Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy


Political Discourse and Political Dissent: Understanding the Tea Party and "Occupy" Movements

Shaumbaugh Auditorium
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 6:30 PM

Perhaps the most important and telling consequence of our current political circumstance is the emergence of two new political movements: the “Tea Party,” and “Occupy Wall Street.” This week, we will open with a brief historical survey of political dissent in American history, and then hear from local voices from each of these movements.




  • Deborah D. Thornton

    Deborah D. Thornton

    Research Analyst, Public Interest Institute

    Deborah Thornton is a public policy researcher, analyst and writer at the Public Interest Institute (PII) in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The PPI is a non-profit, non-partisan, free-market, limited-government think-tank. Ms. Thornton also writes and edits the Iowa Economic Scorecard and Facts & Opinions, quarterly publications of the PII. Her work has been published in over 100 newspapers statewide, and she has been a guest speaker on a wide variety of radio shows. She is a member of the Iowa City Press-Citizen writers' group, with a monthly guest column. Ms. Thornton is an expert in government relations, marketing and business development, and taught business courses in Marketing and Consumer Behavior at Iowa Wesleyan College. She was a political appointee in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, and has worked for Senators Dick Lugar, and Mitch McConnell, as well as for Governors Mitch Daniels and Gary Johnson. She holds an MBA from the University of Maryland, and a BA from Indiana University.



  • Misty Rebik

    Misty Rebik

    Misty Rebik is the Executive Director for the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ). The CWJ was formally founded in November of 2012, and Misty was elected to its first Board of Directors. In July 2013, Misty was delighted to become the Center’s first hired staff and executive director. With the Center she is dedicated to the empowerment of immigrant workers to know and defend their rights and to build common cause across linguistic, religious, racial, national/political barriers to work towards concrete change. To date, CWJ has recovered thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, mobilized more than 500 people in the local community to take action, and educated more than 500 low wage workers about their rights. Misty was formally a community organizer with the grass-roots organizing group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), where she worked on the group’s Latino Organizing Project. While at Iowa CCI Misty worked with dozens of low-wage Latino workers to recover tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, worked to strengthen wage theft enforcement in the state of Iowa, and to hold corporations accountable to fair treatment of workers. She also has served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for the Iowa Immigration Education Coalition, and Iowa Legal Aid. Misty is passionate about all things social justice, and an enthusiastic traveler. She speaks Spanish, is practicing Portuguese, and soon wishes to learn Arabic.

    Misty has won several awards including the Iowa City Human Rights Commission Kenneth Cmiel for outstanding contributions to human rights by actively participating in the field, and the Jim Harris Award for commitment to volunteer social justice work. Misty holds a B.A. in International Studies emphasizing on Latin American Studies with a Spanish Minor from the University of Iowa and an M.S in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Iowa.

  • Mauro Heck

    Mauro Heck

    Mauro Heck, Iowa City photography and Occupy activist

    Mauro Heck is an Iowa City photographer, small business owner, and Occupy activist. Originally from Brazil, he came to Iowa to study, and holds a BS from the University of Iowa. Mr. Heck has been a political activist for progressive causes since his youth. He has worked in Latin America, particularly in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and is fluent in three languages. Three years ago, to celebrate his 50th birthday, he biked from Iowa City to the Panama Canal, a journey of over 4,000 miles. He is active in the urban garden movement, and volunteers regularly at the Iowa City Bike Library.

  • Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas is the State Director of the Iowa chapter of Americans for Prosperity. He holds a Business Management degree from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business with a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management.

    During the 2008 presidential primary, Mr. Lucas was the State Director of the Americans for Fair Taxation. He was responsible for running Iowa’s FairTax primary campaign. The National Review said the FairTax campaign was the biggest success story of the 2008 primary season.

    Mr. Lucas has served for over 8 years in the Iowa Army National Guard and is a graduate of the US Army Ranger School. As a platoon leader, he led an infantry rifle platoon along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star Medal, distinguishing himself for meritorious service in combat.


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