Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Today’s political climate is energized, at times in a polarizing way. At 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, at UNC Charlotte Center City, a community conversation will consider how to channel this energy into meaningful political participation at the local level.

During “Talking Policy in the Queen City: Managing Conventions, Elections and Mobilizing Voters,” UNC Charlotte scholars and local leaders will give short talks and facilitate informal dialogue. This event is free and open to the public.

“Although political conflict can sometimes seem overwhelming these days, it also plays a vital role in engaging the public, informing them of important public policy debates and drawing them to the polls,” said Cherie Maestas, director of UNC Charlotte’s Public Policy Program. “Cities and counties are at the front lines of democracy. Their policies for managing high-conflict political moments shape how citizens feel about government and their sense of having a voice in the political process.”

The first panel will look toward 2020, when Charlotte will host the Republican National Convention. Eric Heberlig, professor of political science, will serve as moderator, with panelists Suzanne Leland, professor of political science, and Charlotte City Attorney Robert Hagemann, who will discuss lessons learned from the 2016 Democratic National Convention and describe strategies to effectively manage security and potential conflict in 2020. Heberlig and Leland are co-authors of “American Cities and the Politics of Party Conventions.”

In the second panel, Elizabeth Goodwin, co-founder of “We’re the Future, We Vote,” a nonpartisan mobilization organization, will talk about mobilizing voters in the Charlotte region. Martha Kropf, author of “Institutions and the Right to Vote in America” and professor of political science, will join Mecklenburg County Board of Elections Director Michael Dickerson to consider the challenges of administering elections to ensure all who are eligible are able to vote and citizens feel counted as they exercise their right to vote. Mary Jo Shepherd, author of “Campaign Finance Complexity: Before Campaigning Retain an Attorney” and lecturer in political science, will moderate.

To encourage conversation and networking, the event will include short breaks between the panels, during which light snacks will be available. Information about UNC Charlotte’s Public Policy Program, which offers a Ph.D. program in Public Policy; the Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration Program; and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, a nonpartisan, applied research and community outreach institute; will be available.

While the event is free, registration is required. Parking passes will be provided to those who register. Funding for this event was provided by the Marshall A. Rauch Endowment, the Public Policy Program, the Master of Public Administration Program, the Urban Institute and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, all at UNC Charlotte.