2010 Policy Matters: Scholarly and Practical Perspectives on Contemporary Problems

Shambaugh Auditorium, UI Main Library Iowa City, Iowa
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 6:30 PM to Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 8:20 PM

Ever wonder what academics are really up to? Now you can find out for free. The Public Policy Center is joining with the UI History Department to offer an unprecedented series of public forums featuring nationally recognized experts to share their perspectives on pressing domestic policy issues. Topics will include Health Care, Poverty, Energy, and Economic Development, among others. Each session, UI experts will provide a background introduction to the topic of the week. This will be followed by a discussion involving policy practitioners, legislators, and advocates, and questions from the audience. Course resources such as PowerPoint presentations and audiocasts will be available on this website following each session. Classes begin January 27, 2010, and take place every Wednesday from 6:30-8:20 in Shambaugh Auditorium at the UI Main Library. Weekly sessions are free and open to the public. These sessions will also be offered to students for credit.  “Policy Matters” is cross-listed by Political Science (course number 30:129) and History (course number 16:115).

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
11:00 AM Introduction
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
7:00 PM Economic Policy
  1. Dean Baker
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Health Care Reform
  1. Peter Damiano
  2. Tim Kresowik
  3. Andrew Cannon
  4. Colin Gordon
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Poverty
  1. Kevin Leicht
  2. Lily French
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Agriculture
  1. Francis Thicke
  2. Laura Krouse
  3. Fred Kirschenmann
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Energy
  1. Teresa Galluzo
  2. Joe Jongewaard
  3. Beth Govoni
  4. Dean A. Crist
  5. David Osterberg
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Water
  1. Mary Skopec
  2. Nathan Young
  3. Gene Parken
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Transportation
  1. John Fuller
  2. Stuart Anderson
  3. Paul Hanley
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Immigration
  1. Maureen McCue
  2. Chad Thomas
  3. Rockne Cole
  4. Very Rev. Rudolph T. Juarez
  5. Mark Grey
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM New Media
  1. Rusty Martin
  2. Karen Fesler
  3. Renee Schulte
  4. Rod Sullivan
  5. Caroline J. Tolbert
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Housing
  1. Crissy Canganelli
  2. Bob Dvorsky
  3. Joseph O'Hern
  4. Glenn R. Siders
  5. Jerry Anthony
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Economic Development
  1. Regenia Bailey
  2. Steve Ovel
  3. Mary Lawyer
  4. Greg LeRoy
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Taxes
  1. Ed Wallace
  2. Peter Fisher
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Labor
  1. Jen Sherer
  2. Christine Ralston
  3. Shelley Parbs
  4. Shelton Stromquist
  • Stuart Anderson

    Director, Systems Planning Office Iowa Department of Transportation

    Stuart Anderson has been with the Iowa Department of Transportation for 16 years and is currently Director of the Office of Systems Planning at the Iowa Department of Transportation. The Office of Systems Planning is responsible for long-range multimodal transportation planning and the evaluation of transportation needs and revenues. This included work that led to the establishment of the TIME-21 Fund which will provide additional state funding for public roadway infrastructure in Iowa.

  • Jerry Anthony

    Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Iowa

    Jerry Anthony is an Associate Professor at the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa. He has a Ph.D. in Urban & Regional Planning, an M.A. in Town Planning, and a B.A. in Architecture. He teaches and researches housing policy, land use, smart growth and international planning issues. He was named a HUD Urban Scholar in 2001. His article, “The effect of Florida’s Growth Management Act on housing affordability,” was named one of most outstanding articles published in the Journal of the American Planning Association in 25 years. In 2001, he received the “Excellence in Planning Education” award from the Iowa chapter of the American Planning Association. In 2003 he helped found a non-profit agency, the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, to provide a new and flexible source of finance for affordable housing development in Johnson County, Iowa. From 2005 to 2008, he chaired Iowa City’s Housing & Community Development Commission.

