Sep. 11, 2012

Political Observers to Size Up Races Leading Up to Election Day


GENESEO, N.Y. - Two well-known media figures -- both Geneseo graduates -- will join the chair of SUNY Geneseo's political science and international relations department Sept. 19 for an on-campus forum to examine how national and local races are shaping up for the general election Nov. 6.

Curt Smith, a 1973 Geneseo alumnus, Karen DeWitt, a 1982 Geneseo alumna, and political science and international relations chair Jeff Koch will share their observations during the forum, "Countdown to Election Day: How the Races Stand," at 2:30 p.m. in Newton Hall 204. The event is free and open to the public. Geneseo Associate Provost David Gordon will be moderator.

DeWitt is Capitol bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York state operated by WXXI in Rochester. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990. She also is a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York state government, "New York Now." She appears on the reporter's roundtable segment and interviews newsmakers.

DeWitt previously worked for WINS radio in New York City. She is the past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Legislative Correspondents Association. She also was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women's Press Club of New York state.

Smith is well-known political observer, commentator, columnist, author and college lecturer. He joined the University of Rochester faculty in 1999, where he teaches public speaking and presidential rhetoric, focusing on how U.S. presidents communicate through language and delivery. Smith wrote more speeches than anyone for President George H.W. Bush.

Smith has authored 15 books, most recently "Mercy! A Celebration of Fenway Park's Centennial Told Through Red Sox Radio and TV." Raised in Upstate New York, Smith was a Gannett reporter and a senior editor for "The Saturday Evening Post" before joining the Bush White House in 1989.

Koch has been chair of Geneseo's Department of Political Science and International Relations since 2003. He came to Geneseo in 1989 after serving as a visiting assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside. He earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan.

Koch's areas of expertise are public opinion and American elections and has published widely on those topics. During the 2002-03 academic year, he served as a Fulbright lecturer in American politics at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.


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