Kentucky statesman Henry Clay (1777 – 1852) who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the Senate and as Secretary of State, was known as the “Great Compromiser.” The statesman would start each new Congress by bringing a barrel of Kentucky bourbon to Washington to “lubricate the wheels of government.” In 2015 the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship (HCCS) and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) hosted the inaugural Bourbon Barrel of Compromise to highlight Clay’s commitment to compromise, dialogue and civil discourse. Continuing the tradition, the second Bourbon Barrel of Compromise will take place June 21, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
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The featured guest and speaker at this year’s event is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS), recently named Honorary Co-Chairs of the HCCS will receive the first Henry Clay Statesmanship Award for their consistent advocacy for greater bipartisan compromise, dialogue and compromise.
Robert Clay, a descendant of Henry Clay and HCCS’s chairman and founder, said: “Tom Daschle and Trent Lott embody Henry Clay’s famous statement that:
‘All legislation, all government, all society is founded upon the principle of mutual concession, politeness, comity, courtesy; upon these everything is based.”
HCCS, along with its partners Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky, are dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders in the principles and practices of statesmanship. Founded in 2007, HCCS educates tomorrow’s leaders in the skills necessary for statesmanship, dialogue, negotiation and compromise. In addition to annual student congresses at the high school and college levels, HCCS sponsors lectures and conducts advocacy for negotiation and compromise in public policy at all levels of government.
“We all have a strong interest in effective government, and the heart of our democracy lies in the spirit of unity and compromise,” said Eric Gregory, President of the KDA. “We continue to be honored for the opportunity to take part in this worthy event, which brings our Master Distillers and their timeless craft to Washington to remind our leaders of the continuing role Kentucky Bourbon plays on our national stage.”
Founded in 2007, the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship is dedicated to the education of tomorrow’s leaders in the skills necessary for statesmanship, dialogue, negotiation and compromise. . In addition to annual student congresses at the high school and college levels, HCCS sponsors lectures and conducts advocacy for greater levels of negotiation and compromise at all levels of government. Alumni of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship now number over 600, and serve variously as elected state and local office holders, staffers in the U.S. Senate and House, as well as corporate and legal professionals in the private sector.
This year’s event will take place June 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC.