Polsinelli Shughart national public affairs attorney Martin Frost has been elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bipartisan National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year NED grants more than $100 million to support projects of non-governmental groups working toward freedom and democratic goals in all corners of the globe.
Frost, a firm shareholder and a member of Polsinelli Shughart’s national public policy practice group in Washington, D.C., succeeds former Missouri congressman Richard A. Gephardt as chairman.
“Martin is a keen observer of the political landscape, and with Martin at its helm, we know NED will continue its unique mission of effecting positive political change around the world,” said Polsinelli Shughart Chairman W. Russell Welsh. “We salute Martin for taking on this important task.”
Since its founding in 1983, the NED has remained on the leading edge of international democratic struggles. Funded largely by Congress, NED has remained steadfastly bipartisan. Created jointly by Republicans and Democrats, NED is governed by a board balanced between both parties and enjoys Congressional support across the political spectrum.
“I have a profound respect for this amazing institution. Being elected chairman is an honor, but it’s a job that also carries tremendous responsibility,” said Frost. “The support NED gives to groups abroad sends an important message of solidarity to all who work for freedom and human rights, often in obscurity and isolation.”
NED is dedicated to fostering the growth of a wide range of democratic institutions abroad, including political parties, trade unions, free markets and business organizations, as well as the many elements of a vibrant civil society that ensure human rights, an independent media, and the rule of law. NED is guided by the belief that freedom is a universal human aspiration that can be realized through the development of democratic institutions, procedures, and values.
An attorney for more than 40 years, Frost was elected to Congress in 1979 to represent the Dallas-Fort Worth area in north Texas. During his distinguished career in the House, he served as Chair of the Caucus, the third highest elected leadership position for Democrats, and was the senior Democrat on the powerful Rules Committee.
Frost also served for six years on the House Budget Committee and was chairman of the Health Task Force. During the 1996 and 1998 election cycles, Frost was the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, helping his party to a net gain of 14 House seats. When Frost departed Congress in 2005, he was the senior southern Democrat in the House and the dean of the Texas congressional delegation.
An innovative lawmaker with the ability to craft bipartisan legislation, Frost is a co-author of both the privacy provisions in the landmark financial industry deregulation statute, the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the 1992 Industrial Base and Defense Conversion Act, which enabled communities and individuals to respond to the downsizing of the defense industry. Frost was also the author of the National Amber Alert law that helps find children victimized by predators.
From 1990-95, he also chaired a special House Task Force established to help eastern and central European nations transition to democracy after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was also co-chair with former Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Wash., of the Bipartisan Working Group on Youth Violence and a co-chair with former Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., of a bipartisan working group on continuity of government, which examined ways to ensure the continued operation of the federal government after a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.
Frost was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard for the fall 2005 semester and was named a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in January 2006. He served as president of America Votes, a nationwide voter turnout organization, during the 2008 general election cycle.
Frost is a member of the Texas and District of Columbia Bar and a former practicing lawyer in Dallas. A graduate of the Georgetown Law Center, where he was a member of the law review, Frost clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Sarah T. Hughes of the Northern District of Texas.
Frost is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor of journalism degree. After journalism school, Frost worked as a reporter for the Wilmington (DE) News-Journal and Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report in Washington before earning his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
An avid writer, Frost is a frequent contributor to national political journals, including The Hill and Politico.
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*Inc Magazine, September 2012