Ford School, CLOSUP, and Michigan Radio co-host election town hall meeting

October 15, 2008
Experts in the environment, energy and economics joined with advocates for the two major presidential campaigns at the University of Michigan on Oct. 14 to discuss the positions of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama and how each candidate's policies will impact the state of Michigan.

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Professors Carl Simon and John J.H. "Joe" Schwarz joined three other panelists in addressing each candidate's campaign positions on issues including tax policy, energy independence, carbon emissions, a national urban agenda, the decline of the auto industry and the future of Michigan's economy. Simon, also a professor of Mathematics and Economics at the University of Michigan, served as the panel's energy expert while Schwarz, a physician, former U.S. Congressman and Ford School lecturer, served as a surrogate for the McCain campaign. Schwarz, a former political ally and friend to McCain, led McCain's successful 2000 presidential primary campaign in Michigan.

Joining Simon and Schwarz as panelists were University of Michigan Law and Natural Resources & Environment Professor Ted Parson, Michigan State University Economics faculty member and author Charles L. Ballard, and Michigan Democratic Chair Mark Brewer. The forum was moderated by Jack Lessenberry, senior political analyst at WUOM-FM, full-time Journalism faculty at Wayne State University, and contributing editor and columnist for The Metro Times, The Traverse-City Record Eagle, The Toledo (Ohio) Blade.

Organized to address each candidate's positions on energy, the environment and the economy, the panel discussion focused on policy-based questions from Lessenberry and the audience.

"Everyone always complains, including me, that campaigns today are too much about personalities and who's ahead in the polls—the horse race—and not enough about the issues that really matter," Lessenberry said while introducing the panelists. "Tonight, we are going to try to remedy that a little bit and try to look at the issues as they involve these major areas, and especially as they pertain to Michigan. We are going to try to establish where things stand in Michigan and where the two major party candidates stand with respect to issues involving energy, the economy and the environment."

Broadcast live on Michigan Radio and Michigan Television, the panel discussion may be viewed online here and