Alumnus establishes lecture series

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public ServiceA one-time political foe of the late Tom Foley is helping enhance efforts at WSU to promote their shared commitment to public service and productive discourse.

Former U.S. Congressman George R. Nethercutt Jr., a Spokane Republican who in 1994 famously defeated Foley, a Democrat and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has joined the advisory board of Washington State University’s non-partisan Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service and established an endowed lecture series on civic engagement.

“Since 2008, my foundation has promoted civic education among students, so they are prepared to engage with our democratic system—a system that depends on the participation of informed citizens, open dialogue, and compromise to function properly.” said Nethercutt, a Spokane native who graduated with a degree in English from WSU in 1967.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to establish the George Nethercutt Endowed Lecture Series on Civic Engagement at my alma mater to perpetuate the bipartisan efforts that I share with the late Mr. Foley.”

The non-partisan Foley Institute, located at WSU Pullman, focuses on bringing world-class speakers for public events; supporting student internships in public service; and supporting scholarly research on public policy and political institutions.

Nethercutt (’67 English) joins seven other new advisory board members and seven already in place:

  • David Ammons is a long political journalist with the AP in Olympia, who served as communications director and advisor to Secretaries of State Sam Reed and Kim Wyman. He was later appointed by Governor Inslee to the Public Disclosure Commission, where he served as chair.
  • Gretchen Bakamis (’76 political sci.) is president/owner of Seattle’s B Communications, a past director of marketing at UW Medicine and former senior marketing communications counsel at DDB Seattle. She also served as deputy press secretary to US Senator Warren Magnuson and was a WSU staff intern to Congressman Thomas Foley.
  • William Hyslop (’73 political sci.) served as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington from 1991 to 1993 and again from 2019 to 2021. He is a past president of the Washington State Bar Association and former chair of the Spokane Republican Party.
  • David Mastin is the vice president of government affairs at AWB. He is the association’s chief lobbyist and directs its legislative and regulatory programs. He is a former legislator and represented the 16th District in the Washington House of Representatives.
  • Lynn Mounsey (’83 political sci.) is a Washington attorney with experience in the government, public interest, and private sectors, with most recent service as a judge with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.  While student at WSU, Lynn also served as a congressional intern for Tom Foley in Washington, D.C.
  • Gary Stokes is the president & general manager of KSPS-TV, the PBS station serving Spokane, Washington, and the Inland Northwest. He has more than 40 years of television experience, including as on-air reporter, producer, executive producer, news director and general manager.

Board chair and former Spokane mayor David Condon welcomed the new board members, noting that “a diversity of political viewpoints and experience on our board is a testament to the Foley Institute’s non-partisan mission, and the secret of its success in building a more informed citizenry and working to educating the next generation of public leaders.  Our country desperately needs institutions like the Foley Institute, that inspire bipartisan collaboration with an eye to the common good.”

In addition to Condon, existing board members include Rich Cowan (’79 BA comm; ’84 MS pharm.), president, North by Northwest Productions; Marcia Garrett (’71 gen. studies) , director, WSU Regional Relations, Seattle; Nancy Isserlis, former Spokane city attorney, member of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission; Tim Peckinpaugh, partner, K&L Gates; Lambert van der Walde, vice president, UnitedHealth Group; and Howard Wright III (’77 Spanish), chairman, Seattle Hospitality Group, and former Foley intern.

The board recently assisted the Foley Institute in organizing the premiere of a new documentary about Foley, titled “The Gentleman Speaker: Conversations with Tom Foley,” at Riverside Place in Spokane on April 21. The event featured a conversation with political commentator and former Hardball host Chris Matthews.

From the Foley Institute for WSU Insider