About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Catch the Wave: Voter Discontent During Wave Elections"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
October 24, 2018

Good evening. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased to welcome you to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives, whether you’re here in the theater or joining us through YouTube. Tonight’s program—“Catch the Wave: Voter Discontent During Wave Elections”—is presented in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, and we thank them for their support.

Before we hear from our panelists, I’d like to let you know about two programs coming up next month.

On Thursday, November 1, at 7 p.m., a panel of combat photographers who served in Vietnam as part of the Army’s Special Photographic Office will discuss their role and their work. This program is presented in partnership with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and in observance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

And on Wednesday, November 7, at noon, author Eric Jay Dolin will be here to tell us about his new book, Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates. A book signing will follow the program.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website— archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

Every two years, elections create some turnover in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Sometimes it’s slight; in other years it’s a “wave.” Whether the turnover is large or small, incoming new members are eager to learn the ropes and get seats on prime committees, where the day-to-day processes of legislation occur.

The records created by these committees—House, Senate, and joint committees—make up a large portion of the records in our Center for Legislative Archives. These documents give us insight into how laws are made and why they are written as they are. Though the balance of power may tip toward one party or the other, the National Archives maintains its mission to ensure that the permanent records of the House and Senate are cared for and preserved for future generations to study.

To start off our discussion of “wave” elections, we’ll turn to Peter M. Weichlein (WIKE - line), who has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress since 2003. The association celebrates bipartisanship, a collaborative approach to legislating, and reconnecting citizens with their representative governments.

He plans and directs all policies, objectives, and initiatives for the association, represents FMC in the community, and serves as its spokesperson to the public, the media, and Congress. Mr. Weichlein holds two BAs from the Pennsylvania State University.

Peter attended law school at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, and completed his legal studies in Washington, DC, at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Peter Weichlein.