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Former Pence chief of staff visits government classes

Marc Short, former Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, was a guest lecturer in multiple government classes last week, addressing key current issues like federalism, taxes, and inflation. His visit directly followed Mike Pence’s Convocation address on Wednesday, Sept. 14, when the former vice president encouraged students to be faith-focused leaders, outspoken Christ followers, and informed United States citizens.

“I love my time down here,” said Short, who served as Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff from 2018-21 and regularly visits Liberty. “It is such a blessing to me to be around kids with such great faith. As a dad of two college students and one high school student, it’s just heartwarming to be here.”

Last week’s visit was the second time this year that Short has lectured in government classes. He previously visited Liberty in February. Both visits were facilitated by the Helms School of Government.

“It’s just different being here,” Short said. “It’s different being in a school environment where kids are so joyful and grounded in their faith. I think we’ve had a lot of really good conversations after class.”

Marc Short (left) poses alongside Dr. Gai Ferdon and students following his final class on Friday.

Prior to his service as Pence’s Chief of Staff, Short served 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.

Other topics Short discussed in classes included the current economic recession and the Biden Administration’s response, the upcoming mid-term elections, and COVID-19 policy. Throughout each lecture, he paused for questions and student feedback. He frequently asked students and CFAW guests thoughtful questions that prompted dialog.

“The students lead the discussion. That’s what I try to do,” he said. “If I can ask the right questions, hopefully they reach the conclusion themselves instead of me telling them an answer. There’s not often a right or wrong answer.”

The Helms School of Government has a strong lineup of guest speakers each semester. Already this fall, the school has welcomed Kirk Lippold, a retired Navy commander who captained the USS Cole when it was attacked by two suicide bombers in 2000.

Upcoming guests include former Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council Robert Greenway and former Principal Executive in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Neil Wiley. Last year, the school greeted former Virginia governors George Allen and Bob McDonnell.

“It was an honor to have Mr. Short with us in conjunction with the visit from the Vice-President,” said Dean of the School of Government Robert Hurt. “Mr. Short is a master of the policy-making process and was able to help our students understand all of the competing interests at work when trying to pass consequential legislation like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. I know our students will benefit from their time with him.”

The Helms School of Government will welcome more guest speakers to its third annual public policy conference, titled “Promise of the Declaration,” April 12-14. The school is now accepting abstract submissions for the conference. Follow this link for more information about conference details.

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