U.S. Congressman Capuano Visits Simmons

April 11, 2017

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Representative Capuano discussed foreign policy and current affairs during his campus visit.

“Life cannot be found in a book,” U.S. Representative Michael Capuano told political science students this week during a visit to Simmons. “Books enhance life but they don’t mimic life…Like politics, the best way to do it is to go out and do it.”

Rep. Capuano shared this advice and other valuable experiences from his nearly 20 years in the U.S. Congress during a lively, wide-ranging discussion with nearly 50 Simmons students in a combined foreign affairs and food policy class. After brief welcoming remarks, Rep. Capuano fielded insightful questions on current issues including potential changes to federal food policy, the proposed relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel, future Supreme Court nominations, the purpose of Sanctuary City designations, the failed attempt to overhaul to the Affordable Care Act, and reflections on the presidential election.

Honest and direct, Rep. Capuano also addressed military intervention in Syria, drawing on his experience working to help the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. “For me the question is, what’s our policy?” he said. “The Constitution in my opinion is crystal clear. I am not being partisan about this. One person should not be able to bring this country to war.”

Following the discussion, Rep. Capuano met Professor Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield, chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department, who led a tour of the 4th floor of the Park Science Building. Rep. Capuano visited several labs, frequently stopping to ask students about their work. A leader in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education among young women, Professor Roecklein-Canfield explained that Simmons strives to create an inclusive learning environment around STEM where students have a sense of community and feel comfortable discussing their work. This was evident when students Erin Lilienthal, Michelle Jung, and Anja Gibbs enthusiastically described their antibiotic coding work to Rep. Capuano during a visit to an organic chemistry lab.

Rep. Capuano concluded his visit with a private meeting with President Helen Drinan and senior college officials.

Elected to congress in 1998, Rep. Capuano represents Massachusetts’ Seventh district which includes nearly 75 percent of Boston, including the Fenway neighborhood, home to Simmons. He also represents Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, Somerville, and half of Cambridge and Milton. He is currently serving his ninth term. 

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(Top: Rep. Capuano and President Drinan. Left: Rep. Capuano addresses Simmons students. Right: Professor Rich Gurney, Michelle Jung '17, Anja Gibbs '17, Rep. Capuano, and Professor Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield.)