Eric Kingson (Chair)
Eric Kingson, professor of social work at Syracuse University’s School of Social Work, is also a Senior Research Associate in the Maxwell School’s Center for Policy Research. Kingson served as policy advisor to two presidential commissions — the 1982-3 National Commission on Social Security Reform and the 1994 Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform.
Previously on the social work faculties of Boston College and the University of Maryland, he directed the Emerging Issues in Aging Program of the Gerontological Society of America (1984-5). He received his doctorate in 1979 from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School for Social Policy and Management; his M.P.A. in 1976 from Northeastern University. A founding board member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), he is a past-chair of the Social Research, Policy and Practice section of the Gerontological Society of America, and chairs a NASI advisory committee to its program, “Innovative Projects to Strengthen Social Security for Vulnerable Populations.”
His scholarship examines the politics and economics of population aging, Social Security, and the public and private exchanges across generations. He is primary author of Ties That Bind: The Interdependence of Generations (Seven Locks Press, 1986) and Social Security and Medicare: A Policy Primer; author of The Diversity of the Baby Boom (Washington, DC: AARP, 1992) and co-editor of Social Security in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 1997). He also authored Lessons From Joan: Living and Loving with Cancer, A Husband’s Story (Syracuse University Press, November 2005), and In Their Own Voices (Center for Spiritual Care, SUNY Upstate Medical University, May 2009), a small book that presents the experiences and advice of 14 children and youth who face life-threatening illness.
Nancy Altman (Vice-Chair)
Nancy J. Altman has a forty year background in the areas of Social Security and private pensions. She is founding co-director of Social Security Works and co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition and campaign. She is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005), and co-author, with Eric R. Kingson, of Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All (The New Press, 2015).
From 1983 to 1989, Ms. Altman was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and taught courses on private pensions and Social Security at the Harvard Law School. In 1982, she was Alan Greenspan’s assistant in his position as chairman of the bipartisan commission that developed the 1983 Social Security amendments. From 1977 to 1981, she was a legislative assistant to Senator John C. Danforth (R-Mo,), and advised the Senator with respect to Social Security issues. From 1974 to 1977, she was a tax lawyer with Covington & Burling, where she handled a variety of private pension matters.
Ms. Altman chairs the Board of Directors of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of beneficiary rights. She is also on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a membership organization of over 900 of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. In the mid-1980’s, she was on the organizing committee and the first board of directors of the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Ms. Altman has an A.B. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Jonathan Ball (Secretary)
Jonathan Ball has had a life-long interest in progressive social policy. This was no doubt sparked by his relationship with his father, Robert M. Ball, who was a prime mover in the history of Social Security and federal health programs. Jonathan was able to observe first-hand his father’s unfolding career and to be privy to his thinking until Robert Ball’s death in 2008.
With one exception, Jonathan’s career has led him to focus on direct service and local school reform rather than social policy on a national scale. The exception was two years spent as a young adult working in the headquarters of Lyndon Johnson’s Office of Economic Opportunity, primarily in the development of neighborhood health centers. At that time, Jonathan’s working life has been divided almost equally between being a teacher, principal, and teacher-educator; and being a clinical social working practicing psychotherapy.
Rich Arenberg teaches Congress and the Federal Budget and Congressional Leadership, Parties and Public Policy. He has also teaches several courses in the political science department at Brown.
Arenberg retired as the legislative director and deputy chief of staff to U.S. Senator Carl Levin (Michigan). He spent more than thirty-four years on Capitol Hill, including four years in the House and thirty years in the U.S. Senate. Arenberg has held senior positions for the late Senator Paul Tsongas (Massachusetts) and Senate Majority Leader Senator George Mitchell (Maine). He served on the Senate select committee to investigate the Iran-contra affair and helped Senator William Cohen and Senator Mitchell write Men of Zeal, a book detailing and analyzing those hearings. He was one of the principle negotiators and drafters of the Alaska National Interest Lands Act, which President Carter called “the most important piece of conservation legislation passed in the 20th Century.”
Arenberg has significant experience in intelligence matters, Congressional history, procedure, rules and protocol, and the role and impact of Congress on public policy.
Arenberg co-authored Defending the Filibuster: Soul of the Senate with Robert B. Dove, parliamentarian emeritus of the U.S. Senate, which was published by Indiana University Press in 2012. They were awarded a Congressional research award by the Dirksen Congressional Center in 2010. Defending the Filibuster was named “Book of the Year in Political Science” by Forewords Reviews. An updated version of the book will be published in January, 2015.
Arenberg is also an adjunct lecturer in political science at Northeastern University and adjunct lecturer in government at Suffolk University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Social Security Works and served on the advisory board of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a member of the board of advisors of As America Ages, and a Senior Congressional Fellow at the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership.
Arenberg holds an MA in political science from Boston University.
Kathleen Currie was formerly director of programs for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (WRI) in Morrilton, Arkansas, where she was responsible for overall direction of the institute’s programmatic focus. In that position, she developed programs on economic development, civic engagement, health, political reform, philanthropy, race relations, Arkansas-based scientific innovations, and the arts and humanities.
Before joining WRI, Currie spent 11 years as deputy director at the International Women’s Media Foundation, where she developed international programs on topics including health, leadership and press freedom. She also oversaw the IWMF’s communications department and won a 2009 Webby Award for the organization’s Web site.
Currie has worked as a journalist and an oral historian for several award-winning projects. She was special assistant to the first U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan and helped to open the first U.S. embassy in that country following the fall of the Soviet Union.
She currently serves on the board of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre and is a former vice president of the board of Suited for Change, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that supports low-income women in achieving economic independence by increasing their employment and job retention potential.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree in writing from The Johns Hopkins University. She received two fellowships to pursue writing projects from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.