The Center for Politics and the People at Ripon College was established to promote constructive political debate by informing students, the community and citizens concerned with good governance in politics and public policy.
The center is located in Ripon, Wisconsin – the historic birthplace of the Republican party, women’s suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt, and the National Forensic League. Together, the town and the College have had significant influence over the past century and a half with thousands of its citizens and students contributing to public service.
Today, Ripon College alumni serve in every branch of government, and in many other roles that shape politics and public policy at the international, national, state and local levels. The College’s courses and programs nurture future leaders during their undergraduate experience. Since 1941 the College has also served as the host site for Badger Boys State, a unique weeklong experiential public affairs program for more than 800 Wisconsin high school students to learn about the civic process.
The Center for Politics and the People at Ripon College sponsors scholarship and host special events, featuring elected officials and policy makers, high-level campaign operatives, academic experts, journalists, prognosticators and citizens representing a broad spectrum of political views. The center also helps to manage the College’s annual Career Discovery Tour to Washington, D.C., and to place students in internships.
A lead gift to fund start-up costs for the center was donated by Ripon College Trustee William MacLeod ’73, partner at Kelley Drye & Warren law firm and a former bureau director at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Summer/Fall 2014 Events
Republican Primary Debate for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District
The four Republican candidates for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District appeared at Ripon College for a primary debate, Friday, August 1. Sen. Joe Leibham of Sheboygan, Sen. Glenn Grothman of Campbellsport, Rep. Duey Stroebel of Cedarburg, and Mr. Tom Denow of Oshkosh participated. Long-time Congressman Tom Petri announced his retirement after serving 18 terms of office in Washington D.C.
Date: Friday, August 1, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. Location: Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
Sept. 17: Constitution Day Featuring Justice Michael Gableman
Justice Michael J. Gableman was elected to a 10-year term in 2008.
Justice Gableman was born in West Allis, Wis. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ripon College in 1988, and his law degree from Hamline University School of Law in 1993.
Prior to his election to the Court, Justice Gableman served as the circuit court judge for Burnett County. He was appointed to the Burnett County Circuit Court in 2002 by then-Gov. Scott McCallum, and elected in 2003.
Justice Gableman also has served as an administrative law judge for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, district attorney for Ashland County, assistant district attorney for Marathon and Langlade counties, assistant corporation counsel in Forest County, and has worked in private practice. In addition, he served on the State Court/Tribal Court Relations Committee and the Judicial Council.
His current term expires July 31, 2018.
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Location: Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
Oct. 1: Mark Harris, Democratic nominee for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District
Mark Harris, the Democratic nominee for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union.
Harris practiced law and worked as a trust officer in Indianapolis, Indiana, for several years before moving to Wisconsin. He worked as a trust officer and vice president of Associated Trust Company from 1995 through 2005, when he was elected County Executive of Winnebago County.
He is running against Glenn Grothman, Republican Assistant Majority Leader of the Wisconsin Senate.
Date:Wednesday, October 1, 2014 Location: Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
Nov. 24: “What is the New Center at Ripon College?” with special guest Congressman Tom Petri
Officials from the Center for Politics and the People will share their vision for the new center and upcoming programming. They will be joined by retiring U.S. Representative Tom Petri. Rep. Petri will reflect on his 35-year career in Congress and will discuss his views on civic engagement.
Date: Monday, November 24, 2014 Location:Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union Time:4:30 p.m.
Spring 2014 Events
The Center for Politics and the People launched with a series of three events in spring 2014:
Gail Gitcho ’01, communications director for the Republican Governors Association Brandon Lorenz ’02, regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee April 3, 2014 Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
The center’s first event featured Gail Gitcho ’01, the former communications director of the Romney/Ryan presidential campaign and currently communications director for the Republican Governors Association (RGA). She was joined by Brandon Lorenz ’02, the regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The event will be moderated by President Messitte, a political scientist. Gitcho and Lorenz, both graduates of the College, shared their journeys from Ripon to Washington, D.C., and discussed key aspects of the upcoming 2014 and 2016 elections. The event took place on Thursday, April 3 from 7 to 8 p.m. in Great Hall of Harwood Memorial Union. To RSVP for this event, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 920-748-8126 or email@example.com.
Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee April 25, 2014 Time: 7 to 8 p.m. Location: Heritage Room, S.N. Pickard Commons
Tom Barrett is the current Mayor of Milwaukee, serving in this post since 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party and has served in a number of positions, including the Wisconsin State Assembly, the Wisconsin State Senate, and the United State House of Representatives from Wisconsin’s 5th congressional district. He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin in 2010 and in the 2012 recall election.
Ron Johnson, United States Senator for Wisconsin May 2, 2014: 4:15 p.m. Location: Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
Ron Johnson, the senior United States Senator for Wisconsin and a member of the Republican Party, provided the capstone address for the Center for Politics and the People on May 2, 2014. The 2010 U.S. Senate campaign was Johnson’s first run for elective office. Prior to Johnson’s election to the Senate, he was chief executive officer of PACUR, LLC, a polyester and plastics manufacturer in Oshkosh, Wis.
Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District Republican Debate
The Center for Politics and the People at Ripon College was created to promote constructive political debate, analyze public policy, and foster the engagement of citizens and their government. Inspired by the principles of the American founders and the legacies of our great leaders, the Center will create a forum for dialogue, research, analysis, and dissemination of ideas about local, state, national and international issues. Policymakers, academics, experts, candidates and politicians will present and defend their ideas and solutions for the benefit of the country, people, and community. Students will learn how to pursue careers in politics and government. The electorate will find scholarly, accessible and relevant research that connects political thought and effective governance.
Lamont Colucci, Ph.D. Interim Director firstname.lastname@example.org 920-748-8736
Christian Ertel Assistant to Director email@example.com 920-207-2124