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U of M Humphrey School fall events series features top issues of 2012 election season

September 4, 2012

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs kicks off its fall events series Wednesday, Sept. 5, just as the 2012 election season heats up.

The series will convene lively dialogues across the top political and policy issues of the day, from health and medical care to immigration. Keynote speakers include policymakers, D.C. insiders and nationally prominent professors.

The events are free and open to the public, but online registration is preferred. The Sept. 5, 11, 20 and 28 events will take place in Cowles Auditorium, located at 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, on the U of M’s West Bank campus. The Sept. 21 event will take place in the 3M Auditorium at the U’s Carlson School of Management, 321 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, also on the West Bank campus. Parking for a fee may be available at the university’s 19th Avenue and 21st Avenue parking ramps.

Event highlights are as follows:

“Putting Health First: A New Approach” – Wednesday, Sept. 5 from 12 to 1:30 p.m., with Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, Rep. Jim Abeler and Dr. Penny Wheeler

Improving health and medical care along with moderating cost has been a commitment of Minnesota businesses, medical providers and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. This effort has contributed to Minnesota's extraordinary national record for innovation. Minnesota DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson proposes to build on the state’s strong track record by taking new steps to improve health and to continue health reform while also encouraging payment reform.

“American Elections: Is 2012 the Year of the Woman?” – Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 12 to 1:15 p.m., with Jennifer Lawless of American University

A nationally recognized expert on women's involvement in politics, Jennifer Lawless is an associate professor at American University in Washington, D.C. Women voters may be the swing vote that decides congressional and presidential elections in 2012, but the number of women in elected office and running for office is likely to remain small and out of whack with the proportion of men. Why is this, and does it matter?

“Making Sense of Immigration” – Thursday, Sept. 20 from 12 to 1:15 p.m., with Doug Massey of Princeton University

The issue of immigration has spawned strong emotions and political posturing that often obscures the real issues. A leading expert on immigration, Doug Massey, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University, will spell out the reality of immigration and shed light on what works and what doesn't.

“Update from Washington, D.C.” – Friday, Sept. 21 from 12 to 1:15 p.m., with former congressman Vin Weber, now with Mercury/Clark & Weinstock

Vin Weber is managing partner of government relations firm Mercury/Clark & Weinstock in Washington, D.C., where he provides strategic advice to institutions with matters before the legislative and executive branches of the Federal government. Weber will offer his insights and viewpoints of the upcoming fall 2012 election and the current political climate in Washington.

“Deception and Distraction in the 2012 Presidential Campaign” – Friday, Sept. 28 from 12 to 1:15 p.m., with Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the University of Pennsylvania

How much of what you hear on the campaign trail should you trust? Not much, according to a leading campaign analyst, Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Professor of communication and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Jamieson will dissect patterns of deception in the Romney and Obama campaigns. She also will propose steps to minimize the impact of misleading claims on voters.

To register for events and learn more, visit

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG) at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs develops practical, independent and non-partisan solutions to pressing political and policy challenges. Founded in 2005, CSPG fosters effective and efficient governance, increases the transparency of government processes and rebuilds the public trust in order to counteract negative influences that threaten our democracy. For more information, visit


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