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Former Congressmen to Take Questions on the American Divide

10/27/2021 2:49 pm

Town Hall will Focus on Role of Congress During This Time of Deep Division in America

Rockford, Ill.: Two former U.S. representatives will participate in a town hall at Rockford University to discuss the role of Congress during difficult and divisive times in America.

The open-format dialog will feature special guests, including former Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and former Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI).

The town hall is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 3rd at Rockford University’s Fisher Chapel. The forum is free and open to the public and will help answer questions about Congress’ role in America, if and how it reflects the country’s divisions, and if Congress can help resolve those problems. The discussion also will include insight on whether citizens can do anything to mend America’s challenge while also reflecting on media’s role in these times.

The program is being co-hosted by Rockford University, the Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University (IWAT), Rockford Public Library, and Rockford Chamber of Commerce, and US Association of Former Members of Congress (Congress to Campus program).

Loebsack is a former political science professor at Cornell College in Iowa. He was elected in 2007 after unseating a 30-year incumbent. He served on the committee on armed forces, subcommittee on personnel and readiness, and the committee on education. He is professor emeritus at Cornell College and continues to lecture and write.

Ribble was employed at his family’s roofing business when he won a three-way primary and unseated an incumbent in the 2010 election. He served on the transportation and infrastructure committee, as well as the foreign affairs committee, serving on the subcommittees on emerging threats and terrorism, and non-proliferation. He is the president of the National Roofing Contractors Association. He teaches leadership to officers from all military branches at annual conferences at the Army War College.

Former Congressman Don Manzullo will moderate the event with Catherine Forslund, the chair of the Historical and International Studies Department and Director of the Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University.

“Our hope is that through healthy discussion and the sharing of ideas, all can play a small part in lowering the vitriol that is dividing America,” said Forslund.

“Attending this town hall is one step we can all take toward that common mission,” added Manzullo.

Sponsors of the event are Chartwell Agency; Bergstrom, Inc.; Bachrodt Auto Mall; Advanced Machine and Engineering Co.; Hennig, Inc.; Northwest Bank of Rockford; Rockford Linear Actuation, Inc.; Blackhawk Bank; Savant Wealth Management; and Illinois Bank and Trust.

About the Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University (IWAT)

The Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University is a non-partisan, public-policy organization dedicated to exploring domestic and international issues and their impact at a local level.

For more information, contact Dr. Catherine Forslund at or Don Manzullo at