  • Regenia Bailey

    City Council Member, Iowa City

    Regenia Bailey is serving her second term as an Iowa City City Council member. In 2006, Governor Vilsack appointed her to the statewide Vision Iowa board and in 2009, Governor Culver appointed her to serve as Chair for this board. Ms. Bailey is also the founder and principal of the Bailey Leadership Initiative, a group that works to enhance the leadership abilities of individuals and organizations through couching, consulting, teaching and writing. She is alumnus of the Iowa City Area Chamber Leadership Program and was recognized as a ‘Woman of Influence’ by the Corridor Business Journal. She has worked for over twelve years in the not-for-profit sector and was the founding director of the Iowa Women’s Foundation. Ms. Bailey teaches business courses as an adjunct faculty member at Kirkwood Community College, and holds an MBA from The University of Iowa. For more about Ms. Bailey, click here.

  • Dean Baker

    Co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

  • Crissy Canganelli

    Executive Director, Shelter House

    Crissy Canganelli has served as the Executive Director for Shelter House Community Shelter and Transition Services for eleven years. She is a board member and Chair of the Local FEMA Board, an active board member and Co-Chair of the Local Homeless Coordinating Board and a founding and current member of the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County Board. In addition, Ms. Canganelli serves on the Governor-appointed Iowa Council on Homelessness, where she is Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee. She was recognized in 2006 by the Iowa City Human Rights Commission with an award for Individual Leadership Within a Service Organization. Ms Canganelli holds an MA in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa with an emphasis in Housing and Community Development and a BA from the University of Iowa in Economics.

  • Andrew Cannon

    Research Associate, Iowa Policy Project

    Andrew Cannon is a Research Associate in the areas of Economic Opportunity and Budget & Tax at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2001 to provide timely research on policy issues of critical importance to the citizens of Iowa. Mr. Cannon conducts research and analysis for IPP on economic opportunity within Iowa, and how health policy can contribute to Iowans’ economic health. He holds an MA in Public Policy and a BA in English and Political Science from the University of Utah. For more information about Mr. Cannon, click here.

  • Rockne Cole

    Cole & Landra LLP, Iowa City

    Rockne Cole practices law in Iowa City, specializing primarily in criminal law, immigration and civil rights. He holds a BA in Economics from Luther College and a JD with honors from the University of Iowa College of Law. Originally from Decorah, Iowa, Mr. Cole has had an interest in Latin American culture since his first Spanish class in the 9th Grade, and subsequent unsuccessful efforts to learn the salsa. Through study abroad, and his experiences in Latin American Concerns at Luther College, Mr. Cole developed a strong interest in Latin American history, politics, language and culture. This interest led him to a law practice that has included a large number of clients from throughout Latin America, including Columbia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Mr. Cole is a passionate advocate for clients from various Latin American countries, and a frequent speaker on issues affecting recent immigrants.

  • Dean A. Crist

    Vice President of Regulation, MidAmerican Energy Company

    Dean Crist is Vice President of Regulation at MidAmerican Energy Company. Mr. Crist has been with MidAmerican for more than 20 years. His responsibilities include oversight of the regulation and legislative affairs group, input on regulatory and legislative strategies and coordination of ratemaking efforts for the company. Prior to his current position, Mr. Crist was responsible for the financial and operating performance of MidAmerican's generating and transmission assets. He also managed the gas and electric wholesale trading organizations for MidAmerican. Additionally, Mr. Crist serves as a member of the board of managers, Electric Transmission Texas, LLC and vice president of MEHC Texas Transco, LLC. MidAmerican Energy Company provides regulated electric and natural gas service to nearly 1.4 million customers in Iowa and surrounding states. Mr. Crist holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and is a registered professional engineer in Iowa.

  • Peter Damiano

    Director, Public Policy Center Preventive and Community Dentistry University of Iowa

    Peter Damiano is the Director of the Public Policy Center (PPC) and Professor, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at the University of Iowa. He started the health policy research program at the PPC in 1990 and has been Director of the Center since July 2007. He is a health services researcher who investigates issues relating to access to care, quality, cost and outcomes of care. Dr. Damiano has authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and research monographs and has been the principal investigator on over 50 research studies funded by federal, state and Foundation sources. He is a former staff intern in the US Senate, a Robert Wood Johnson Dental Health Services Research Scholar and HRSA Primary Care Policy Fellow. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry (DDS) and UCLA School of Public Health (MPH).

