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Distinguished Alumnus

John A. Cline

John Cline

B.A., Political Science, 1981

When it comes to integrity and experience in Washington D.C.’s public affairs and advocacy arena, Mr. John Cline is one of the most highly regarded and sought-after lobbyists. After more than two decades in the field of transportation, he has developed an expertise in federal transportation programs, legislative policy, and strategy.

As a founding partner of C2 Group, a prominent bipartisan lobbying firm, Mr. Cline has represented some of the largest public transportation systems in the nation, as well as numerous private transportation investors and operators. In his role at the firm, Mr. Cline specializes in the fields of transportation, financial services, and energy. C2’s client list includes Porsche Cars of North America; Comcast Corp.; eBay; Continental Auto Group; 7-Eleven, Inc.; Los Angeles County Metro Transportation Authority; PepsiCo Inc.; and Axa Financial/Equitable Life Assurance.

Mr. Cline graduated from NIU in 1981, earning a degree in political science with an emphasis on public law. While on campus, he was active in student government and oversaw the Huskie Bus System, which is the largest campus-based system in the State of Illinois. It was his experience with the Huskie Bus line and the creation of the University–City of DeKalb Bus Service that piqued his interest in the field of transportation.

Mr. Cline entered public service in 1989, when he was selected by President George H.W. Bush to be Associate Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration at the Department of Transportation (DOT). He later served as Director of the Office of Congressional Affairs for the DOT, where he played a key role in the enactment of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the completion of the National Transportation Policy.

In 1992, he was named Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs by President Bush, serving as his liaison to governors and other state-level, elected officials. Mr. Cline’s work focused on matters concerning defense restructuring, welfare and health care reform, and transportation. He later served as the Director of Commuter Rail at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, where he was responsible for the daily operations of the commuter rail service for the entire Boston metropolitan area.

As a regular participant in the Congressional Hockey Challenge, which raises money for youth hockey programs and college scholarships, Mr. Cline has maintained ties to and demonstrated support for education. He developed C2’s paid college internship program, which accepted its first NIU student this past summer, and during the Political Science Department’s 2013 spring break trip to Washington, D.C., Mr. Cline and two of his partners spent several hours with NIU students, discussing their careers and answering numerous questions. This generous sharing of time and expertise with students reflects a continued commitment to NIU, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Political Science.

Mr. Cline lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Krista Edwards (also an NIU alumnus – B.A., Political Science, 1984/J.D., Northwestern University 1988), and their three children.