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National Agenda


The University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication presents National Agenda 2016: Road to the Presidency, featuring a wide variety of speakers discussing issues surrounding the Presidential Election. The speaker series is free and open to the public, held on select Wednesday evenings in Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware's Newark campus, 7:30 to 9 pm. Please click here for information about directions and parking. National Agenda is made possible by generous support from the William P. Frank Foundation of Delaware and the University of Delaware's Office of the Provost and the College of Arts and Sciences.

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UD’s Center for Political Communication National Agenda 2015 program, “Race in America,” generated thought-provoking and civil dialogue about race in America at a time when campuses across the nation are struggling with the discussion. The program encouraged students, staff, faculty, and community members to join the conversation, and we are working on a project to continue the dialogue at UD. The Director of National Agenda is Dr. Lindsay Hoffman, who teaches Communication and Political Science, and is the CPC’s Associate Director.

To view previous National Agenda presentations, please visit the University of Delaware National Agenda YouTube Channel.

September 7, at 7:30pm, Mitchell Hall: Journalists Domenico Montanaro and Sam Sanders, NPR News

​Sam Sanders and Domenico Montanaro speak with Dr. Lindsay Hoffman on Sept. 7, 2016.

UD alumnus Domenico Montanaro (AS '01) is National Public Radio's lead editor for politics and digital audiences. Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. Sam Sanders is a reporter for NPR's Washington desk and also cohosts the NPR Politics podcast. See the entire conversation here and read about it in UDaily.

September 21, at 7:30pm, Mitchell Hall: Comedian and writer, Ashley Black, "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"

​Ashley Black speaks with Dr. Lindsay Hoffman on Sept. 21, 2016.

Ashley Black is a writer on TBS's Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and a regular at The Second City in Hollywood. She says her life's work is to use comedy to promote empathy. See the entire conversation here and read about it in UDaily.

October 5, at 7:30pm, Mitchell Hall: Author D. Watkins

​D. Watkins addresses the audience at the University of Delaware October 5, 2016.

D. Watkins is the recent author of two books detailing life as an African-American man growing up in Baltimore. His debut Watkins is a columnist for Salon, a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. book,The Beast Side, offers a critique about racial inequality in America. His most recent book, The Cook Up, is a "crack rock memoir" that offers a riveting look at the Baltimore drug trade featured in The Wire.

Watkins is a columnist and Editor-at-Large for Salon, a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project.

See the entire conversation here and read about it in UDaily and The Review.

October 19: Delaware Debates

Gubernatorial candidates John Carney (left) and Colin Bonini answer questions from the panel during the 2016 Delaware Debates.

UDaily published the following article by Ann Manser, with photo by Duane Perry, on October 20, 2016. See the gubernatorial debate here and the congressional debate here.

Candidates in Delaware's congressional and gubernatorial races met at the University of Delaware’s Mitchell Hall on Wednesday evening, Oct. 19, for Delaware Debates 2016, a joint initiative of UD’s Center for Political Communication and Delaware Public Media. The debates were held in Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware's Newark campus.

The back-to-back debates featured the major-party candidates for governor and for Delaware’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During both debates, candidates characterized this year’s campaign season in Delaware as issues-oriented and civil, often in stark contrast to the tone of the 2016 presidential race.

“The Delaware candidates for governor and the U.S. House rose to the occasion by sticking to the issues and offering substantive answers to the in-depth questions posed by the panelists,” moderator Nancy Karibjanian, director of the CPC, said after the event. 

The event opened with the gubernatorial debate, which brought together current U.S. Rep. John Carney — a Democrat who is not seeking re-election to his congressional seat — and Republican State Sen. Colin Bonini. The debate was recorded and will air at a later date on C-SPAN.

Bonini and Carney answered questions from Karibjanian and from panelists Lindsay Hoffman, associate professor of communication and of political science and international relations and associate director of the CPC, and James Dawson, political reporter for Delaware Public Media. 

Topics included policies for boosting economic and job growth in Delaware, improving public education, reducing gun violence in Wilmington, addressing climate change and sea-level rise and setting spending priorities in the state budget.

In addition to questions from the panelists, the debate format allowed students at UD and Delaware State University to ask questions via video and members of the public to submit questions online. Those questions raised such topics as legalization of marijuana, the death penalty and initiatives to fight cancer and improve the lives of patients and survivors.

The second debate featured congressional candidates Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, and Republican Hans Reigle answering questions posed by Dawson, Karibjanian and David Redlawsk, the James R. Soles Professor of Political Science and International Relations at UD.

Questions from the panelists included issues of income inequality, global trade, the national debt and federal spending, immigration and border security, gun rights, the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and gridlock in Congress.

In response to questions from students and the public, Reigle and Rochester discussed such topics as climate change, infrastructure and college affordability.

The event marked the fourth biennial Delaware Debates, an initiative that began in 2010. Karibjanian said the project has been successful in promoting civic engagement.

“Months of planning and collaboration go into the debates, and it is source of pride for the Center for Political Communication that they provide a tremendous public service to the people of Delaware as they prepare to make their decisions on Election Day,” she said. 

November 2, at 7:30pm, Mitchell Hall: Former Governor of Maryland Bob Ehrlich

The Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. is senior counsel in the Government Advocacy and Public Policy practice group at King & Spalding. He advises clients on a broad array of policy matters and their interactions with the federal government. Having served as Governor, U.S. Congressman, state legislator, and civil litigator, he counsels clients on an array of government matters, with particular expertise in health care, finance, and economic development. He recently released a book titled,Turning Point: Picking Up the Pieces after Eight Years of Failed Progressive Politics, which will be available for purchase.

See the entire conversation here.

November 16, at 7:30pm, Mitchell Hall: Election Aftermath Panel Discussion

​Clockwise from left: David Plouffe (via Skype), Jennifer Palmieri, Director Lindsay Hoffman, Kim Alfano, and Chris Russell

The Center for Political Communication hosted an election aftermath panel discussion, featuring nationally recognized campaign experts.

UD alumnus David Plouffe (AS '10) famously ran Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns. He is now senior vice president of policy and strategy at Uber.

Jennifer Palmieri was the communications director for Hillary for America. As communications director for the Obama Administration, she helped craft Obama’s political strategy after the 2014 midterm elections. This was the first appearance by a Clinton Campaign staffer after the Nov. 8 Election.

Kim Alfano is president and CEO of Alfano Communications and a partner is Red America Blue America Research. She is one of the country’s leading Republican media strategists.

Chris Russell is an award-winning political strategist for Republican candidates on the local, county, state legislative and congressional level in New Jersey. He also assists corporate clients with public referendum campaigns, and he is an expert in direct mail campaigns.

See the entire conversation here and read about it in UDaily.

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National Agenda
  • Center for Political Communication
  • 190A Graham Hall, 111 Academy Street
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-7771