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Young Leaders Circle Forum with Ken Mehlman

Wednesday November 2015


Ken Mehlman Global Head of Public Affairs, KKR

American politics, nationally and locally, is starkly divided. Partisanship separates Republican from Democrat, to be sure—and also splinters the major U.S. parties from within. Among Democrats, moderates are challenged by the emergent “democratic socialism” championed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, for example. On the right, the GOP is locked in an internal struggle between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans—in the U.S. House and across the country. As the next generation of Americans take up the mantle of political leadership, they must navigate these fault lines, build new coalitions, and attract millennials and others into their respective folds. Here in New York City, the GOP will need to attract young people across the five boroughs and engage them on issues and ideas.

Ken Mehlman

To discuss the future of party politics in the U.S. and New York, the YLC welcomed Ken Mehlman as our speaker on Wednesday, November 18. Mehlman is a Member and Global Head of Public Affairs at the private equity firm KKR. In his 20s and 30s, Mehlman rose through the ranks of the national GOP, serving as campaign manager for President George W. Bush’s successful 2004 re-election—the only presidential election since 1988 in which the GOP won the popular vote. Mehlman also was the 62nd chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In this role he sought to expand the party’s investment in technology, increase outreach to minorities, and grow its base. A lawyer by training, (Harvard Law ’91), Mehlman serves on the boards of Mount Sinai Hospital, Franklin & Marshall College, Sponsors of Educational Opportunity (SEO), and The Ideal School of Manhattan.