  • Bob Dvorsky

    Iowa State Senator

    Senator Bob Dvorsky is serving his fifth term in the Iowa Senate. He represents Senate District 15, which includes parts of Johnson and Linn counties. He previously served seven years as a State Representative in the Iowa House. Senator Dvorsky is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and also serves on the Education, Rebuild Iowa, and Rules & Administration committees. When not in the Legislature, Senator Dvorsky is an Executive Officer in the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. He holds a BS and MPA from the University of Iowa. Senator Dvorsky serves as the board president for the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County. He also serves on the board of Successful Living and the board of the Community Corrections Improvement Association. In 2007, Senator Dvorsky was awarded the Arthur Neu Award for Exceptional Policy Development by the American Parole & Probation Association. To visit Senator Dvorsky's web page, click here.


  • Karen Fesler

    Republican Activist and Blogger

    Karen Fesler is a local Republican activist and most recently started writing a political blog, “A Reluctant Revolutionary.” Ms. Fesler has been active in local, state, and national political campaigns in both Iowa and in her home state of Missouri. In 2004, she served as the volunteer communications coordinator for the Bush-Cheney campaign. She is past President of the North Liberty Commerce Committee and the North Liberty Development Group, and also served as Chair of the Coralville Parks and Recreation Commission. She and her husband own Fesler’s Inc., a public safety equipment dealer in North Liberty. She has a BS degree in Elementary Education from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

  • Peter Fisher

    Urban and Regional Planning, University of Iowa, Research Director, Iowa Policy Project

    Peter Fisher is professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa and a national expert on public finance. He has served as a consultant to the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the State of Ohio, and the Iowa Business Council. His reports are regularly published in State Tax Notes and refereed journals. His recent book Grading Places: What Do the Business Climate Rankings Really Tell Us? was published by the Economic Policy Institute in 2005. Dr. Fisher is also research director at the Iowa Policy Project. He is directly involved in research, writing and outreach on state tax and budget issues. He has authored or co-authored many of Iowa Fiscal Partnership reports and guest opinions on state tax policy. Dr Fisher holds a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more about Professor Fisher, click here.

  • Lily French

    Research Associate and Outreach Coordinator, Iowa Policy Project

    Lily French joined the Iowa Policy Project (IPP) in 2008. A former policy analyst for the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, she also directed a women's business center in Madison, Wis., before returning to Iowa. Over the past 10 years, she has served as an advisor to state and local government officials on issues of child care, workforce development and microenterprise development. She holds an MSW from the University of Michigan and a BA in Sociology from the University of Iowa. Ms. French’s research for IPP concentrates on policy analysis to advance the economic opportunity of all Iowans. She also coordinates IPP outreach efforts, predominantly around state fiscal and economic policy, with a variety of constituent groups, legislators and others to ensure IPP work is relevant and widely distributed. For more information about Ms. French, click here.

  • John Fuller

    Department of Urban and Regional Planning Department of Economics University of Iowa

    Dr. Fuller has served as a Professor at the University of Iowa in the Urban and Regional Planning Program and in other departments since 1979, teaching courses in transport policy, economics and planning. Prior to that he served on the National Transportation Policy Study Commission and with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. He has been active with various professional organizations including the Transportation Research Board, where he has chaired committees, task forces, and research panels.

  • Teresa Galluzo

    Research Associate, Energy and the Environment, Iowa Policy Project

    Teresa Galluzzo has been a research associate at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP) since 2004. Her work for IPP concentrates on state environmental issues, particularly water and energy issue analysis. She has written reports on the economic advantages of locally owned wind projects, including Wind Power and Schools: Spinning Savings, Propelling Pupils and Creating Community, about 10 pioneering Iowa schools that operate their own wind turbines. She received an MS in environmental studies from the University of Montana and a BS in geography from the University of Iowa. For more information about Ms. Galluzzo, click here.

  • Colin Gordon

    Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Iowa

    Professor Gordon’s research interests focus on public policy and political economy in the United States since 1920. He has published three books in this area, including Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health in Twentieth Century America, which reviews the history of health care policy in the United States during that period. He is also a senior research consultant at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2001 to produce research and analysis to engage Iowans in state policy decisions. He is the author of several IPP reports on health coverage, economic development, and wages and working conditions, including the biennial State of Working Iowa series. Dr. Gordon received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently serving as Chair of the University of Iowa Department of History. To visit Dr. Gordon's web page, click here.

  • Beth Govoni

    Iowa Department of Economic Development

    Beth Govoni is a Project Manager at the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED). At IDED, she works with Joe Jongewaard as part of a team that promotes the state to companies wanting to locate wind-energy manufacturing services in Iowa. Previously, Ms. Govoni worked with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (ICVS) and was a Program Officer for seven AmeriCorps programs throughout the State. She holds MPA and BA degrees from Drake University.

