Former Congressmen boost civic awareness during campus visit
Palm Beach State College students got an insider’s look at the workings of American government and politics this week from two former House of Representatives members Peter Torkildsen (R-Mass.) and Les AuCoin (D-Ore.), who spoke on campus about the importance of civic engagement.
The two-day visit was part of the College’s Congress to Campus program, which brings together a bipartisan pair of former members of Congress to engage students and provide inspiration that will lead to greater democratic participation either in public service or voting.
The former Congressmen visited economics, paralegal, political science, business and English classes, as well as the Intro to the College Experience where they participated in a “What’s My Line” critical thinking exercise. They also met with student government leaders, as well as students in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
“My visit to Palm Beach State exposed me to remarkably earnest students, gifted professors, and state-of-art labs and buildings—Ingredients, all, of a student’s future career success,” said AuCoin.
Torkildsen is professor of practice in political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a business development consultant. He was elected to two terms in the United States Congress, representing the Sixth District of Massachusetts, and three terms as a state representative for the 13th Essex District.
Former Congressman AuCoin’s 18-year tenure—from the 1975 to 1993—is the sixth-longest in Oregon history. In his career, AuCoin took a prominent role in abortion rights, local and national environmental issues, multiple use management of federal forests and national security.