The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

From Country Lawyer to US Senator: Q&A with Senator Judd Gregg

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"I really enjoy this campus. I am looking forward to interact with students on a personal level, counseling students with issues and being available to give life experience."

  
Former Senator Judd Gregg will serve as Dartmouth’s first Distinguished Fellow; teaching, lecturing, and counseling Dartmouth graduate and undergraduate students. Having served as senator for three terms and serving the state of New Hampshire as Governor from 1989 to 1993, Senator Gregg will remain at Dartmouth for three years to engage with students interested in government and public policy. Before discussing the role of the Senate as part of Constitution Day, Andres Ramirez ’14 sat down with Senator Gregg for a brief interview. 

Andres Ramirez (AR): How was your experience as both a governor and senator? Did you like one over the other?

Senator Gregg (SG): “When you are a governor, for every action you have a reaction.”
It is an administrative job, and as governor, you hold the top job in the state. In the Senate, however, “It’s like Jello, you put your hand in and nothing has happened.” The system moves very slowly, like the saucer into which hot coffee is poured. Too everyone’s surprise, there is not much overlap between senators and governors. But with that being said, I liked them both.

AR: What made you run for office in the first place? Had you not run for office, where would life have taken you?

SG: My wife and I lived in Nashua and we were very active in the community. She was a schoolteacher and I was a country lawyer. We knew that the government had much influence on our community so we told each other “let’s go and run.” I first served as part of the governor’s council in New Hampshire. Unlike most states, the governor could not do anything without advising with his counsel first. Had I not run for office, I don’t know where I would be. As a country lawyer, I took whatever came in. I knew that the next step would be to specialize, and I did not want to do that.

AR: What most excites you as being Dartmouth’s first Distinguished Fellow? What are your goals?

SG: I have had a long relationship with Dartmouth. My wife and I would come up for football games, especially those against Columbia. Additionally, all three of my children graduated from Dartmouth. I really enjoy this campus. I am looking forward to interact with students on a personal level, counseling students with issues and being available to give life experience. “Academics miss the real world sometimes.”

Senator Gregg spoke to a well-attended crowd of Dartmouth faculty and staff, community members, and students. A recap of the lecture can be found on The Dartmouth’s website and at Dartmouth Now. Following the lecture, Senator Gregg sat down with 25 students in an open forum of discussion of both the Senate and his career.

This post is part of a new series featuring Rocky student leaders engaging with special guests on campus.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences