Bob Edgar

President and CEO, Common Cause

Bob Edgar was President and CEO of Common Cause, one of nation’s most effective grassroots advocacy organizations working for democracy reform, with nearly 400,000 members and supporters, a strong presence on Capitol Hill, state chapters in 36 states, and four decades of experience and hard-won victories.

Prior to assuming the leadership of Common Cause, he served seven years as general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the leading U.S. organization in the movement for Christian unity, and before that as president of the Claremont School of Theology.

Bob was elected to the U.S. House in 1974, the first Democrat in 82 years to represent the heavily Republican 7th Congressional District of Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. He led efforts to improve public transportation, fought wasteful water projects and authored the community Right to Know provision of Super Fund legislation, among other things. He ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 1986 against Republican Sen. Arlen Specter. That race fueled his frustration with the undue influence of money in politics and he became an active supporter of clean elections and campaign finance reform, issues that have been Common Cause's hallmark.

His wide-ranging career has also included pastorates at United Methodist congregations and stints as a teacher, college chaplain, community organizer, and director of a “think tank” on national security issues.

Bob received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pa., and a master of divinity degree from the Theological School of Drew University, Madison, N.J. He holds four honorary doctoral degrees.