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Talking Taxes: Former Chief of Staff to Mike Pence Marc Short guest lectures in multiple government classes

Short spoke in eight different classes Thursday and Friday. (Photos by Titus Pettman)

Liberty University government students and College for a Weekend (CFAW) guests received a special treat from the Helms School of Government, which welcomed former Chief of Staff to Mike Pence Marc Short to speak in classes Thursday and Friday.

Short, who has visited the Helms School and Liberty University School of Law in the past, outlined the legislative process of the historic Tax Cuts Act of 2017 and contrasted tax policies from the Biden and Trump administrations. He also touched on how the margins in the House of Representatives and the Senate impacts what the president can accomplish. Following each class, students asked questions ranging from the current Ukraine conflict, the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, the relationship between Pence and Trump, China, and many other policy- and legislative-related topics.

“I thought it was a very interesting message, and it was something we needed to hear,” said junior finance and economics student Ford Fox, who attended Short’s Constitution Government lecture Friday morning. “This was an opportunity that not many people get, especially from other schools. Liberty has a very specific belief system that is unprecedented for other large colleges. So, I really appreciate the opportunity to get to know these people and ask specific questions.”

Short served two roles in the Trump administration, first as Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs, where he worked to successfully pass the Tax Cuts Act of 2017 and funnel through the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Then from 2018-2020, he served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

Students and CFAW guests engaged with Short in a Q&A following each session.

“I’ve been honored to have the roles that I did,” Short said. “I did not chart a path to be a staffer in the White House one day or to say this is who I want to work for on Capitol Hill; God opened those doors, and our job is to be wise and discerning about which ones are right fits for us.”

“It was an honor to have him (Short) with us,” said Dean of the Helms School Robert Hurt, who served Virginia’s 5th congressional district from 2011 to 2017. “As a U.S. citizen, you need to understand the legislative process because it is the hallmark of self-government. So, I love that aspect of what he talked about.”

Helms School students are constantly learning from real-world government policy icons. Previous guests have included former Virginia governors Bob McDonnell and George Allen, former special assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison Timothy Goeglein, and multiple others.

Short served two roles in the Trump-Pence administration.

“We really do put a premium on engaging students with professionals with real-life experience, Hurt said. “It’s great to have policy goals, but the politics of the policy making is critical to understand when you’re trying to make good policy. It’s not easy. It’s often very ugly. Short of course brings a tremendous perspective in being able to understand what motivates people and what builds support for good policy.”

Short said he has enjoyed all of his visits to Liberty and the opportunity to invest in the next generation.

“There’s a certain amount of commitment that I see in the students here, and a certain level of respect that is what you’d want from any of your own children,” Short added. “Seeing that in students here is always encouraging.”

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