  • Mark Grey

    Department of Sociology, University of Northern Iowa

    Mark A. Grey is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa. He is also the founder and director of the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration (ICILI). The ICILI is an award-winning organization providing training to communities, organizations, and employers on immigrant and refugee issues. Dr. Grey is also Associate Director of the Iowa Center on Health Disparities. He received his PhD in Applied Anthropology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and has published extensively on immigration in the Midwest. His handbooks include New Americans, New Iowans, and Welcoming New Iowans: A Guide for Managers and Supervisors. He recently coauthored Postville USA: Surviving Diversity in Small-Town America. Dr. Grey has won numerous awards for his activities, including the Remington Award, Iowa’s highest award for the promotion of public health, the Iowa Friends of Civil Rights Award, the Iowa Council for International Understanding Vision Award and One Iowa Award. To visit Professor Grey's home page, click here.

  • Paul Hanley

    Director, Transportation Research Program, PPC Urban and Regional Planning Department of Economics University of Iowa

    Paul Hanley is an associate professor holding joint appointments in the Public Policy Center, Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa. Paul is the Director of the Transportation Policy Research Group at the Public Policy Center, Director of the University of Iowa’s Transportation Graduate Studies Program, and Associate Director of the Mid-American Transportation Center. He has more than sixteen years of experience working with federal, state, regional and local transportation and planning agencies. For eight years, he was a transportation planner for a regional Metropolitan Planning Organization in East-central Illinois prior to joining the faculty. His expertise is in the study of the relationships between transportation investments, land use change, and transportation demand.

  • Joe Jongewaard

    Iowa Department of Economic Development

    As a project manager for the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Joe Jongewaard helped five companies that manufacture wind generation equipment choose Iowa locations for their expansions. These companies collectively have committed to creating over 1,500 well paying green collar jobs and over $230 million investment in the state. Mr. Jongewaard received his BS from Iowa State University, where he majored in Economics with an emphasis on workforce development. His public service includes serving as State Administrator for Senator Tom Harkin. He was the coordinator of strategic planning for Des Moines Public Schools $300 million building renovation program and local option sales tax effort. He also worded as the assistant to the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health and was the Outreach Coordinator for Governor Vilsack and Lieutenant Pederson prior to joining the Department of Economic Development.

  • Very Rev. Rudolph T. Juarez

    Pastor, St. Patrick's Church, iowa City

    Rev. Rudolph T. Juárez is pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, adjunct judge on the Marriage Tribunal and Vicar for Spanish-Speaking in the Diocese of Davenport. Fr. Juárez attended St. Ambrose College, the University of Iowa, entered Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies from St. Mary’s University of Texas at San Antonio. He went on to graduate studies in Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and graduated with a Masters of Divinity and was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, at St. Stephen Church, South Bend, Indiana, in 1979. In 1980, he was ordained a priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, and has served parishes in Davenport, Bettendorf, Muscatine and now Iowa City. He subsequently studied at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomaso (the Angelicum) in Rome, where he earned a license in Canon Law.

  • Fred Kirschenmann

    Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center, Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Iowa State University, President, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

    Frederick L. Kirschenmann is a longtime national and international leader in sustainable agriculture. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, and is a professor in the ISU Department of Religion and Philosophy. Dr. Kirschenmann holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and has written extensively about ethics and agriculture. He has served on the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. In 2001, Kirschenmann received the Seventh Generation Research Award from the Center for Rural Affairs for his work in sustainable food and farming systems. He also was named a 2002 Leader of the Year in Agriculture by Progressive Farmer publications. For more information on Dr. Kirschenmann, click here.

  • Tim Kresowik

    Professor, Department of Surgery, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa

    Timothy Kresowik is a professor and physician in the Division of Vascular Surgery within the surgery department at the Carver College of Medicine. He also serves as the president-elect on the board of the Iowa Medical Society, an organization that works to implement medical policy in Iowa. Dr. Kresowik’s research interests include quality improvement in medicine and performance measures for medical and surgical care. He has published widely in journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, the International Journal of Quality Health Care, and the Journal of Vascular Surgery. Dr. Kresowik received an MD from the University of Michigan. To visit Dr. Kresowik's web page, click here.

