Ex-senator Feingold first in Fall 2012 Friday Forum series

Ex-senator Feingold first in Fall 2012 Friday Forum series

CHAMPAIGN — Russ Feingold, a former U.S. senator from Wisconsin, will launch the University YMCA's Friday Forum series next month.

The Fall 2012 Friday Forum Lecture Series, "Beyond the Rhetoric: Key Issues in the 2012 Elections" will feature several speakers who will share their views on policy questions and shed light on local, state, and national races as they unfold. Focusing on larger trends beyond the candidates' qualifications, the series will look into current debates between diverse sociopolitical and socioeconomic sectors of the American public, according to the University YMCA.

All lectures are free and will be held at noon Fridays at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., C.

The first talk, on Sept. 14, will feature Feingold, founder of Progressives United and author of "While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era."

Other talks planned include the following:

— Sept. 21: "Everybody Registered: Fighting Back Against the War on Voting." Dan Johnson-Weinberger, lobbyist, election attorney and adjunct professor of law at John Marshall Law School.

— Sept. 28: "Beyond Green Jobs: Environmental Policy and Politics." Union of Concerned Scientists, Midwest Office.

— Oct. 5: "Setting the Record Straight: Preserving Social Security & Medicare." Barbara Franklin, president, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans.

— Oct. 12: "Bodies and Votes: Women's Health Justice Under Electoral Pressure." Pam Sutherland, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

— Oct. 19: "The Fight for Campaign Finance Reform in Illinois." David Morrison, deputy director of Illinois Coalition for Political Reform.

— Oct. 26: "Define American: Immigration in the 2012 Election." Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder, Define American.

— Nov. 2: "The Future of the Universal Healthcare Debate." Claudia Lennhoff, executive director of Champaign County Healthcare Consumers.