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In response to recent political turmoil in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in collaboration with Common Cause in Wisconsin will host a public forum titled “What Ever Happened to Good Government in Wisconsin? And How Can We Fix It?”

A bipartisan panel, including State Senator Jessica King and State Representative Richard Spanbauer, will discuss 2011 developments, from the adoption of a state voter ID bill, to the influence of special interest money and the future of Wisconsin politics. The panel also includes UW Oshkosh professors James Simmons, political science, and Tony Palmeri, communication.

The forum will be held Monday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Reeve Memorial Union Ballroom 227C.

The event is being presented by Common Cause, a non-partisan advocacy organization that has been conducting similar forums throughout the state for the past five years, including one at UW Oshkosh in February of 2008. The event is co-sponsored by the UW Oshkosh Political Science Student Association, UW Oshkosh American Democracy Project, UW Oshkosh College Democrats, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund, League of Women Voters of Winnebago County, American Association of University Women – WI, American Association of University Women – Oshkosh Branch and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans.

Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said the 2008 event had such a great response that the organization decided to return to UW Oshkosh for more “lively political discussion.”

Heck said the forum is intended to educate and inform citizens by encouraging an open dialogue with the bipartisan panel members.

Students and local community members are encouraged to openly discuss the issues, share their opinions and ask questions regarding any aspect of Wisconsin government and the changes that have taken place throughout 2011.

“Wisconsin once had a reputation of being one of the best models of state government and for being one of the cleanest, most honest states that others wanted to emulate,” Heck said. “I would argue that’s no longer the case, and that we’ve fallen to a place where very nasty partisan politics have taken over.”

Heck said he thinks holding the event on campus is one of the best ways to engage community members and students alike.

“The community is invigorated by the enthusiasm of students, so having the forum on campus brings in more viewpoints than would otherwise be present,” Heck said.

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