  • Laura Krouse

    Chair of the Linn County Soil and Water Commission Farmer, Advocate for local food

    Laura Krouse owns Abbe Hills Farm, a 72-acre farm near Mt. Vernon that produces heirloom seed corn and is also home to a 200-family Community Supported Agriculture operation. In 2007, Ms. Krouse was the recipient of the Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture, granted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture to honor those who have contributed to the stability of family farms in Iowa. She was the first single woman named to the award, as well as the first small-market farmer. In the winter, Ms. Krouse provides conservation education to women landowners through a project of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network called "Women Caring for the Land." Laura Krouse is also chair of the Linn Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD). Ms. Krouse holds BS degrees in agronomy and agricultural business from Iowa State University, and an MS in agronomy from the University of Florida.

  • Mary Lawyer

    Director of Business Development, Conlon Construction

    Mary Lawyer is the Director of Business Development for Conlon Construction Company, a Dubuque-based construction firm. Previously, Ms. Lawyer was President of the Des Moines Downtown Community Alliance (DCA), a non-profit organization that works to improve the economic well-being and opportunities in downtown Des Moines. Ms. Lawyer also worked for the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) for more than 16 years, and was appointed IDED director by Governor Tom Vilsack. As director, she collaborated with businesses, communities and legislative leaders to form statewide public policy that improved the economic well-being and quality of life for Iowans. She also served in the workforce development and job training areas both at NIACC and IDED, working on the Job Training Partnership Act, Promise Jobs, Workforce Development Fund and the 260E Program. Ms. Lawyer received a BA degree in business from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa.

  • Kevin Leicht

    Director, Institute for Inequality Studies, Director, Social Science Research Center, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Iowa

    Kevin Leicht is Director of the Institute for Inequality Studies (IIS), which promotes research on the causes and consequences of the myriad forms of social inequality. He also directs the Social Science Research Center (SSRC), an interdisciplinary institution dedicated to furthering social science research and practice across the University of Iowa and developing ways to connect that research to the broader community. As a Professor of Sociology, Dr. Leicht’s interests include the sociology of work, social stratification, and political sociology. His current research examines the development of economic development programs by the U.S. states and the causes and consequences of corporate restructuring. Professor Leicht holds a PhD from Indiana University. To visit Dr. Leicht's web page, click here.


  • Greg LeRoy

    Director, Good Jobs First

    Dubbed “America’s chief whistle-blower” on state and local economic development subsidies, Greg LeRoy directs Good Jobs First, a national resource center promoting accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. Headquartered in Washington, DC, Good Jobs First maintains six websites and three blogs, and provides an average of 75 trainings per year. Mr. LeRoy is the author of The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation (2005) and No More Candy Store: States and Cities Making Job Subsidies Accountable (1994). Through dozens of publications and hundreds of trainings, Mr. LeRoy has made accountability reforms vital to diverse groups of public officials and constituencies who care about sound tax and budget policy, smart growth and mass transit, privatization, living wages, public education finance, Wal-Mart and big-box retailing, and green jobs. Mr. LeRoy holds degrees in journalism and U.S. history.

  • Rusty Martin

    Communications Director, Iowa Senate Democratic Research Staff

    Rusty Martin is the Communications Director for the Iowa Senate Democratic Research Staff and has been employed by the Senate since 1999. With his team of staff and interns, he is responsible for helping senators with constituent communications, including email newsletters, web sites, photos, radio commentaries, and video clips. He also helps plan Senate news conferences and the general advocacy of Senate policy positions. Before coming to work for the Iowa Legislature, he was an elementary teacher and a technology consultant for the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa. Mr. Martin is a former member of the Perry City Council, the executive board of the Legislative Information and Communications State Section of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the executive board of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union and the State Central Committee of the Iowa Democratic Party.

  • Maureen McCue

    International Programs, University of Iowa

    Maureen McCue has traveled and worked extensively as a peacemaker, researcher, and physician, and has helped organize many forums on cross cultural, global health, and refugee health issues. Dr. McCue is the coordinator for the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a founding member and former Director of the University of Iowa Global Health Studies Program, where she remains active on the governing board, and also a founding member and board member of the UI Center for Human Rights. She has regularly interacted with international and domestic representatives of many programs regarding global health issues and has actively participated in numerous peace, health and human rights events in the former Soviet Union, Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador, India and Bangladesh. She is one of the collaborating authors for the recently published Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice by the Vermont Law School.

