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Feb. 3 , 2005
CONTACT: Cheryl Moore

Congress to Campus program gives EMU students glimpse inside politics

YPSILANTIIn the aftermath of November’s presidential election, some politically active Americans were bitterly divided into categories of “red” and “blue.” But the two political parties will blend those colors together in a program sponsored by Eastern Michigan University’s political science department.

Former congressmen Michael Forbes (D-N.Y.) and Dan Miller (R-Fla.) will visit EMU Feb. 3-4 as part of the second Congress to Campus program. The program gives students and the university community the opportunity to get the “real deal” from politicians, while also helping students to get involved in public service. 

“It (Congress to Campus) is a wonderful opportunity to dispel any myths they may have about politicians; to probe the motivation of those called to public service and, hopefully, to become excited about the opportunities in a free, democratic society to champion issues important to this great nation,” Forbes said.

The two-day event begins Feb. 3 with the former congressmen giving a breakfast presentation to a “Learning in Retirement” group at St. Joseph’s Hospital and continues with several sessions for different groups within the EMU community and surrounding communities.

The sessions include:

A “Politics and the Media” session Feb. 3, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. for several journalism and communication classes. The session provides an insider look at careers in politics.  This event is free and open to the public. 

A public forum Feb. 3, 4:30 p.m., at Sponberg Theater in the Quirk Building. The former U.S. representatives will discuss several issues, including Iraq, the economy, Social Security and education. Rhonda Kinney Longworth and Ed Sidlow, EMU political science professors, will mediate. This event is free and open to the public.

A community forum for local residents and government leaders Feb. 4, 3-5 p.m., at Haab’s Restaurant, 18 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti.

In addition, Forbes and Miller will conduct classroom-style discussions with different EMU classes Feb. 3-4 and sit down for a congressional breakfast with local high school students Feb. 4.

“This is not the standard “textbook” version of the political process; this is the real story from those who were on the inside during some of Congress’s most tumultuous years,” said Jeff Bernstein, assistant professor of political science and EMU’s Congress to Campus program coordinator.

Forbes is president of the PR/Strategies International, a national governmental and public relations firm with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. He served three terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1994-2000.  As a member of Congress, Forbes served on the House Appropriations Committee. There, he successfully advocated increased funding for cancer research, environmental clean-up, safe and affordable childcare facilities, improved transportation and small business assistance.

Miller represented the 13th Congressional District of Florida from 1992-2002. Before his election, Miller was a professor at several universities, including Louisiana State University, Georgia State University and the University of South Florida’s campus in Sarasota. He opposed corporate welfare and the increasing reach of the federal government. Miller is currently a professor at the University of South Florida.

“The goal of Congress to Campus is to bridge the gap between academia and the real world of politics and public service, and to encourage young people to enter public service,” Miller said. “The word ‘politician’ is not a dirty word and the overwhelming number of men and women who enter public service are sincere and committed for the better good of all mankind.”

Last year, Congress to Campus visited 20 universities and aims to double that number for 2005. Congress to Campus is sponsored by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship (CDC) at the Council for Excellence in Government, the Stennis Center and the United States Association of Former Members of Congress. 

For more information about individual events and sessions, contact Jeff Bernstein at 487.6970 or Jeffrey.bernstein@emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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