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James Baker on 25 years at the Baker Institute

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Rice University‘s Baker Institute for Public Policy was founded in 1993 after President George H.W. Bush lost his re-election bid and his Chief of Staff James Baker received a call that peaked his interest.

“Well, right after we lost in November of 92, I got a call from George Rupp who was then president of Rice and they said, ‘We would like to consider establishing a policy institute in your name at Rice University. Would you support that?’ I said, ‘I’d be very honored.'”

Now the institute is considered one of the premier nonpartisan public policy think tanks in the country.

“We thought there was a desire for substantive policy debate in Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city,” Baker told Dave. “We are now ranked number three among all university affiliated think tanks in the world.”

The institute funds the research of some of the most critical policy issues our country is facing from drug addiction to immigration and energy.

“If we’re as successful in the next 25 years as we’ve been in the first 25 years, I’d be ecstatic,” Baker said.

The institute’s namesake, has family connections to the university from the very beginning. Baker’s grandfather, James Addison Baker also known as Captain Baker, was William Marsh Rice’s attorney in the late 1800s.

Watch the above abc13 KTRK “Dave Ward’s Houston” for Dave’s riveting conversation with James Baker III about his relationship with Presidents Bush and Reagan.

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