William J. Bennett

Where and when

William J. Bennett has unquestionably become one of America’s most important, influential and respected voices, one of our nation’s leading cultural and political thinkers.

William J. Bennett at the Renaissance TheatreA native of Brooklyn, New York, Bill Bennett has a distinguished academic background, which includes a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Williams College, a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas, and a law degree from Harvard.

During the 1980s, Dr. Bennett emerged as one of the nation’s leading political figures. He served as President Reagan’s chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985) and Secretary of Education (1985-1988), and President Bush’s “drug czar” (1989-1990). During his decade of public service he earned the reputation as a man of strong, reasoned convictions who spoke candidly and eloquently on some of the most important issues of our time.

Bill Bennett has accomplished a rare feat: since leaving government, he has achieved an even greater impact on our national political debate. Dr. Bennett has written for America’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has also written and edited ten books—including his three most recent ones, The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals, Our Sacred Honor and The Children’s Book of Heroes. As many of you know, two of his books rank among the most successful of the decade: The Book of Virtues and The Children’s Book of Virtues. The Book of Virtues has been made into an animated series aired on PBS. As many of you know, Bill Bennett has now taken a leading role in clean
ing up America’s popular culture—specifically, his successful campaigns against certain kinds of “gangsta rap” music and trash television talk shows.

Although he is a well-known Republican, Dr. Bennett has consistently reached across party lines in order to pursue important common purpose. He works closely with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman on the issues of popular culture and world-wide religious persecution; he is co-chair. Bill Bennett and former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn are co-chairs of the National Commission on Civic Renewal. And most recently, Dr. Bennett and former Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo were named co-chairs of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

William J. Bennett conversation with Peter W. SchrammWilliam J. Bennett is having an extraordinary influence on America’s political and social landscape; indeed, he has been named by a number of prominent magazines as one of the most influential people in America. He is currently a John M. Olin distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and co-director of Empower America. His wife, Elayne and his two sons, John and Joseph, live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.