks in this room to be excited about midterms,” he said. “But it’s also true that the Senate is up for grabs, and if you focus on that, you are looking at something very suspenseful.”

2. The GOP will most likely take the Senate

Thompson, who is also an investigative reporter at The Post, asked the panel how President Barack Obama’s shrinking approval rate will impact the outcome in November. All four journalists agreed the president’s numbers would have an effect.

“They can’t bring in the star power of the president anymore,” Thomas said. “You want the money that a president can bring in, but in these tight races, he is nowhere to be found.”

Thomas, who graduated from GW in 2002, added that Obama’s absence from the campaign trail is intentional. And that shows Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the President, said Cahn, a 2011 alumna.

“These important races are happening in states that Obama had already lost [in 2012],” Cahn said. “Then you look at how poorly he’s doing now, that’s going to hurt his party with even the base voters in his party. That’s definitely a big problem for the Democrats.”

3. Take advantage of opportunities at GW

The alumni also mentioned how attending GW shaped their careers.

Students get “to be in the center of everything,” said Thomas, who joined “Meet the Press” this summer.

While at GW, Thomas interned at Fox News and stayed in D.C. to work as a lobbyist after graduation.

“Half, if not all, of your professors have connections,” she said. “Everything you can do in D.C. and still go to class is what GW can offer you.”

Wilson recalled interning on Capitol Hill while taking classes at the University.

“I love politics to my core. Because of that, there is no better place than here,” he said. “Forget about Georgetown, that’s way too far away.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported the last name of SMPA associate professor Cheryl Thompson. It is Thompson, not Thomson. We regret this error.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

The newly sworn-in Secretary of Health and Human Services gave her first public address Monday in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium.

Three months after the Senate confirmed her, Sylvia Burwell used her time at the podium to defend the Affordable Care Act, saying the landmark health care law is about “making progress” and not “making a point,” The Hill reported.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Sylvia Burwell made her first public speech Monday at GW. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Burwell replaced her embattled predecessor Kathleen Sebelius, who stepped down from the post after a botched rollout of the online enrollment website for the new healthcare system.

And Burwell made clear that she plans to stay above the political fray over Obamacare, pledging not to “fight last year’s battles.” Instead, she vowed to focus on the challenges ahead.

“Transparency builds trust, and it is something we take very seriously,” she said. “Even if the numbers aren’t quite where we want them to be on something, we’re going to tell you about it.”

The health secretary also used the speech as an opportunity to remind students and faculty that they can make a difference in their field by taking on leadership roles.

Burwell’s remarks come just two months before the second enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, which begins Nov. 15.

A Twitter account for Burwell was also created today, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • Permalink
  • Comments