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MGM Resorts International Public Policy Institute at UNLV Names Advisory Board

Co-chaired by Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner, board includes high profile experts who will direct bipartisan, research-based public policy solutions.
Business and Community  |  Dec 15, 2017  |  By UNLV Media Relations
Media Contact: UNLV Office of Media Relations (702) 895-3102;
Greenspun Hall

Greenspun Hall, home of the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. (UNLV Creative Services)

The MGM Resorts International Public Policy Institute at UNLV announced today an initial list of advisory board members to lead the development of bipartisan solutions to economic, education, and workforce challenges facing American workers and communities. Advisory board members will shape the research priorities, partnerships and public policy contributions of the Institute.

Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner will co-chair the advisory board, which includes noted community leaders, political and policy experts Frank Fahrenkopf, Jane Harman, Ron Kirk, Kris Engelstad McGarry, Sig Rogich, Ken Salazar, and Rich Verma.

“I am honored to welcome these respected thought leaders and experienced public servants to the MGM Resorts International Public Policy Institute at UNLV,” said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts. “They know first-hand the diverse challenges facing workforces and communities across this country, and the power of bipartisan public policy dialogue to drive change.”

MGM Resorts International Public Policy Institute is co-chaired by Senator Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner and is housed in UNLV’s School of Public Policy and Leadership within the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. In partnership with UNLV, the Institute will launch a robust research agenda in 2018 aimed at building bridges and developing community-based solutions. The advisory board will engage to define this work and its outcomes.

“We are thankful to Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner and the team at MGM Resorts for helping to secure a high-caliber and widely recognized group of leaders,” said UNLV President Len Jessup. “Our community of researchers looks forward to working closely with the advisory board as we build a research roadmap to support actionable and inclusive policy solutions.”

Senator Reid and Speaker Boehner jointly stated, “As we prepare to lead a new era of bipartisan, research-based public policy solutions, it is with great pleasure that we welcome this initial group of leaders. Throughout their careers, they have dared to take on some of the greatest public policy challenges of our time, and we are proud to have their partnership as we work together to improve the lives of the next generation.”

Additional background on advisory board members: 

Harry Reid, Advisory Board Co-Chair: Senator Reid served 30 years in the U.S. Senate and is the longest serving Senator from the state of Nevada. During his Senate career, he served as the Senate Majority Leader, Democratic Leader, Majority Whip, and Minority Whip. Senator Reid is renowned for tirelessly working to improve conditions in Nevada by promoting economic development, investing in infrastructure and clean energy development, and championing the state’s role as the country’s premiere entertainment and gaming destination. In addition to his role with the Institute, Senator Reid recently accepted the role of Distinguished Fellow at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.

John Boehner, Advisory Board Co-Chair: Speaker Boehner represented Ohio’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 25 years, during which he served as Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader. Speaker Boehner’s experience as a small businessman informed his time in Congress, where he spent his career fighting for sound fiscal and regulatory policies to drive employment and economic growth. After his long tenure in the House, Speaker Boehner in 2016 joined Squire Patton Boggs as a strategic advisor.

Frank Fahrenkopf: Mr. Fahrenkopf served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1983 to 1989, where he coordinated the Republican party’s policy platform, as well as fundraising and election efforts. From 1995-2013, Mr. Fahrenkopf was President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, where he led efforts to address policy, political, and regulatory issues facing the gaming industry. Mr. Fahrenkopf co-founded and serves as co-Chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which hosts the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates in election years.

Jane Harman: Ms. Harman served nine terms in Congress as the former U.S. Representative for California’s 36th congressional district, serving on all of the major security committees. She has been recognized as a national expert at the nexus of security and public policy issues and has received numerous awards for distinguished service. She is a member of the Defense Policy Board, the State Department Foreign Policy Board and the Homeland Security Advisory Committee. She is a Trustee of the Aspen Institute and the University of Southern California. Since resigning from Congress in 2011, Ms. Harman has served as the first female Director, President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Ron Kirk: Mr. Kirk served as the Mayor of Dallas, Texas from 1995 to 2001 and as Texas Attorney General under then-Governor Ann Richards. He also served as the U.S. Trade Representative from 2009 to 2013, where he oversaw deepening trade relations between the United States and several key allies, including South Korea. Mr. Kirk currently is Senior Of Counsel at the Gibson Dunn law firm.

Kris Engelstad McGarry: Ms. Engelstad McGarry is the Trustee of the Engelstad Family Foundation, one of the leading philanthropic organizations in Nevada focused on helping to create solutions in medical research, improving day-to-day living for people with disabilities and raising the possibilities for high-risk individuals. Under Ms. Engelstad McGarry’s leadership, the Foundation has served as the principal benefactor to Opportunity Village, Three Square, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, Miracle League, Spread the Word Nevada, Project 150, UNLV and others, resulting in $200 million in scholarships and grants.

Sig Rogich: Mr. Rogich was a White House Senior Advisor to President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1992 and served as a communications and campaign advisor to Presidents Reagan and Bush and presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. He founded R&R Advertising in 1974, the largest advertising and consultancy firm in Nevada. He was selected by President Bush to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, his country of birth. He currently is the President of The Rogich Communications Group, an international communications and business advisory firm based in Las Vegas, NV.

Ken Salazar: Mr. Salazar served as Colorado Attorney General from 1999 to 2005, later becoming the 50th U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 2009 - 2013. As Secretary of Interior, he oversaw important issues related to public lands, energy conservation, and resource management. Prior to serving as Interior Secretary, Mr. Salazar was the senior U.S. Senator from Colorado and served on the Senate Finance and Energy and Natural Resources Committees, among others. Mr. Salazar currently is a Partner at the law firm WilmerHale.

Rich Verma: Mr. Verma was the National Security Advisor to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid before becoming the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, where he oversaw the U.S. State Department’s relationship with Capitol Hill. He later served as the U.S. Ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017. Mr. Verma currently is Vice Chairman and Partner at The Asia Group, an international strategic advisory firm.

About MGM Resorts International

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is one of the world's leading global hospitality and entertainment companies, operating a portfolio of destination resort brands including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage. The Company opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland on December 8, 2016, and is in the process of developing MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.

MGM Resorts is named among FORTUNE® Magazine's 2016 list of World's Most Admired Companies®. For more information about MGM Resorts International, visit the Company's website at

About the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs

The Greenspun College of Urban Affairs is committed to creating contemporary solutions for resilient communities. The college prepares undergraduate and graduate students to lead, collaborate, and innovate through research, a cutting-edge curriculum, and public-private partnerships. Our academic programs focus on effective public policymaking, creating strong support structures to meet behavioral and mental health challenges, and ensuring cities are safe and prepared to meet emergency situations. The college also supports community dialogue and civic engagement through effective and ethical journalism and interpersonal and public communication strategies.