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The Foley Institute Coffee & Politics Series


The Institute’s flagship public affairs series brings elected officials, policy makers, and public commentators to campus to speak with students, faculty, and community members in an informal setting.


Upcoming Events


Previous Events


Wednesday, September 19th | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: Polling in the midterms

 On Wednesday, September 19, Dr. Stuart Elway discussed details of poll results in Washington for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Elway, the founder and owner of Elway Research Inc., explained a potential shift in the Eastern side of the state from Republican-leaning to Democratic-leaning. His data showed that politics in Washington has become increasingly polarized, with a clear partisan divide between counties on either side of the state, divided by the so-called Cascade Curtain.

He highlighted the fifth, eighth and fourth Congressional District races, which are closer than in recent years, but it was unclear whether this was leading to a “blue wave”. However, demographic changes in the state will likely lead to more redistricting after the next census, with increased numbers of Washingtonians living in the cities, which could lead to a greater divide between the urban and rural parts of the state.


Monday, September 17th | 12:00 p.m. | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee and Politics: 5th District Candidate Town Hall

 On Monday September 17th Lisa Brown returned to WSU to discuss her campaign for the 5th congressional district. Brown addressed an audience of students, faculty, and community members on the current state of inefficiency in Congress and how she hopes to improve it should she be elected to replace incumbent Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers.

Following her address, Brown took questions from the audience on topics ranging from ecological protective measures to gun control reform. Brown put particular emphasis on her passion for reforming university funding and confronting the student debt crisis. She cited her experience coming from a lower-income household and the opportunities that a Pell grant afforded her, and noting that such federally funded aid is increasingly hard to come by. Brown finished her talk by urging her supporters to speak on her behalf and participate fully in the electoral process by watching or attending upcoming debates.


Tuesday, March 6| 12:00 | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee & Politics: Steve Bannon and the far-right danger

  Joan Braune is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Gonzaga University. She is author of Erich Fromm’s Revolutionary Hope (2014) and is currently writing a new book on Steve Bannon’s ideology and the U.S. alt-right.

Wednesday, Feb. 7| 12:00 | Foley Speaker’s Room

Coffee & Politics: Trump and Evangelical America

  Matthew Sutton is the Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor, the Graduate Studies Director in WSU’s Department of History, and a Guggenheim Fellow. His recent book American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism (Harvard University Press, 2014) was named a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title of 2015” by the American Library Association. View more.



hugh-spitzerHugh Spitzer is professor of law at the University of Washington, and the foremost scholar on the state constitution. In recent years, the Washington State Supreme Court has issued several constitutional decisions that have shaped state politics. Among the decisions are striking down tax limitation initiatives and requiring the state legislature to spend more on public education. See flier here.



Join outgoing Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark for a discussion surrounding the challenges facing Washington’s natural landscapes, and the impact of climate change.




Mary Fairhurst

Mary Fairhurst has been serving as a Justice on the Washington State Supreme Court since 2003. Justice Fairhurst will discuss the interrelationships between the Supreme Court and the other branches of government in Washington State, as well as the work that justices do on the court. See flier here. 



Cornell Clayton is the Director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute and Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy. His work focuses on constitutional law, political discourse, and civility in American politics.



travis-ridoutTravis Ridout is Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy. He specializes in political communication, media, and political behavior. See flier here.




Population growth, increasing demand for energy and climate change are creating an unstable trajectory for water consumption. Edward P. Weber is the Ulysses Dubach Professor of Political Science at Oregon State University. See flier here.




Dr. Annemarie Walter is a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. She will discuss the effects of negative attacks on voter turnout and skepticism and whether Europe is beginning to adopt American styles of negative campaigning.




Miro Haček is a professor of political science at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He will discussing the crisis in Europe: Refugees, the EU, and contentious politics. See flier here. 




Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction, will discuss education issues in Washington including school funding, the common core, and charter schools. See flier here.



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