U.S. Representative Tom Petri represented Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District for 18 terms until his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of the 113th Congress (January 2015). He was a senior member of both the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. In the 113th Congress, he served as Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee and previously served as chair of the Aviation Subcommittee.
Known for his innovative and creative solutions to government problems, Rep. Petri pursued legislative initiatives in several areas, including student loan reform, the federal highway program, cost-sharing for federal water projects, tax and welfare reform, and health care reform. He also sponsored bipartisan legislation, the Making Work and Marriage Pay Act, which would establish a commission to examine and report to Congress on the disincentives for low-income couples to work and marry created by uncoordinated state and federal social safety net programs.
Petri was born in Marinette, Wisconsin, and attended Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He received undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard College/Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was clerk to United States Judge James Doyle of the Western District of Wisconsin, 1965. Petri served in Somalia as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1966-1967, and then in the White House focusing on anti-drug efforts. A lawyer in private practice in Wisconsin, Petri also served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1973 to 1979.
In addition to his legislative work, Rep. Petri at various times in his career served as the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives-British Parliament exchange, the House French and German Caucuses and was an active participant in U.S. House-Japanese Diet discussions. In appreciation of his efforts, in Nov. 2015 Japanese Emperor Akihito conferred on Rep. Petri honorary membership in the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver level, and in early 2016 Queen Elizabeth II made Petri an honorary Officer of the British Empire. He is married to Anne Neal Petri and has one daughter, Alexandra.
The Hon. David Skaggs
David Skaggs is a lawyer and Senior Advisor with Dentons US LLP and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Iraq. He is Vice Chairman of the board of the National Endowment for Democracy and recently ended 13 years as Chairman of the Board of the U. S. House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics. He was Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from January, 2007, to September 2009.
Skaggs served twelve years in Congress (1987-99) as U.S. Representative from the 2nd Congressional District of Colorado (the northwestern Denver suburbs) and three terms in the Colorado House (1981-87), the last two terms as Minority Leader. In Congress, Skaggs was on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; he organized the effort to encourage greater civility and bipartisan cooperation in the House, resulting in what came to be known as the House Bipartisan Retreats. After leaving Congress he founded the Center for Democracy & Citizenship, which worked to strengthen American representative democracy through several projects and activities, including the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the Congress to Campus Program of the U. S. Association of Former Members of Congress, the Campaign for Young Voters, redistricting reform and lobbying reform. He and his wife have established an endowment at American University to support the biennial award of the Madison Prizes to a Democrat and a Republican member of the U. S. Senate or House who have demonstrated the practice of compromise essential to our constitutional system.
After earning a B.A. in philosophy from Wesleyan University in 1964, studied one year at the University of Virginia Law School and then received his law degree from the Yale Law School in 1967. Skaggs served on active duty in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1971, including time in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division, and remained active in the Marine Reserves until 1978, attaining the rank of Major. He is married to Laura (née) Locher, and has three adult children, Matthew Babcock, Clare Belcher and Will Driscoll, and four grandchildren.