Public Policy in Iowa Forums - Fall 2017

Thursday, November 30th, 2017 6:30 PM
American Flag

This series of public forums are jointly sponsored by the Public Policly Center’s Social and Education Policy Research Program and the Big Ideas course, Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America.

Each of these panel discussions are free and open to the public (see details below), and all take place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 26: Education Policy in Iowa - Room 107, English & Philosophy Building (EPB)

Tuesday, October 17: Work and Wages: Labor Market Policy in Iowa - Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A

Tuesday, November 7: Anti-Poverty Policy in Iowa - Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A

Thursday, November 30: Managing Risk in Iowa - Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A


Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Education Policy in Iowa - Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America, Fall 2017 Series
  1. Kingsley Botchway
  2. Mary Mascher
  3. Thomas A. Mayes
  4. Art Tate
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Work and Wages: Labor Market Policy in Iowa - Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America, Fall 2017 Series
  1. Joe Bolkcom
  2. Jesse Case
  3. Mazahir Salih
  4. Jennifer Sherer
  5. Rod Sullivan
Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Anti-Poverty Policy in Iowa - Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America, Fall 2017 Series
  1. Sarah Benson Witry
  2. Tracy Hightshoe
  3. Rachel Lehmann
  4. Wendy Rickman
  5. Irvin Rodriguez
Thursday, November 30th, 2017
Session Details Speakers
6:30 PM Managing Risk in Iowa - Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America, Fall 2017 Series
  1. Rebecca Bucklin
  2. Natalia Espina
  3. Dr. Eleanor Lisa Lavadie-Gomez
  4. Barbara Vinograde
  • Sarah Benson Witry

    Food Bank and Emergency Assistance Director, Crisis Center of Johnson County

  • Joe Bolkcom

    State Senator, Iowa District 43

    Joe Bolkcom is a State Senator for Iowa District 43, and assistant majority leader of the State Senate.

  • Kingsley Botchway

    Director of Equity and Engagement, Iowa City Community School District

  • Rebecca Bucklin

    Health Equity Advancement Lab (HEAL) coordinator, UI College of Public Health

  • Jesse Case

    Teamsters Local 238

    Jesse Case is a labor organizer for Teamsters Local 238, and for the Teamsters Community Action Network (TeamCAN).

  • Natalia Espina

    Healthy Kids Health Clinic

    Natalia Espina is a proud long-time Iowa City resident and Chilean immigrant advocate and activist. She emigrated from Chile to the U.S. as a toddler in the early 1980's and has been working with underserved populations in and around the Iowa City area since 2007. She became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 2015.


    Natalia is employed as the Program Manager for the Healthy Kids School-based Health Clinic, a free clinic based out of the Iowa City Community School District which serves the primary and mental healthcare needs of uninsured and underinsured youth in Johnson County. She’s deeply committed to community volunteerism, engagement and strives to live in a collective and compassionate world. She strives at working within new environments and seeks constant challenge in order to be well and grow. She enjoys a balance of independence and collaboration with others.


    In early 2017 Natalia and a team of area activists created a non profit called the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project. She serves as the board of director's community engagement chair. The project’s mission is to provide bail funds to Eastern Iowa’s vulnerable immigrant neighbors so they may access due process within our immigration justice system. The project believes in family unity for all and that socioeconomic status should not be a barrier to accessing due process. She also co-led the Iowa City Community School District's support for immigrant students initiatives which began in November 2016. Natalia's past volunteer highlights were as Local Foods Connection board member, interpreter at New Iowans Legal Advice Clinic, retail clerk at the Iowa City Bike Library, and interpreter at Free Medical Clinic.


    She has her B.A. In Spanish and Communication studies and a certificate in Non Profit Management. She’s looking to seek her Master's in public policy or social innovation with a focus on the intersections of education, immigration, and health. She’s community engagement chair for LULAC Council 308 and a member of 5224Good’s philanthropic giving circle.

