Representative Jay Kaufman's award-winning, public-policy forum, Open House, explores a familiar topic, taxation without representation, in the fourth forum of the 19th season, to be held Thursday, Dec. 12, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the historic Depot, 13 Depot Square, Lexington Center.
Although not widely known, Lexington citizens burned British tea in a protest three days before the better-known Boston Tea Party. While taxation without representation spurred both actions, an underlying concern about the influence of the British East India Company over the British throne anticipates a theme of American history from that time to this day: the role of corporations in shaping American policy.
The December forum will explore this theme with a look at "The Tea Party: East India Company to Halliburton."
Kicking off the discussion will be Dr. William Poole, clerk of the Lexington Historical Society, captain of the Lexington Minutemen and Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago, and Robert Kuttner, cofounder and coeditor of The American Prospect and longtime columnist for Business Week and The Boston Globe.
How was corporate power and influence seen by our colonial ancestors? How has the relationship between corporate interests and public policy makers changed over the centuries and how has it been viewed by citizens, economists and political scientists across the centuries? How is it understood and seen today?
What does our reliance on government contractors to wage war, protect national security at home, deliver the mail, and provide services to the disabled (among many other things) tell us about how public policy is set and about how government operates?
Find out the answers to these questions and bring your own.
Open House was launched in 1995 to provide a forum for discussing the challenges and opportunities facing our community and Commonwealth. Over its 16 years, the forum has addressed issues ranging from reinventing public education to gay marriage, property tax relief to campaign finance reform, the shrinking middle class to stem cell research, the nature of political leadership to the challenges of effecting fundamental change in a democracy.
In 1997, the forum was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award, cable television's equivalent of an Emmy, as the nation's best government relations series.
The series was also named the best television series by Massachusetts Cable Television Commission. The series is produced through a partnership between Rep. Kaufman and LexMedia, which records the forums for broadcast in Lexington, Arlington and Woburn.
This story was published Monday, Dec. 2, 2013