Making Democracy Work

Civics Awareness Series

The League of Women Voters of Wheaton and Cantigny Park presented a three part Civics Awareness program beginning in September. They were held at the Cantigny Park Visitors Center.

Schedule

September 21, 2017News Literacy - Fake or Not? - Register
October 19, 2017Why We Need People to Run for Office - Register.
November 16, 2017Money in Politics: How Much Is Too Much? - Register

News Literacy - Fake or Not?

Description/Summary:

Today's information landscape is the largest and most complex in human history, with more pitfalls and opportunities for consumers than ever before. This session explored these challenges and opportunities by focusing on the proliferation and evolution of various forms of misinformation, and the tools available to combat it. It also underscored some key questions related to the current state of public trust in the news media, and highlighted some of the ways that news literacy can help reestablish trust while also helping consumers know what to believe.

Bio:

Peter Adams is the News Literacy Project's senior vice president for educational programs and is based in Chicago. Peter began his career in education as a classroom teacher in the New York City schools. He has also taught in the Chicago public schools and at Roosevelt University and Chicago City Colleges' Wilbur Wright campus. In addition, he has worked with the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, with After School Matters and as an independent education consultant.

He is a graduate of Indiana University, where he majored in English and African-American studies and co-founded an independent monthly student newspaper, and has a master's degree in the humanities from the University of Chicago.

Why We Need People to Run for Office

Description/Summary: Why do candidates for local offices go unopposed or unfilled? Asst. Professor of Political Science at College of DuPage Mouritsen prepared the audience with the tools to run and win a local election. She outlined the challenges to modern campaigns for offices such as school board and library district and detailed several area elections. She referred to the book Winning Elections, A Handbook in Modern Participatory Politics by Dick Simpson.

Melissa discussed these three questions at the event:

  • Has gerrymandering and redistricting affected potential candidates for office?
  • Is the current political climate encouraging or discouraging people to run for office?
  • Are possible candidates dissuaded by modern campaign techniques that discuss personality rather than policy?

Bio: Melissa Mouritsen is an assistant professor of Political Science at College of DuPage. Previously she taught for four years as an adjunct and visiting professor of political science at Dominican University. She is a former alderman's assistant and building and zoning consultant. She is the co-editor of Twenty-First Century Chicago, and recently co-authored the chapter "The Election of Rahm Emanuel" in Local Politics and Mayoral Elections in the 21st Century: The Keys to City Hall (Routledge). She has also authored many reports on corruption and Chicago City Council.

Money in Politics

Description/Summary:

The cost of Illinois elections is officially on the rise. With a significant number of House and Senate races above $4 million last year, and the Gubernatorial election topping $100 million already, there's never been a more important time to talk about money in politics in our state. Through tools like http://www.illinoissunshine.org, you can learn about who is giving this money, who is receiving it, and how campaign cash really works. This conversation included practical tools for keeping up with the fast-paced world of political money in Illinois, and an extended audience question and answer period so that you can prepare yourself for what's to come in 2018.

Bio

Sarah Brune is the Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit organization advocating government transparency, ethics, and accountability in Illinois. Sarah joined the ICPR team in 2015 as the Deputy Director after serving as the Associate Director for the Uptown Chamber of Commerce on Chicago's north side, where she worked on community organizing and economic development. During her time with ICPR, Sarah has been integral in passing campaign finance reform legislation, hosting civic engagement events for voters, and running ICPR's Illinois Sunshine database. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Communication from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois.

ICPR is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving the voters of Illinois. ICPR's mission is to initiate reforms and promote public participation in government, address the role of money in politics, and encourage integrity, accountability, and transparency in government. ICPR advocates this mission through the use of educational forums, legislative reforms, and technology projects making government data available to the public.