  • Tracy Hightshoe

    Interim Director, City of Iowa City Neighborhood and Development Services, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, City of Iowa City Neighborhood and Development Services

  • Dr. Eleanor Lisa Lavadie-Gomez

    University of Iowa Clinics, American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates

  • Rachel Lehmann

    Case Manager, Shelter House

  • Mary Mascher

    Iowa House of Representatives, District 86

    Mary Mascher is serving her 10th term in the Iowa House of Representatives.  She is an Assistant Minority Leader.  She also serves on the Administration and Rules, Education, Labor, International Relations and State Government committees.


    Mary graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972 and, has since earned a master’s degree in counseling education from the University of Iowa and worked as a counselor at Roosevelt Elementary. After teaching for 33 years in the Iowa City schools, Mary retired in June of 2009.


    Mary has been very active in her community. She helped organize the first girls’ softball league in Iowa City and served on its board of directors. Since 1988 she has sung and acted in numerous productions of the Iowa City Community Theater, and also served on their board of directors.  She has been a member of the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Commission, the Iowa City Riverfront Commission, and was president of the Iowa City Education Association. From 1992-1997 Mary served on the State Sesquicentennial Commission.


    In 1994, Mary was elected to the Iowa House where she has been an advocate for women, children and families.  Mary serves on the State Reading Recovery Advisory Board and Executive Committee.  She was appointed by Governor Vilsack to the State Council on Continuous Improvement of Educational Excellence.


    Mary has received numerous honors/awards for her service and leadership.  A few are listed below:

    • 1996 – Iowa Counseling Associations’ Legislator of the Year Award
    • 1999 - National Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Friend of Education
    • 2003 – Girl Scouts of Mississippi Valley – Growing Strong Award
    • 2010 – Corridor Business Journal – Women of Influence Award
    • 2011 – Heritage Agency on Aging – Outstanding Elected Public Official
    • 2012 – Iowa Physician’s Assistant Society – Outstanding Leadership Award
    • 2013 – Iowa Pride Network – Roger Wendt Education Award

  • Thomas A. Mayes

    Attorney II, Iowa Department of Education Division of Learning and Results

    Thomas A. Mayes is an attorney with the Iowa Department of Education’s Division of Learning and Results, where he advises the department on education law and policy and provides information on education law to Iowa’s parents and educators. Before joining the Department, he was a staff attorney for the Iowa Court of Appeals, a staff attorney in Iowa Legal Aid’s Waterloo office, and law clerk to Justice James H. Carter of the Supreme Court of Iowa. He is a member of the National Council of State Education Attorneys, the Iowa State Bar Association, and the National Association of Counsel for Children. He was appointed by Chief Justice Marsha Ternus to the state’s Children’s Justice State Council and is a board-certified Child Welfare Law Specialist.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University; his law degree, with highest distinction, from The University of Iowa College of Law; and a master’s degree in education leadership from Lehigh University.

  • Wendy Rickman

    Administrator, Division of Adult, Children & Family Services, Iowa Department of Human Services

    Wendy Rickman has been employed with DHS since 1987. Since beginning her employment with DHS, Wendy has served as an abuse assessor, ongoing case manager, service administrator for Scott County, and a service area manager for the Davenport and the Des Moines service areas. Wendy is currently serving as the Division Administrator for the Division of Adult Children and Family Services. This division is responsible for policy development in the areas of Medicaid eligibility, Child Care, FIP, Food Assistance and all of the Child Welfare and Dependent Adult abuse eligibility policies. 

    Wendy graduated from Carroll College in 1981 with a BA degree in sociology, from the University of Iowa in 1996 with a MSW, and is currently licensed at the independent social work level with the State of Iowa.

  • Irvin Rodriguez

    VISTA, Shelter House

  • Mazahir Salih

    Eastern Iowa Center for Worker Justice

    Mazahir Salih is the past president and current organizer for the Eastern Iowa Center for Worker Justice, and is a candidate for Iowa City City Council.

  • Jennifer Sherer

    University of Iowa Labor Center

    Jennifer Sherer directs the University of Iowa Labor Center.

  • Rod Sullivan

    Johnson County Board of Supervisors

    Rod Sullivan serves on the current Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

  • Art Tate

    Superintendent, Davenport Community Schools

  • Barbara Vinograde

    Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Leslie Gannon at (319) 335-6817 or