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A Conversation with Secretary Tom Ridge

Published: 01/29/2021

Secretary Tom Ridge

Secretary Tom Ridge

Gannon University’s School of Public Service and Global Affairs welcomed Tom Ridge – a former Congressman, two-term governor of Pennsylvania, head of the Department of Homeland Security, and Erie Native – to speak to more than 200 students, employees and alumni during a virtual event on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Ridge shared his thoughts on the current political transition and prospects for our nation’s future during the livestreamed event.

He began his lecture by speaking to the positives of the recent presidential election, pointing to an impressive voter turnout rate of nearly 67% and stating that 2/3 of Americans “expressed an opinion in one of the most critical elections we’ve had in a long time.”

Ridge additionally contrasted how both presidential candidates conducted themselves among the public health crisis and campaign efforts and offered insights into issues surrounding claims of election fraud and improper use of absentee ballots.

Concluding his lecture, Ridge addressed our nation’s future prospects under a new administration while encouraging students to vote in upcoming elections. “You have more to gain or lose in this political process,” Ridge said. “Politics is about tomorrow … I don’t think it’s a privilege, but it’s a responsibility to vote.” 

Afterward, students and employees participated in a question-and-answer session with Ridge that ranged in topic from supporting and maintaining bipartisanship among parties under the new administration, keeping faith in election security and integrity, our nation’s biggest challenges in the coming years, and making a change as a student in the political environment.

To view a recording of this event, visit: