Edgar Speaker Series to teach students about politics

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

Students and faculty interested in politics will get a chance to talk about the upcoming 2016 presidential campaigns as a part of the Edgar Speaker Series at 7 p.m. Thursday in Buzzard Hall Auditorium.

David Yepsen, the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, will be talking about the presidential election campaigns and the upcoming Iowa Caucuses.

The Edgar Speaker Series was started with support from former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar and his wife Brenda, who both went to Eastern.

Richard Wandling, the chair of the political science department, said the Edgar Speakers committee chooses speakers for the series.

Wandling said Yepsen is a well-known journalist with years of experience.

As a political reporter for the Des Moines register, Yepsen has covered nine presidential caucus campaigns.

Wandling said it is important for students to have as much information as possible, and the event would be fun for students who follow politics on a daily basis.

“The greater impact is for the student who is just starting to pay attention to politics both state level and nationally,” Wandling said.

Wandling said he could remember presentations he went to as an undergraduate student that stuck with him, which had a life-long impact.

Wandling said it was his understanding that Edgar would be at the speech.

Edgar has spoken for the speaker series before.

Wandling said Edgar was a reasonable speaker and it was good for students to have the opportunity to hear from a former governor of Illinois, especially one who has not served any jail time.

“He’s a very civic-minded individual,” Wandling said. “He’s definitely a source of wisdom and expertise.”

This is the second time Yepsen has come to Eastern to give a speech.

“It will be fun to be back and come talk to students,” Yepsen said.

In previous speeches, he has spoken about Illinois politics, issues and reform.

In his speech this Thursday, he will discuss more national topics such as how he sees the presidential races so far.

Yepsen said both sides are searching for what they will stand for in the future.

“It’s about how far to the left do democrats want to go, and how far to the right to republicans want to be,” Yepsen said.

Yepsen said it was telling that both parties have outsider candidates that are doing well, while traditional parties candidates are struggling.

“People want change, something new,” Yepsen said. “Something different from what they’ve had.”

Yepsen has spoken with the former governor and called Edgar a true statesman.

“The governor (Edgar) looks better and better with each passing successor,” Yepsen said.

Yepsen said he speaks to the former governor about politics.

“Both of us are interested in students and higher education, “Yepsen said.

While at campus, Yepsen hopes to get people involved in politics and even public service.

“Part of what we have to do is encourage people to roll up their sleeves, get in the arena, and get to work,” Yepsen said. “It’s not going to get any better if people walk away from problems.”

Yepsen said the talk would be good for political junkies and there will be a question part of the lecture.

“That’s the best part,” Yepsen said. “I like questions.”


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]