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Ideas, Policy, and Politics

The Role Of Independent Research In Partisan Times

The fact that one of our nation's Founding Fathers should also be the founder of this university is a good starting point for my remarks. Thomas Jefferson personified-perhaps even epitomized-the proposition that good governance is based on good ideas, and that good ideas are based on respect for facts, rigor in thinking, rationality in debate, and civility in discourse.

Moreover, Jefferson's name is associated with the word Independence, with a capital "I." Two of the three accomplishments for which he wanted to be remembered were the Virginia statute on religious freedom and the Declaration of Independence. And the third accomplishment of which he was so proud-this university-was created with another I-word in mind: the impact it would have on public affairs, especially through the education of good citizens and leaders in both political parties-to wit, UVA graduates such as Ted Kennedy and George Allen.

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