Al From is one of America’s premier strategists and policy entrepreneurs with a track record of injecting innovative ideas into the national debate, turning major national institutions around and changing the course of American life. He is a consultant to the firm and principal of The From Company, LLC, which provides strategic advice to private clients and nonprofits.
Practice & Background
In March 1985, From founded the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the organization whose ideas and political strategies during the past quarter century played a central role in the resurgence of the modern Democratic Party. He led the DLC from its inception until April 2009. The New York Times Magazine, in February 2010, called the DLC under From’s leadership one of the two “most influential think tanks in history, the primary shapers of political thought at the end of the broadcast age.”
In 2000, at a speech at Hyde Park, President Bill Clinton said, “It would be hard to think of a single American citizen who, as a private citizen, has had a more positive impact on the progress of American life in the last 25 years than Al From.”
Founded after a series of crushing defeats when some thought the Democratic Party was destined for extinction, the DLC has provided both the action agenda and the ideas for New Democrats to successfully challenge the conventional political wisdom in America and, in the process, redefine the center of the Democratic Party. Mr. From played a prominent role in the 1992 election of President Bill Clinton—and served as domestic policy advisor to the Clinton transition—prompting USA Today to write: “The ideas at the crux of the Clinton candidacy were largely drafted by the DLC.”
Today, many of the ideas that comprise the core of the Democratic Party’s agenda come from work done under Mr. From’s leadership at the DLC. National service, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, welfare reform, charter schools, community policing, expanded trade and reinventing government were all championed by scholars and analysts at the DLC well before becoming part of the Democratic Party’s great successes. Today, many leading Democrats from across the nation point to the DLC’s brand of politics as a key element of their success.
In 1998, with First Lady Hillary Clinton, Mr. From began a dialogue with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other world leaders, and the DLC brand—known as The Third Way—became a model for resurgent progressive governments around the globe. In April 1999, he hosted an historic Third Way forum in Washington, D.C., with President Clinton, Prime Minister Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Prime Ministers Wim Kok of the Netherlands and Massimo D’Alema of Italy.
In November 1999, joining President Clinton, Mr. From moderated the first-ever live presidential town hall meeting on the Internet.
Before founding the DLC, Mr. From was executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, where he played a pivotal role in revitalizing that venerable institution. He also served in President Jimmy Carter’s White House, and was staff director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations, where he was a staffer on the Congressional Budget Act, helped shape the stimulus package during the 1973-74 recession and was called a “legislative genius” by Washingtonian magazine.
His writings have appeared in numerous national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic and Politico.com. His most recent book, The New Democrats and the Return to Power, was released in December 2013 and features a foreword by President Clinton.
Mr. From earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, was editor of the Daily Northwestern, and was named a charter member of the Hall of Achievement of the Medill School of Journalism.
Mr. From is involved in numerous community, civic and charitable activities including:
- serving on the Board of Advisers of the Medill School at Northwestern University
- serving on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Chamber Foundation
- serving on the Board of Trustees of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
- serving on the National Advisory Board of The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network
- serving on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Behavior and Health
- serving on the Executive Board of the University of Maryland’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship
- serving on the Advisory Board of the Annapolis Forum
- being appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors in 1999 and serving as chairman until December 2002 when his term expired.