Barbara Adams is a Committee of Seventy board member and former General Counsel of Pennsylvania.

Q. Tell us about a person who guided or inspired you in the ideals of public service.

I am another Baby Boomer who was inspired by the eloquence and elegance of JFK regarding public service.

As a candidate in 1960, JFK visited Pottsville, PA, and I was there, one of only two or three fourth-graders in my public school class who was for JFK over Nixon. I remember my best friend was so disturbed about the outcome on the morning after the election that she grimaced at me and stomped her feet throughout the daily pledge of allegiance. She looked so funny, and I was thrilled!

Q. Tell us about one thing that worries you about how democracy is working in our state or nation.

I am troubled by the increasing inability of voters to engage in critical thinking about the messages they receive from politicians and in the media, and I am appalled by the lack of civic education among voters.

Q. Tell us why you decided to get involved in Draw the Lines PA.

I am a new member of the Committee of 70 and a big part of my attraction to the Committee at this time was and is its work on the gerrymandering issue, which I think is a fundamental structural problem in our democracy needing to be fixed. The DTL project is a remarkably imaginative approach to increasing public awareness about the problem and has a good chance to be part of the solution. I am delighted to have an opportunity to be part of such a solution.

Q. Tell us about one thing you hope Draw the Lines PA accomplishes.

I hope the DTL project raises public awareness of the abuses an unchecked legislature can create in drawing electoral districts and that that awareness will result in districts drawn after the 2020 census that are more compact and do not unnecessarily divide political jurisdictions.


Adams served as the Executive Vice President—Legal Affairs and General Counsel of the Philadelphia Housing Authority from August 2011 to April 2016, and as a Trustee of each of the Philadelphia Housing Authority Retirement Income Trust and the Philadelphia Housing Authority Defined Contribution Pension Plan from November 2011 to April 2016. She served as the General Counsel of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2005 until January 2011.