Ford's Charlottesville Connection

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

December 27, 2006

It was back in 2001 that Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter co-chaired the Presidential Commission at the Miller Center. The importance of that visit and the Charlottesville connection to the late president, was felt even stronger at the center on Wednesday.

In a video produced for the Miller Center, President Ford recalls a visit to central Virginia in October 1979. "I had the pleasure of coming to Charlottesville and visiting the Miller Center myself," he said.

The former president's 1979 trip must have made a positive impression. He made his way back to Charlottesville 22 years later to serve as co-chair of the last Presidential Commission at the Miller Center.

"This was arguably the most important of the Miller Center's presidential commissions," said Co-Director Brian Balogh.

Ford, along with President Jimmy Carter, took an in-depth look at the problems surrounding the 2000 presidential election

The pair presented legislation to president Bush on election reform.

"I think he understood that elections were the institutions that connected the American people to the very highest offices, including the presidency," said Balogh. "He was not in perfect health then, but he was certainly a very active leader of the commission."

Ford remained tied to the endeavor and the center.

"Over the years I've stayed in touch and watched the Miller Center attain it's national promise," said Ford in the video.

They are words that will have a lasting effect on the center, and words that make the Charlottesville connection to the 38th president a very close one.

The legislation that both Ford and Carter worked on during those months has already been enacted by President Bush.

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