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The 20th Annual Travers Conference on Ethics and Accountability in Government

Changing Washington? Prospects for Republican Rule Under Donald Trump

Hosted by the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley

The 2017 Travers Conference will bring together journalists, academics, politicians and public policy experts from around the world to assess how the election of Donald Trump and the arrival of unified Republican control of the federal government will reshape policy and politics in America. The first panel will examine how the new administration is relating to key countries and regions around the world. The panelists include experts on East Asia, Mexico and Eastern Europe as well as former Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-WY). The second panel will consider efforts by Congress and the Trump administration to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It will be composed of a diverse group of experts in health-care policy and the public opinion and politics surrounding it. The final panel will consider the role of new and old media in the Trump era. The panelists will provide a mix of scholarly and practical expertise in the role of social media, new web-based media outlets and traditional print media. 

Registration must be completed through the University of California, Berkeley:


9–9:15: Introductory remarks

9:15–10:30: The Trump Administration and the World

This panel will examine how the new administration is relating to key countries and regions around the world; it will also consider the administration's global policies on trade and immigration. The panelists include experts on East Asia, Mexico, and Eastern Europe as well a former Senator Alan K. Simpson.

Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-WY)—Simpson served as a U.S. senator for Wyoming from 1979–97. During his time in the Senate, he served as assistant Republican leader and as the chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee. After leaving the Senate, he has remained active in government, serving as a member of the Iraq Study Group and as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with Erskine Bowles.

Anna Grzymala-Busse, department of political science, Stanford—Grzymala-Busse has authored two books on the transition from communist rule in Eastern Europe. She is an expert on the region and its relations with Russia and the European Union.

Alejandro Poire Romero, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education—Poire Romero is currently the dean of the public policy school at Tecnológico de Monterrey. He served as the secretary of the interior for Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and he played a key role in the efforts of the Mexican government to combat drug cartels and organized crime.  

Dan Sneider, Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University—Daniel C. Sneider is the associate director for research at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. His research is focused on current U.S. foreign and national security policy in Asia and on foreign policy in Japan and Korea. Prior to coming to Stanford, Sneider was a longtime foreign correspondent and editor for The Mercury News and The Christian Science Monitor.

10:45–12: New and Old Media in the Trump Era

This panel will examine coverage of the 2016 election by new and old media and the role each is playing in coverage of the Trump presidency. The panelists provide a mix of scholarly and practical expertise in the role of social media, new web-based media outlets and traditional print media. 

Julia Azari, department of political science, Marquette University—Azari’s research focuses on the relationship between presidents and parties, how formal and informal rules matter, and how change occurs across different institutions. She is the author of Delivering the People’s Message: The Changing Politics of the Presidential Mandate. She is also a regular contributor to

Thad Kousser, department of political science, University of California, San Diego—Kousser studies American state and national politics, government reform, direct democracy and interest-group influence. He is currently engaged in a large project that examines how politicians use social media. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and he currently serves as the chair of the political science department at the University of California, San Diego.

Jas Sekhon, Travers department of political science, University of California, Berkeley—Sekhon’s current research focuses on methods for causal inference in observational and experimental studies and on evaluating social science, public health and medical interventions. He has completed research on elections, voting behavior and public opinion in the United States. He is currently examining the role of fake news and social media on elections.

12–1:30: Lunch break

Lunch is provided for all conference participants.

1:30–2:45: The Fate of Obamacare Under the Trump Presidency

This panel will consider efforts by Congress and the Trump administration to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The panel will include experts on the ACA and alternative policies under consideration in Washington, D.C. It will also include experts on the political and the implications of public opinion on efforts to replace or reform the ACA.

Lanhee Chen, Hoover Institution, Stanford University—Chen served as the chief policy advisor for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and as a senior adviser to Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential campaign. He is a member of the Social Security Advisory Board, which is a bipartisan, independent federal government agency established in 1994 to advise the president, Congress, and the commissioner of Social Security on matters of policy related to Social Security.

Mark Peterson, department of public policy, University of California, Los Angeles—Peterson is the chair of the department of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition to books on health-care policy, he has also authored and edited books on presidential–congressional relations. He was a founding team member of the UCLA-based, multidisciplinary Blue Sky Health Initiative to transform U.S. health and the health-care system. The initiative helped advise Congress on the inclusion of disease prevention and health promotion strategies included in the ACA. He also served as editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, a leading bimonthly scholarly journal in the field.

Liz Hamel, Kaiser Family Foundation—Hamel is the director of Kaiser Foundation’s Public Opinion and Survey Research team, which she has been a member of since 2001. She manages a variety of survey projects on a wide range of health-related topics, including people’s experiences in the health-care system and opinions on health reform. The foundation has conducted extensive polling to gauge public opinion on the ACA the politics surrounding its reform or replacement.

Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico—Jennifer Haberkorn is a senior health-care reporter for Politico. She’s covered the ACA since the 2009 debates in Congress. Since then, Haberkorn has written about the law from Capitol Hill, covering the federal agencies, the courts and issues outside the Beltway. Before arriving at Politico, Haberkorn covered Congress and local business news for The Washington Times.


In cooperation with the Commonwealth Club of California

Lunch will be provided to registered participants.

This is a free event.

April 21, 2017

University of California, Berkeley
1 Alumni House
Toll Room
Berkeley, 94720
United States