  • Joseph O'Hern

    Executive Director, Iowa Finance Authority

    Governor Chet Culver named Joe O’Hern Executive Director of the Iowa Finance Authority in December 2009. Mr. O’Hern joined IFA in 2007 as the Director of HousingIowa, and then became Deputy Director in early 2009. Prior to joining IFA, Mr. O’Hern served as a Regional Director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, administering housing and infrastructure programs. He also worked as a Lead Director for Fannie Mae, covering four midwestern states including Iowa. Mr. O’Hern is a native of Barnum, Iowa, and received his BA from Princeton University.


  • David Osterberg

    Clinical Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health University of Iowa

    David Osterberg is a Clinical Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa. He holds a secondary appoint at the UI’s Department of Geography. From 1983‐1998, Professor Osterberg served as a State Representative in the Iowa House of Representatives. During that time he served as the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and as Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection. He later worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Professor Osterberg holds a BA in Economics from Washington State University, and an MA in Economics, an MS in Water Resources Management, and an MS in Agricultural Economics, all from the University of Wisconsin‐Madison. In 2001 he founded the Iowa Policy Project, which produces papers on the Iowa budget, empowerment of low‐income Iowans and improving our environment. His organization has published widely on Iowa environmental issues.

  • Steve Ovel

    Government Relations, Kirkwood Community College

    Steve Ovel serves as Executive Director of Governmental Relations for Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During his 26 years at Kirkwood, he has provided administrative leadership to the areas of development and foundations, community relations, economic development, business and industry training, grants and governmental relations and assistant to the president. Mr. Ovel is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Workforce Development Department and was involved in the redesign of Iowa’s workforce development delivery system in 1996. He has served on the national board of directors of The Workforce Alliance and is a member of TWA’s Priorities Council. He is also a member of AACC’s Workforce Policy Advisory Group. For the past 17 years, he has served the Iowa community college system as a lobbyist before the Iowa Legislature specializing in job training, workforce and economic development, corrections education and telecommunications issues.

  • Shelley Parbs

    President, Hawkeye Labor Council

    Shelley Parbs is President of the Hawkeye Labor Council. In the past she has served the organization as a delegate and executive board member. An employee of Rockwell Collins for over 20 years, she is a member of IBEW Local 1362 in Cedar Rapids and serves as Treasurer of that organization. Labor history has taught her the importance of advocacy for public policy that benefits workers and their families. Ms. Parbs holds a BS in Business from Mount Mercy College. She represents labor as vice-chair of the Regional Workforce Investment Board for Region 10, and is a newly appointed member of the Credit Union Review Board for the State of Iowa.


  • Gene Parken

    Donald E. Bently Professor of Engineering, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Center for Health Effects of Environmental Conditions, University of Iowa

    Gene Parkin is a specialist in environmental biotechnology, particularly in bioremediation. His primary research interest is in using microbial processes to degrade pollutants. Research areas include wetlands treatment of contaminated waters, the role of microbial-reactive mineral interactions in natural attenuation, and the health effects of environmental contamination. Professor Parkin has published widely in journals such as Environmental Science & Technology, and Water Research. He received a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Stanford. To visit Dr. Parkin's home page, click here.

  • Christine Ralston

    Iowa Policy Project

    Christine Ralston is a Research Associate at the Iowa Policy Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2001 to provide timely research on policy issues of critical importance to the citizens of Iowa. Ms. Ralston is co-author of The State of Working Iowa, 2009, with Colin Gordon. She is currently researching medical discount cards, the negative employment effects of not having health insurance, and whether the negative outcomes differ among the standard and nonstandard workforce populations. Ms. Ralston holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice, an MA in Urban and Regional Planning, and a JD from the University of Iowa.

  • Renee Schulte

    Iowa State Representative

    Renee Schulte was elected to the Iowa State House in 2008 as the representative for District 37. In this capacity she works to continue relief for those affected by the 2008 flood, as well as to increase funding for mental health issues. She is a member of the Committees for Education, Human Resources, Judiciary, State Government and the Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriations. Representative Schulte is also a mental health counselor, and an adjunct professor of psychology at Mount Mercy College. She holds a MA in Counseling and Educational Psychology and a BA in Psychology from New Mexico State University. Representative Schulte is a member of the Antioch Christian Church, the Professional Women’s Network and serves on the Board of Directors for the House of Hope.

