Note From the Editor

Posted November 18, 2008 at 3:29pm

The 44th president and 111th Congress will be sworn in amid a global economic crisis and deepening concerns about America’s ability to safeguard its own future prosperity. Anxiety over health care seeps into conversations around the kitchen table and around policymakers’ conference tables. Energy prices fluctuate wildly, but national leaders struggle to chart a course toward energy security. And decisions on energy will have a profound impact on the environment — but is there a way to shrink our carbon footprint without shrinking our economic opportunities?

As veteran lawmakers, the freshman class of 2008 and members of the Obama administration gather in Washington, D.C., Roll Call is proud to announce the launch of “The Mission Ahead,” an ongoing project that will place innovative and dramatic public policy ideas in the hands of the 111th Congress.

In this special section and in video interviews, you will hear from national thought leaders including retired Gen. Colin Powell, who says the answer to these questions can be found in how we approach the needs of our children.

Former Senate Majority Leaders George Mitchell (D-Maine) and Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) attack the maladies affecting our national health care system. Dr. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), another former Senate Majority Leader, offers his prescription, too.

And David M. Walker, the insightful former comptroller general of the United States, will explain the grim realities of our nation’s finances — and how to pull ourselves out of the hole.

Gen. James L. Jones, former Sen. Timothy Wirth (D-Colo.) and former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman tackle the big issues on energy and environment, while New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), Gene Sperling and Carly Fiorina offer their ideas for reviving the economy. Former Rep. Norman Y. Mineta (D-Calif.), who served in the Cabinets of two presidents, offers his ideas for rebuilding the country, while scholar Paul C. Light discusses how to rebuild our frayed government systems.

That’s not all: Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) reminds us that it’s still a brawl in the halls of Congress, but former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) offers a shot in the old Gazoo to anyone who forgets they are here to represent the nation, not just a narrow slice of interest groups. Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955, is proud to collaborate on this project with Big Think. An online global forum, Big Think brings an innovative online video component to this special section of Roll Call and provides increased distribution to public-policy-minded thinkers around the world.

Big Think will host the plans on a micro-site, featuring video interviews and multimedia presentations with plan authors. In addition, this content will be available on our sister Web site for the politically engaged, And we will continue this dialogue with national thought leaders on in the months ahead.

We trust this will provide an invaluable tool to policymakers. And to the concerned public, “The Mission Ahead” should offer a dramatically clear vision of the choices and dangers their leaders are facing.

Charlie Mitchell
Roll Call