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A man for all seasons; LaForge book the latest achievement

October 29th, 2010

You don’t have to go far to find someone to say something nice about Mississippi’s Bill LaForge.

The Cleveland native is past national president of the Federal Bar Association and is a frequent speaker on the topics of government and Congressional relations, communicating with Congress, the Congressional hearings process and the Congressional appropriations process.

And his recently released book titled “Testifying Before Congress” is gaining accolades from across the country.

In a recent visit with Jim Rosenblatt, dean of the Mississippi School of Law, you didn’t have to wonder about his feeling on LaForge.

We chatted about Bill, his book and his positive impact for Mississippi on the outside world.

Just about before I could make the three-block walk back to my office from MC, there was a e-mail in my in box from Rosenblatt about the book.

“‘Testifying Before Congress’ is a superlative work. The book has the depth of background and the precision of practicality to make it a helpful treatise for the practitioner as well as a thoughtful textbook for use by professors in classes on public policy or Congressional oversight.  It should be on the bookshelf of anyone who follows the business of Congress.”

High praise from someone who knows.

The book is basically a how-to text on  surviving the mine field of congressional testimony.

LaForge prepares potential witnesses for every eventuality, including using actual briefings and rehearsals used by such agencies as USAID, NASA and the IRS as well as corporate and NGO examples.

He was destined to achieve

Many would have told you he was destined for great things when he was the student body president at Delta State nearly 40 years ago.
Then, again, there are probably some from his Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity days at DSU who would tell you differently.

Seriously, LaForge is one of the great talents to ever come out of the Delta, and he has never forgotten who he is or where he came from.

LaForge has always been quick to give back to his community and quicker to come back for a visit every once in awhile, including just a few weeks ago.

A shareholder at Winstead Sechrest & Minick, P.C., specializing in government relations/public policy, LaForge has been a main figure on Capitol Hill as chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and culminated his government career as chief legislative counsel and chief of staff to Sen. Thad Cochran. Previously he served as Congressional liaison for the Peace Corps and as a legislative assistant to Mississippi Rep. David Bowen.

He’s been all over the place — studied international law at Cambridge, received fellowships to study government and public policy in the European Union and at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He’s also an avid runner and a triathlete. He has completed 61 marathons, including 24 Boston Marathons, and he has logged more than 65,000 miles running.

Oh yeah, and I haven’t mentioned that he plays guitar in an oldies rock-and-roll band in his spare time.
So, he’s amazingly intelligent, determined, an accomplished writer, a great athlete and he’s the perfect guy to have over to play your fall deck party.

How much more could you possibly want out of someone?

Well, for years, there has been been a push by many, particularly in the Delta, to get his talents back in Mississippi.

Specifically, many would love to see LaForge come back as president of DSU.
Even with the current economic conditions surrounding higher education in Mississippi, LaForge would be a positive force for future for the entire state.

But DSU has a president. So, a LaForge move back home will have to wait a little longer.

In the mean time, “Testifying Before Congress” is another example of this home-grown product providing a great example of and for Mississippi.

Pick it up and check it out.

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