In Search of Civility: A Community Forum Discussion with Q & A
Event: Public forum about civil discourse
Sponsor: Wyoming Rising – Northwest
Time/date: 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24
Featuring panelists Senator Al Simpson, former Governor Mike Sullivan, Mayor Nancy Tia Brown, School Board Chair Dossie Overfield with moderator Hon. Steve Cranfill.
A stellar lineup will lead a free, public forum to encourage civil discourse Sunday, Sept. 24, in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
“In Search of Civility” will feature a panel discussion by four retired, elected leaders: U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, Gov. Mike Sullivan, Cody Mayor Nancy Tia Brown and Cody School Board Chair Dossie Overfield. The Hon. Steve Cranfill will moderate the event from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Coe Auditorium, A question and answer session will follow introductions and opening remarks. The event is sponsored by Wyoming Rising – Northwest, a nonprofit group dedicated to promote civility in politics, educate voters and elected officials on the issues, and work towards better government.
“It’s a timely subject that’s on the mind of many, and I’m happy to be a part of the program,” Cranfill
said. Wyoming Rising – Northwest is an outgrowth of the Jan. 21 march in Cody City Park, when more than
500 adults and children from northern Wyoming and southern Montana gathered in solidarity with sister
marches nation- and worldwide, said Harriet Bloom-Wilson, the group’s CEO. Their attendance showed
concern that the country must move beyond the vitriol and divisiveness of the 2016 presidential election.
“Our over-arching goal is the promotion of civil discourse, with the hopes of finding common ground
among citizens and encouraging dialogue among politicians,” she said. “To that end, we’re hosting the
forum where leaders with proven records will share their experiences and their insight.”
Simpson served as a U.S. Senator from 1978-96 and as a member of the state legislature, 1965-77. Sullivan served two terms, 1987-95, as Wyoming Governor andnsubsequently two years as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, 1999-2001. Cody mayor for two terms, 2008-16, Brown had also served six years on the Cody School Board, 1998- 2000 and 2002-06. Overfield spent 12 years on the school board, 2002-14, eight as chairman. Cranfill
retired this summer as 5th Judicial District Court Judge after eight years. His prior elected office was state
representative for Washakie County, 1975-78.
“We’re honored that five such distinguished leaders will meet with community members, listen to their
concerns and respond to their questions,” Bloom-Wilson said. “We hope the outcome will be a commitment to work together, to listen to each other and to communicate respectfully. We all love our country and recognize that an involved, informed electorate committed to civil dialogue is imperative to her future.”
The idea for the event germinated last spring during a meeting of the Community Outreach group, one of
six subcommittees of Wyoming Rising – Northwest. Initially, Bloom-Wilson explained, the plan was to
show “Reviving Civility in Politics … is it possible?” that aired in fall 2016, a Wyoming PBS program featuring a conversation between Simpson and Sullivan, moderated by the Hon. Marilyn Kite.
Since the political scene has changed so much since then, however, the subcommittee decided to change
the format and sponsor a panel discussion. Those planning to attend the forum are encouraged to watch
the PBS show, which is available online, and come with written questions for the panelists. At the forum,
writing materials will be provided for people to submit questions before and during the event.
“This occasion should generate some lively discussions among the panelists and some engaged participation by the audience,” Bloom-Wilson said.”
This program is coordinated by the Community Outreach Committee of Wyoming Rising–Northwest.