On Friday, November 22, The Danforth Center hosted U.S. Representatives Lacy Clay, (D-MO) and Ted Budd, (R-NC) as part of a new initiative called the American Congressional Exchange (ACE). Developed by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., the ACE is designed to build better relationships and bipartisanship in Congress – away from the polarized political atmosphere of Washington, D.C.

Under ACE, participating members from the House visit a Member of Congress from the opposing party in their district and tour sites and attractions of local economic, military, cultural, or social significance. They meet with local and state civic, business, education, or faith leaders for policy discussions in which the two Members have a common interest.

The program is designed to provide opportunities for Members of Congress to learn about issues from a different perspective; build new connections, trust, relationships, and friendships; and create conditions for intentional negotiation and compromise. The goal is that participating House Members will develop greater mutual respect, understanding of divergent constituencies, and an appreciation for varied policy approaches to shared challenges -- and ultimately may identify areas of common legislative ground that will help forge solutions for their constituents.

Representatives Clay and Budd met with Sam Fiorello, COO and were given a tour of the Center’s facility by Karla Roeber, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs. They also enjoyed meeting with Keith Slotkin, Ph.D., Associate Member Associate Professor, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri Columbia, whose sister Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) is a freshman Member of Congress.

“We were so impressed with your facility, its research, equipment, and the tremendous opportunity it provides for scientists and industry. Both Representatives Clay and Budd thoroughly enjoyed talking with your leadership and scientists, while learning about the history and work of the Center,” said Jonathan Perman, co-director of the American Congressional Exchange.

 Keith Slotkin, PhD, with Representatives Clay and Budd