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Virtual Conversation: Preserving Democracy through Civil Discourse

February 24, 2022 12:00 pm – 1:00 p, MT

In a survey of five mountain states, including Idaho, fewer than one in ten adults reported a very favorable view of the federal government and Congress, with just one in ten reporting a lot of confidence in the federal government and Congress to act in the best interest of the public. Half of those surveyed saying “concerned” best describes their views on the health of democracy in the United States.

These attitudes, coupled with the 80% of those surveyed reporting they believe Americans with different political viewpoints have a difficult time talking to one another about politics, indicate the state of our democracy is tenuous.

Civil discourse on political systems is fundamental to a healthy democracy. City Club is committed to this idea, and works to bring people together to hear diverse viewpoints by creating spaces where conversations happen. Please join us for a virtual forum about this study, and the Democracy Project, an initiative of the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University.

The Frank Church Institute at Boise State conducted the “Perceptions of Democracy” survey between September 24 and October 26 of 2021. Researchers polled 1,899 adults in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming to find out how they feel about the state of democracy in America, perceptions on common ground, media and misinformation, the 2020 election and views on the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

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Rod Gramer is president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education. Previously he was a reporter and editor for the Idaho Statesman; and Executive News Director for KTVB in Boise and television news executive for stations in Portland, OR and Tampa, FL. He co-authored “Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church.” He represents Idaho on the Education Commission of the States and Chairs the WAMI Idaho Advisory Board for the University of Washington. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho.

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Dr. Jen Schneider is Professor in the School of Public Service and serves as Interim Associate Dean. Her research addresses challenges in the public communication of scientific and environmental controversies, with a particular focus on industry rhetoric and discourses of technical expertise. She teaches courses on the Philosophy of Social Inquiry, U.S. Energy Policy, Science and Environmental Communication, Qualitative Methods, and Science, Technology, and Society (STS). Previously she was an Associate Professor at the Colorado School of Mines. She received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, and a B.A. in French from the College of Idaho.

Vanessa Fry

Dr. Vanessa Fry is the Interim Director of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute where she leads research. She also serves as Associate Research Professor in the School of Public Service where she leads the MPA Capstone. In addition, she is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco where she received her MBA in Sustainable Management. She holds a BA in Biology from Wittenberg University and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.