Meet the Panorama!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the debut of The Political Panorama!  Our regular issues post shall commence on Sunday, but today we thought that it would be appropriate to introduce you to the blog and the authors that will be contributing to it.  You will also be able to find these intros on our About the Panorama page.

In a period of polarization, respectful discussion of the issues is increasingly difficult to find. There are currently four collaborators on the roster as listed below.

We come from different places geographically, politically, and philosophically and our unique perspectives should add to the discussion. We will each do an individual blog post through the week on an issue of interest. We will end the week with a collaborative post, putting our divergent backgrounds to use and discussing our views on a single issue.

Without further ado:

Troy

I grew up in rural Minnesota and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Raised in a working class family, I learned how to appreciate the more meaningful things in life: family, friends, and the outdoors. In my family, we were never spoon-fed anything but hard work, integrity, and pragmatism. That’s made me who I am today. Aside from politics, I love baseball (Minnesota Twins), music (especially country), and hanging out whether it’s shooting pool over a beer, playing video games, or doing anything outdoors.

After earning my B.S. in Political Science, I took some time off after turning down an offer for law school. Government and public service have long been my passion and I decided there is likely a more fitting route. I spent three years working political campaigns – Texas, North Carolina, but primarily in Minnesota – and working for the Minnesota House of Representatives in a nonpartisan position. All positions required the ability to be objective and check one’s own views at the door. Throughout, I considered a Masters in Public Administration and I began an MPA program August 2009.

My rural Minnesota background – and many people along the way – has shaped my world view. I consider myself progressive, but I am also very pragmatic. My political philosophy tends to be case-by-case rather than ideological. On balance, I tend to be center-left, though my location on the spectrum really depends on the issue and circumstances. My top areas of interest are the environment, foreign policy, and civil/civic rights. My approach to policy tends to revolve around compromise and collaboration rather than “my way or the highway.” I believe all sides to an issue are right, but for different people. In my view, the key is to take the best ideas from all groups while maintaining one’s underlying values.

Douglas

My name is Douglas Williams. I was born and raised in Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia (born in Norfolk and raised in Suffolk). I earned my BA in political science from the University of Minnesota-Morris in December of 2008, and started at the Truman School of Public Affairs in August of 2009.

My background is in politics. My grandmother led the fight to integrate schools in our hometown, and was ultimately successful. My father has worked in the trenches of the labor movement for over 25 years. At the dinner table, politics and unionism were topics of conversation more often than not. This led to me picking up a newspaper every morning from a very early age. I first started working in politics when in was 15, volunteering for Mark Warner’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Virginia in 2001. From there, I ran the Blaine field office for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) in 2004 and ran field operations for the DFL Youth Coordinated Campaign at the University of Minnesota-Morris in 2008, where we achieved record turnout and DFL performance. I was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

My research interests are wide and varied. I am a political junkie, and I love following the little details of a campaign, from gaffes made on the campaign trail to the emotional impact of campaign commercials. However, I also love to get into the thick of policy, dissecting the impacts that pieces of legislation will have on everyday Americans. I am a numbers guy, and that will feature in some of my postings.

My family taught me the values of social justice and fighting for the citizen that cannot fight for themselves, and these are values that I have continued to live my life by. I’m a leftist, and that will be the space that I occupy in the Panorama.

Craig

Hello fellow bloggers or readers!

I am Craig Stevenson, a 2nd year MPA student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I am originally from Rolla, Missouri, where I was born and raised. I have a BA in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. In August of 2009 I married my high school sweetheart who is in the Occupational Therapy program at MU.

Some of my activities and hobbies include running, playing or watching baseball, and playing video games in my spare time. I’m also an avid Cardinals fan and collector of Cardinals memorabilia and baseball cards. As you can see by my political experience, my specialty is Missouri politics. While I’m only 22 years old, I just completed my fourth legislative session in Jefferson City.

I am the Conservative prospective of the blog. In my “career” in Missouri politics, I have served in various roles in both partisan and nonpartisan manners. I have been active in the Missouri Republican Party for several years. I campaigned for President Bush’s reelection in 2004, and the midterm elections in 2006 for Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO). I was involved in the nonpartisan UM System student lobbying organization during the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions. During the 2009 legislative session, I was a part time staff member for State Senator Dan Clemens (R-20). During the 2010 legislative session, I was an intern in for the American Cancer Society’s Government Relations Director. I’m entering my second summer now of working for the Senate Majority Fund for Republicans running for the Missouri Senate, focusing on MO’s 16th and 18th Districts.

Eric

My name is Eric Chambers and I was born and raised in Lakeland, FL just outside of Tampa. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida in Tampa in 2008. In August 2009 I moved to Columbia, MO to start graduate school.

I don’t have much of a political background other than an interest in public discourse and politics. I’m more interested in big picture-type things and much less so in the intricacies of running a campaign or getting elected. I’m probably more of a centrist than some of my colleagues and in general have little regard for rigid ideology.

In another life I would probably be a sports writer or auto mechanic just so I could work around sports or cars. Also, I’m somewhat of a history buff, particularly military histories. Now go read my blog posts you stalker.

Schedule

Sunday – Troy

Monday – Douglas

Tuesday – Eric

Wednesday –This day will be rotated until a fifth contributor joins in June

Thursday – Craig

Friday – All

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