WASHINGTON -- As a member of Congress, the ever polite House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-San Dimas) helped promote the idea of a bipartisan retreat to teach lawmakers how to be more civil to one another.
Though congressional civility retreats are a thing of the past, Dreier, who retired from the House in January, is once again promoting the idea of retreats. In his new role, he will lead a commission to organize gatherings at Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage, and other places to contemplate big issues, beginning with seeking ways to promote trade in the Pacific Rim.
The former congressman joined the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands on Wednesday in announcing the creation of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission to organize events at Walter and Leonore Annenberg’s former estate.
"I’m as excited and thrilled about taking on this task as I was about first being elected to Congress,’’ Dreier said in an interview. "This provides an opportunity to continue with the kinds of priorities that I’ve had.’’
Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, said Dreier’s work as founding chair of the Congressional Trade Working Group and his close relationship with the Annenbergs made him the "ideal person to lead this effort to achieve greater international cooperation on trade.’’
Others involved in developing the commission include Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III, a former chief of staff to President Clinton; and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a former ambassador to China under President Obama and an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination last year, according to Dreier.