  • Jen Sherer

    Director, University of Iowa Labor Center

    Jennifer Sherer is Director of the University of Iowa Labor Center, which conducts educational programming for Iowa’s organized workforce. She previously served as president of UE Local 896-COGS (the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students), a Project Staff Organizer for the UE (United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers), and taught as a graduate instructor in the UI Rhetoric and English Departments. She joined the Labor Center in 2002 to work on the Center's Child Labor Public Education Project, part of the UI Child Labor Research Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Ms. Sherer is currently a member and officer of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Local 716, and serves on the boards of the UI Center for Human Rights, the Iowa Policy Project, the UI Occupational Medicine Residency program, and the Labor Studies Journal. She holds PhD and MA degrees from the University of Iowa, and a BA from Oberlin College.

  • Glenn R. Siders

    Vice President of Property Development SouthGate Development Services, LLC

    Glenn Siders is Vice President of Property Development for SouthGate Development Services in Iowa City, where he has over 25 years of experience. Prior to his employment with SouthGate, Mr. Siders served as Senior Building Inspector for the City of Iowa City. In 1982, he was appointed by Governor Ray to the Iowa State Building Code Advisory Council, where he served as chair from 1984-2007. Mr. Siders been a member of the North Liberty City Council, the NL Planning and Zoning Commission, is past chair of the Iowa City Land Development Council and the IC Area Chamber of Commerce, former board member of the IC Area Development Group and the IC Home Builders Association. He is a registered Journeyman with the State of Iowa. In 2009, he was elected as 2nd Vice President to the Home Builders of Iowa State Board. He will serve as President of the Board in 2012

  • Mary Skopec

    Senior Research Scientist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

    Mary Skopec is a senior research scientist for the Water Monitoring and Assessment Section (WMAS) at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Geological Survey Bureau (GSB). Last year Dr. Skopec received the John Wesley Powell Award from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Iowa Water Science Center for research and development in estimating streamflow and water-quality values for any point on a stream entitled, STREAMEST. At the GSB, she has worked on a variety of water quality projects including the development of a statewide database to track pesticide occurrences in Iowa’s water resources. Dr. Skopec currently coordinates the WMAS analyses of data from the statewide Ambient Water Monitoring Program. She also serves as the IOWATER Volunteer Monitoring Program Coordinator. Dr. Skopec earned BS and MA degrees in geography from the University of Iowa, as well as an interdisciplinary PhD in environmental science.

  • Shelton Stromquist

    Department of History, University of Iowa

    Shelton Stromquist works primarily in the fields of U.S. labor and social history. His first book, A Generation of Boomers: The Pattern of Railroad Labor Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America, examined railroad strikes and working-class community in the “era of Great Upheaval.” He is also interested in the transformation of working-class political culture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a University of Iowa Global Scholar, Professor Stromquist has researched the municipal setting of labor and socialist politics in England, Sweden, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Austria. Other interests include the meaning and historical significance of class in American life; the regional processes of class formation (with particular attention to the Midwest); and global patterns of labor mobilization, recruitment and conflict. His interest in Midwest labor reform is reflected in his book Solidarity and Survival: An Oral History of Iowa Labor in the Twentieth Century. Professor Stromquist received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. To visit Professor Stromquist's home page, click here.

  • Rod Sullivan

    Johnson County Board of Supervisors

    Rod Sullivan of Iowa City is a Johnson County Supervisor, first elected in 2004 at the age of 38.


    Rod grew up on a Heritage farm near Sutliff, and attended K-12 in the Lisbon school system. He went to the University of Iowa, earning a BA in 1988. He has held several positions in the field of human services, including 6 years with the Department of Human Services and 6 years as Executive Director of the Arc of Johnson County.


    Rod is married to Dr. Melissa Fath, a Research Scientist at the UI and a volunteer Pharmacist at the Free Medical Clinic. They have 3 adult children and have served as foster parents for another 40+ children.


    Rod has been active volunteering for the Shelter Overflow, United Way, Community Foundation of Johnson County, Affordable Homes Coalition, Coalition for Racial Justice, City High Little Hawks Club, and the Batterer’s Education Program.


