As the nation again looks to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses to begin the process of vetting candidates for the White House, St. Ambrose University, the Quad-City Times and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce will partner to host a series of panel interviews with interested caucus candidates from across the political spectrum.

“Leading the Nation — Iowa 2020” will invite declared candidates who are running credible campaigns in Iowa to participate in public forums on the St. Ambrose campus. Each forum will feature questions from a panel featuring an SAU student journalist and members of the news staffs of the Quad-City Times and Dispatch/Argus.

Times Editorial Page Editor Ed Tibbetts will moderate each discussion.

All forums will be open to the public and credentialed news media.

The first part of the forums will feature introductions, and then a series of questions from journalists on issues important to the U.S., Iowa, the Quad-Cities and higher education.

Candidates will have the remainder of the session to directly make their case to an audience that also will be given an opportunity to ask questions.

“Leading the Nation — Iowa 2020” follows the successful “Quad-Cities New Ideas Forum” series that introduced more than a dozen 2016 presidential candidates to area caucus-goers. That series also was sponsored by St. Ambrose, the Quad-City Times and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

St. Ambrose does not endorse any political platform, party or candidate, but believes respectful debate about the issues vital to our nation is useful and necessary.

“We are eager again to bring the electoral process to campus and allow our students an opportunity to participate or to simply listen and observe,” said Sister Joan Lescinksi, CSJ, PhD, president of St. Ambrose. “A St. Ambrose education is about experiencing processes, exploring possibilities and questioning ideas and positions, both their own and those of others.

“No matter what kind of degree our students are pursuing, we believe the nearly year-long Iowa caucus campaigns provide a valuable real-time lesson in civics and political science. We hope these experiences will make them active, involved and life-enriching citizens beyond their college careers.”

Matt Christensen, executive editor of the Quad-City Times and Dispatch-Argus, said the "Leading the Nation - Iowa 2020" Q&A format will help the newspapers provide their readers the opportunity to make informed decisions as they prepare to caucus for a candidate of their choice on Feb. 3, 2020. "Hosting these forums gives our community the chance to hear from someone who could be the next president of the United States. We're honored to partner with St. Ambrose and the chamber to deliver the kind of access and insight into candidates not afforded to most Americans."   

Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Paul Rumler said that while his organization also does not endorse candidates, platforms or parties, the Chamber supports the “Leading the Nation” series because it believes an informed and engaged community is in the best interest of its membership.

“We know that Quad Cities Chamber members find value in hearing from candidates on their positions, and how that could affect their business and our region,” Rumler said. “Being on the forefront of the national stage for the next presidential election allows Quad Cities businesses first-hand insight on issues that matter to them.”

“Leading the Nation — Iowa 2020” forums will be scheduled based on candidate interest and availability. Scheduled events will be announced in advance at and through the official social media channels of both the Times and St. Ambrose University.

For additional information, contact Ed Tibbetts at (563) 383-2320 or Craig DeVrieze at (563) 333-6294.

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