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Nov. 7, 2016

MSU experts can discuss election issues

With the Nov. 8 election fast approaching, MSU has a host of experts who can discuss political issues.

In addition to Barack Obama’s term-limited presidential seat, all 435 positions in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for grabs, as well as 34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats.

Below is a selection of MSU experts on a variety of issues. For more experts, contact Andy Henion, MSU senior media communications manager, at (517) 355-3295, cell (517) 281-6949 or


Matt Grossmann, associate professor of political science, can discuss the candidates, political parties (especially Democratic/Republican differences and the role of ideology and interest groups in each party), television advertising and candidate messages, campaign consultants and strategy, and negativity. Grossmann also directs MSU's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and its State of the State Survey, which was the only poll to essentially predict the outcome of the Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton battle in Michigan. Grossmann can be reached at (517) 355-7655 or

Corwin Smidt, associate professor of political science, studies American electoral politics, presidential primaries, the political news media, campaign politics and dynamics in American political behavior. A seminal study by Smidt suggested the American swing voter has largely become a thing of the past. He can be reached at 517-353-3292 or

Will Repko, MSU's head debate coach, can discuss presidential and vice presidential debates, including the candidates' performances, debating styles and the significance of the debates on the election. Repko can be reached at (517) 202-0178 or

Camilia Suleiman, a linguist and the academic director of MSU’s Arabic Flagship Program, can discuss politicians’ use of language about race and gender throughout their campaigns. Suleiman can be reached at (517) 884-4320 or

Benjamin Kleinerman, associate professor in MSU’s James Madison College, can discuss national political issues, especially those centering on the constitutional relations between Congress and the president. He can be reached at (517) 432-1579 or

Curtis Stokes, professor of political theory and constitutional democracy in James Madison College, can discuss black and racial politics in the United States. Stokes can be reached at (517) 353-9296 or

Robert Kolt, instructor in MSU’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations, is a veteran of many political campaigns and elections and is especially adept at commenting on political advertising and debate analysis. Kolt can be reached at (517) 355-2314 or


Tomas Hult, Byington Endowed Chair and director of MSU’s International Business Center, can discuss how the U.S. election could affect the global economy. Specifically, he can offer expertise on international policy, trade agreement, global leadership, international trade, U.S. international competitiveness and general international business issues. Hult can be reached at (517) 353-4336 or

Lisa Cook, associate professor of economics and international relations, spent the 2011-12 academic year on President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisers, focusing on international economics and science and innovation. She can discuss the U.S. economy and markets, the Michigan economy, consumer behavior, global markets and innovation and intellectual property. Cook can be reached at (517) 432-7106 or

Charles Ballard is professor of economics and director of MSU’s quarterly State of the State Survey. Nationally recognized as a leading authority on the Michigan economy, Ballard can speak to everything from unemployment to consumer confidence to the approval ratings of state and national political leaders. Ballard can be reached at (517) 353-2961 and


Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science, can discuss education policy and the candidates’ positions on education. Reckhow can be reached at (517) 432-0028 or


Russell Lucas, director of MSU’s Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities and associate professor of Arab studies, is an expert on U.S.-Middle East relations and Arabic culture. He can comment on the differences between candidates in regards to the United States’ involvement in Middle Eastern affairs as well as on how those positions are viewed by different groups in the Middle East.
“U.S. foreign policy is heavily involved in the Middle East and debates over those policies are already part of the election campaign.”
Lucas can be reached at (517) 353-8848 or

Matt Zierler, associate professor of international relations in James Madison College, can discuss foreign policy and international issues related to the election, including implications for diplomacy, defense posture and identification of potential threats like ISIS and Russia. He can also discuss the Iran nuclear deal. Zierler can be reached at (517) 432-8300 or

Michael Colaresi, professor of political science, can speak to issues of secrecy and intelligence in democracies, domestic support for and opposition to international cooperation and conflict, and the role of militias and paramilitary forces in civil conflicts. Colaresi can be reached at (517) 353-3281 or


William Strampel, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, can discuss health care reform, the impact this reform can have on health care insurance premiums and Medicaid. Strampel can be reached at (517) 355-9616 or

Len Fleck, professor of philosophy, can discuss health care justice and policy, as well as medical ethics in today’s health system. This includes what he considers the “ethical virtue” of the Affordable Care Act. He can also address controversial issues of ethics and public policy related to emerging genetic technologies. Previously, Fleck was a member of the Clinton administration’s Health Care Reform Task Force. Fleck can be reached at (517) 355-7552 or

Rhonda Conner-Warren, assistant professor of health programs in the College of Nursing and pediatric nurse practitioner, can further weigh in on the vaccination debate and the importance of delivering care to improve children’s health.
“I have witnessed the sicknesses, hospitalizations and deaths of children who did not receive immunizations for health issues such as whooping cough, certain types of pneumonia and the flu. The loss of a child from these preventable illnesses is unacceptable.”
Conner-Warren can be reached at (517) 355-4719 or


David Thronson, professor in the College of Law’s Immigration Law Clinic, can discuss candidates’ proposed immigration policies, as well as immigration reform efforts. Thronson can be reached at (517) 432-6916 or

Steven Gold, professor of sociology, is an expert on immigrants and migration, including immigrant entrepreneurs and ethnic community development in the United States. He has studied the self-employment patterns of immigrants from Russia, Vietnam, Israel and other regions around the world, as well as women immigrants. Gold can be reached at (517) 353-6352 or


Aaron McCright, associate professor of sociology, can discuss the political ramifications of climate change. McCright’s research shows that political party identification plays a large role in determining global warming beliefs. People who identify as Republican tend to doubt the existence of global warming, while Democrats generally believe in it. McCright can be reached at (517) 432-8026 or