    Rod is a member of several community organizations, including: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, Sierra Club, Johnson County Ag Association, Center for Worker Justice, ACLU Hawkeye Chapter, AFT Local 716, and NAMI. He also served 4 years as Chair of the Johnson County Democratic Party.


    Rod feels his biggest accomplishments as a County Supervisor include the passage of several ordinances: Human Rights, Sensitive Areas, Minimum Wage, and Storm Water Management, just to name a few. The passage of the Conservation Bond, kickstarting the 1105 Project, and restoration of the Sutliff Bridge are three proud moments. He is also proud of starting the Livable Community for Successful Aging and Local Foods Policy Boards, along with the County’s first Trails Committee. Rod also points to the Community ID program, rural warning sirens, Free Tax Help program, and investments in sustainability as major accomplishments.

  • Francis Thicke

    Candidate for the Iowa State Secretary of Agriculture

    Francis Thicke is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Iowa secretary of agriculture in 2010. He owns and operates Radiance Dairy in Fairfield, Iowa. Dr. Thicke supports state incentives for farm-scale wind turbines, local control of the location of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and increased state regulation regarding the size of such confinements. He previously served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. as national program leader for soil science. He has also served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission and was appointed to the Iowa Food Policy Council by former Gov. Tom Vilsack. Dr. Thicke holds a PhD in agronomy and soil fertility. He has been a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops in Iowa and across the nation on topics ranging from local food systems and economic development to organic farming practices to sustainable farming. He currently serves on Iowa’s USDA Technical Committee. For more information on Dr. Thicke, click here.

  • Chad Thomas

    West Liberty Mayor

    Chad Thomas was elected Mayor of West Liberty, Iowa, in 2009, after serving first as a City Council Member. He also serves as a part-time Judicial Referee in Johnson County, has a private law practice in West Liberty, and is part owner of a community coffee shop in West Liberty. Being Mayor in West Liberty provides challenges and opportunities; it is a community in which over 50% of the population self-identifies as Hispanic, and this population includes both persons newly arrived as well as families that immigrated to West Liberty generations ago. Although immigration is not a focus of his law practice, Mr. Thomas has volunteered with an immigration agency in Brownsville, Texas, and regularly deals with issues surrounding the role of immigration status in representation of clients and how it can impacts views on and approaches to our justice system. He holds a BA and JD from the University of Iowa.

  • Caroline J. Tolbert

    Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa

    Professor Tolbert’s research interests focus on American politics, especially voting and elections, election reform, state politics, race/ethnicity, and information technology. She is former co-director of the University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll. Dr. Tolbert is the coauthor of a half dozen books and more than thirty articles in scholarly journals. Her books include Virtual Inequality: Beyond the Digital Divide and Digital Citizenship: The Internet Society and Participation. Digital Citizenship was ranked one of 20 best-selling titles in the social sciences by the American Library Association. She is a national expert on direct democracy and coauthor of Educated by Initiative: The Effects of Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organizations in the American States. Her latest book, Why Iowa: How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process (with D. Redlawsk and T. Donovan) examines how we nominate presidents in the United States and ways to reform the process. Dr. Tolbert holds a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. To visit Dr. Tolbert's web page, click here.

  • Ed Wallace

    Iowa Taxpayers Associatioin

    Edward Wallace joined the Iowa Taxpayers Association (ITA) as President in January 2007. He is responsible for the management, membership and legislative agenda of the business tax policy association. ITA is the only statewide organization focused exclusively on promoting a fair, equitable, and competitive tax environment for business. Since 1935, ITA has been at the forefront of nonpartisan business tax policy research, education, and issue advocacy in the state. Prior to joining ITA, Mr. Wallace worked for two years in the area of regulatory compliance with Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, IA. He is also a former staff member for Sen. Charles Grassley in the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in Washington, DC, and for a short time with the U.S. Department of Justice in Des Moines. Mr. Wallace received a BA from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and is currently pursuing a MA in Public Administration from Iowa State University.

  • Nathan Young

    Research Engineer, Iowa Flood Center

    Nathan Young is an Associate Research Engineer at IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering, a senior researcher at the Iowa Flood Center, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa. Professor Young’s research includes application of numerical models in investigation of aquatic habitat, prediction of pollutant fate and transport, and flood simulation. He received his BSE, MS, and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa.


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