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From HKS to Elected Office: The Hows and Whys from Those Who Serve

  • Harvard Club of Boston 374 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA, 02115 United States (map)

Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." 

The words of JFK that inspired a generation over 50 years ago continue to inspire Harvard Kennedy School graduates into the realm of public service through elected office.  

Join us for a panel discussion with current and former office holders of both political parties as they discuss the challenges, risks, and rewards of seeking and holding elected office in today's political climate.  Learn about why they do it and how their HKS experience shaped their approach to public service and influenced their effectiveness as leaders.

6:00- 6:45 Networking/socializing with complimentary appetizers and cash bar (credit cards not accepted)

6:45- 7:45 Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

7:45- 8:15 Additional networking/ socializing

Cost: $25 in advance; $30 at door


David C. King is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Faculty Chair of the Masters in Public Administration program. Professor King chairs Harvard’s Bi-Partisan Program for Newly Elected Members of the U.S. Congress, and he directs the Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government.


Tom O'Neill III, D MA, is a former state legislator and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. The oldest son of the legendary U.S. Speaker Tip O’Neill, Mr. O’Neill began in politics by running his father’s campaigns and later his own. He is the founder and chief executive officer of O’Neill and Associates, New England’s leading public relations and government affairs consulting firm.

Marilinda Garcia, R NH State Representative, was first elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2006 at 23 years of age, and served four terms. In 2014 she won the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. Ms. Garcia has received many distinctions, including designation as an RNC “Rising Star” and the Washington Post's “40 under 40 Politicians to Watch.”

Jeffrey Sánchez, D MA State Representative and Chair of the Ways & Means, has been a Democratic member of Masters in Public Administration program since 2003 and has been Chair of the Ways & Means Committee since July 16, 2017. Mr. Sánchez represents the Fifteenth Suffolk/Norfolk district, which is made up of the Boston communities of Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and Roslindale, as well as Precinct 5 of the Town of Brookline.

Marjorie Decker, D MA State Representative, serving her third term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing 25th Middlesex District. Marjorie was raised in public housing and was the first in her family to graduate high school. Before joining the House, Marjorie served seven terms on the Cambridge City Council, where she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Council. Marjorie has continued to be and advocate for housing and homeless families, early education, immigrant rights, and anti-poverty efforts throughout her career.

David Hess, R NH State Representative, served 25 years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, including terms as Majority Leader, Deputy and Assistant Majority Leader, Republican Leader, Deputy Republican Leader and the Chair and Vice Chair of five committees. He attended Dartmouth College, Yale Law School and the Kennedy School of Government and served four years in the US Air Force.