So many people are running, or considering a run, for the White House in 2020 that's it's difficult to keep them all straight, much less know what they stand for.
But in less than a year - on Feb. 3, 2020 - Iowa residents will be invited to attend the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses to help decide who will be the presidential nominees from both parties.
To help with decision-making, St. Ambrose University, the Quad-City Times and the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce will once again host a series of panel interviews to help the public get to know the candidates.
Declared candidates who are running credible campaigns in Iowa will be invited to forums on the St. Ambrose campus, although no dates nor the number of events have been set.
The format will consist of introductions, and then questions important to the Quad-Cities, Iowa, the nation and higher education posed by a panel of staffers from the Quad-City Times and Dispatch-Argus and a St. Ambrose student journalist.
Members of the audience also will have an opportunity to ask questions, and candidates will have time to make their case directly to the audience.
Times Editorial Page Editor Ed Tibbetts will moderate each discussion.
Titled "Leading the Nation - Iowa 2020," the forums follow the "Quad-Cities New Ideas Forum" series that introduced more than a dozen 2016 presidential candidates to area caucus-goers three years ago.
St. Ambrose does not endorse any political platform, party or candidate, but believes respectful debate about the issues vital to our nation is useful and necessary.
"No matter what kind of degree our students are pursuing, we believe the nearly year-long Iowa caucus campaigns provide a valuable real-time lesson in civics and political science," Sister Joan Lescinksi, St. Ambrose president, said.
"We hope these experiences will make them active, involved and life-enriching citizens beyond their college careers."
Matt Christensen, executive editor of the Quad-City Times and Dispatch-Argus, said the question-and-answer format will help the newspapers provide their readers the opportunity to make informed decisions as they prepare to caucus.
"Hosting these forums gives our community the chance to hear from someone who could be the next president of the United States. We're honored to partner with St. Ambrose and the chamber to deliver the kind of access and insight into candidates not afforded to most Americans."
Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Paul Rumler said that while his organization also does not endorse candidates, platforms or parties, the chamber supports the forums because it believes an informed and engaged community is in the best interest of its membership.
"We know that Quad-Cities Chamber members find value in hearing from candidates on their positions, and how that could affect their business and our region," Rumler said.
Forums will be scheduled based on candidate interest and availability. They will be announced at qctimes.com and through the official social media channels of both the Times and St. Ambrose University.
For more information, contact Ed Tibbetts at 563-383-2320 or Craig DeVrieze at 563-333-6294.