Meet the Faculty

Photo of Pete Peterson

Pete Peterson
Executive Director, Davenport Institute

Office: School of Public Policy (SPP) 260
Phone: (310) 506-8054
Fax: (310) 506-7494
E-mail: pete.n.peterson@pepperdine.edu

  • M.P.P., Pepperdine University
  • B.A., History, George Washington University

Pete Peterson is a leading national speaker and writer on issues related to civic participation, and the use of technology to make government more responsive and transparent. He was the first executive director of the bi-partisan organization, Common Sense California, which in 2010 joined with the Davenport Institute at the School of Public Policy to become the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. In 2008, he developed the organization's annual Public Engagement Grant Program, which has provided over $400,000.00 in grants over the last several years to dozens of municipal governments across California. Peterson has also consulted on several of these projects with local governments, and has directly facilitated public meetings.

Peterson has co-created and currently co-facilitates the training seminar, "Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership Skill in Difficult Times" a program that has been attended by over 1,000 municipal officials, and he also co-created and co-facilitates the seminar, "Gov 2.0: What Public Officials Need to Know." Peterson created, and is the executive editor of the Institute's two main blogs: "inCommon", and "Gov2.0Watch".

Peterson writes widely on public engagement for a variety major news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as numerous blogs. He has also helped write several survey-based reports on the subject, including "Testing the Waters: California's Local Officials Experiment with New Ways to Engage the Public" (in collaboration with the League of California Cities), and the "California Civic Health Index" (in collaboration with the National Conference on Citizenship). He contributed the chapter, "Place As Pragmatic Policy" to the edited volume, Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America (New Atlantis Books, 2014).

Pete has been a public affairs fellow at The Hoover Institution, and he serves on the Leadership Councils of the Public Policy Institute of California and California Forward, and on the steering committees of the University Network for Collaborative Governance, and the Institute for Local Government.

Peterson was the Republican candidate for California Secretary of State in 2014.


2015 Panels/Presentations:

- Panelist: Big Money Politics after Citizens United: Keeping Voters Engaged in Democracy." Hosted by UC-Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy (Berkeley, CA/April 18)

- Panelist: "The Future of California's Republican Party." Hosted by Southern California Public Radio (Rancho Mirage, CA/March 2)

- Presenter: "Civic Engagement: The Policy and the Politics." Keynote presented at Florida Civic Advance Summit (Orlando, FL/February 22)

- Panelist: "Reinventing the Public Square" panel in "The Future of Technology & Democracy." Hosted by the Federal Elections Commission and UC Hastings College of Law (San Francisco/February 19)

-Presenter: "A 'Revolution' in Public Policy. . . And Politics." Hosted by American Enterprise Institute's Pepperdine University Chapter Annual Leadership Dinner (Pepperdine)

Courses:
  • MPP 687 Seminar in Regional Policies: Leadership through Public Engagement
Academic Interests:
  • California Policy Issues
  • Civic Participation
  • Private/Civic/Public Sector Relationships
  • Technology in Government
Selected Works:
  • "The Alinsky Way of Governing". The Wall Street Journal, 4/9/15.
  • "Top-Two Fracturing" City Journal California (blog), 2/27/15.
  • "A Party for Citizens and Customers" Fox and Hounds Daily (blog), 2/3/15.
  • "Republicans Need Their Own Rhetoric of Reliance" Los Angeles Times, 1/24/15.
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