The University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center is holding a forum on political discussion tomorrow on the campus in Iowa City. Center director,
Peter Damiano, says they held a similar forum before the last Iowa Caucuses and decided to do it again. The forum focuses on redistricting, campaign finance laws, and how the media report on politics.
“We chose those topics because those are areas in which many believe the discourse or lack of discourse — depending on what you want to believe is going on — are really being affected by those three topics,” Damiano says. Iowa is held up as a model for redistricting, as Damiano says it’s one of just a few states which use a bipartisan approach.
“That really takes the partisan nature of, whoever controls the state legislature for example, in terms of doing it. And it creates districts that are more balanced than in many places where they are particularly districted to either keep out certain groups of people or have large concentrations so there’s not as many as in other places,” Damiano explains.
He says the campaign finance debate has gone on for years and is fueled more recently by the Supreme Court ruling on it. He says some believe the “Citizens United” case in the Supreme Court is the worst thing in history, while others believe it’s the right thing to do and money is part of being able to share information and your points of view.
Damiano says the media reporting on politics has changed as more and more media sources have come into the picture. “There are many people that believe that now with all the many sources of media that you can have, allows you to basically put your head in a bucket and just continue to hear the same thing over and over and reinforce what your views were originally. Others would say it really gives you now the ability to really have information from across the spectrum. Where in the old days you one newspaper in your town and had a particular perspective and that is what you received,” Damiano says.
He says this forum will be of interest to people in a lot of areas. “By bringing 12 experts in from around the country, it really provides an opportunity for people locally, be we will also put this information on our website and we will have all of it available on video so people across the state can have this information shared with them,” Damiano says.
The forum is from 8:30 p.m. Friday until 4:45 p.m. in the Old Capitol Museum Senate Chambers.