Democratic National Convention Tip Sheet – Colorado State Experts on Politics in the West and Election Hot Topics

As the election season continues and Colorado prepares for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Colorado State University has experts available to discuss a variety of topics related to politics and issues that are going to be discussed throughout the election process. Following is a list of faculty members intended for reporter use only and not for publication.


John Straayer, professor of political science, has more than 40 years experience researching and teaching Colorado politics, and for more than 25 years, he has supervised Colorado State’s internship program at the Colorado state Capitol. Straayer can speak on the presidential campaigns, state candidate races, ballot initiatives and referenda and Colorado political history. To speak with Straayer, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Robert J. Duffy is a professor of political science. Duffy’s research and interests include American politics, with particular emphasis on elections, interest groups and energy policy. He has followed the presidential campaign closely. Duffy’s research has included topics relating to campaign finance, including the role of independent spending in federal elections. He is also interested in environmental politics and policy issues. To speak with Duffy, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Kyle L. Saunders is associate professor of political science. Saunders’ studies and interests include American politics, with particular emphases on public opinion, political behavior, U.S. and Colorado elections, public policy – particularly election administration and energy policy – political parties and political methodology. Saunders’ research has included topics relating to election administration, ideological polarization of the electorate, campaign finance and political parties, electoral politics, and citizen participation and efficacy. To speak with Saunders, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Bill Chaloupka, professor of political science, has also taught and studied in Montana, New Mexico and Arizona, and has been observing the politics of Colorado and the rural West for more than 30 years. Chaloupka can speak about electoral politics and political histories. He also studies environmental politics in the West and in the United States. To speak with Chaloupka, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Scott T. Moore is an associate professor of political science. He has observed Colorado’s politics for more than 20 years. He specializes in state and local politics, public administration, and he has recently focused his research on Colorado tax politics and the state’s citizen-initiated financial policies. To speak with Moore, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or


Martin Shields is regional economist and associate professor of economics. His primary research focuses on regional competitiveness in global markets and the effects of economic growth on income distribution. Shields also provides quarterly forecasts and commentary for the northern Colorado and Colorado economies. To reach Shields, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Stephan Weiler is a professor of economics and research associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts, and founding co-director of the university’s Center for Research on the Colorado Economy. His current work focuses on regional economic growth and development, particularly in struggling rural areas, combining theoretical, empirical, and policy analyses in topics such as geographic informational asymmetries, public/private partnerships, industrial restructuring, housing, immigration, entrepreneurship and the environment. To speak with Weiler, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Dawn Thilmany, professor in Colorado State University’s department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, has spearheaded an effort to gauge the impact of "agritourism" – or touring agricultural areas of the state from wine country to farmer’s markets. The most recent study showed that Colorado attracted more than 13 million visitors who experienced agritourism resulting in $2.2 billion in economic benefit to the state.  Dawn is also an expert on organic products and consumer motivations and perceptions of organics. For more information or to schedule an interview with Dawn, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Steven Laposa, director of the Everitt Real Estate Center, can talk about the U.S. real estate crisis. He brings 26 years of project management, real estate development and research experience throughout the United States, as well as international experience in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia. He has worked as a consultant involved with emerging trends in real estate, as an expert witness in property litigation cases, and on the applied use of statistical modeling in real estate investment and business strategy issues. To speak with Laposa, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

With a struggling economy, many more people are relying on food stamps to feed themselves and their family, and it’s no secret the good nutrition helps protect health, therefore keeping the workforce well and children alert and attending school. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has a nationally recognized food stamp education program that helps food stamp recipients learn how to maximize their food stamp benefits by getting items with the best nutritional quality for their family. The extensive program, which includes bilingual efforts and programs designed specifically to keep children interested in healthy food choices, serves as a model for other states. To speak with an expert on the program, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or DellRae.Moellenberg@ColoState.EDU.


The population of America is aging, and with the shift toward an older population there are a host of issues for families and communities. The graying of America raises questions about government policies, and on an individual level, it raises questions about physical fitness, family structures, social relationships, sandwich generations, mental health and support and quality of life for the aging. Manfred Diehl, the director of the Center on Aging, can discuss how these questions will impact much of society and thousands of individuals in the next four years. To speak with Diehl, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or DellRae.Moellenberg@ColoState.EDU.

Vickie Bajtelsmit, finance professor in the College of Business, can talk about the impact of elections on personal finances, taxes and jobs. She is an expert on retirement issues and can talk about issues related to the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association. She has written three books on personal finance. To speak with Bajtelsmit, contact Emily Narvaes Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or



Climatologist Nolan Doesken is available to discuss drought, weather observation, weather instruments, historical climate data, descriptive climatology, precipitation and seasonal weather patterns. He also can address agricultural, recreational, hydrologic and industrial applications of climate information. Doesken’s 34 years of professional experience in weather research monitoring, data acquisition, analysis and archiving provides him the expertise to address a wide variety of drought and other climate-related questions. He can also talk about the statewide volunteer network that improves precipitation monitoring and helps provide detailed drought, water supply and other water decision-making information to municipalities, homeowners, industries, utility providers, resource managers and educators. To speak with Doesken, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Neil Grigg, civil engineering professor and renowned water resources engineering consultant, can discuss Colorado’s water history, drought management, government water resources planning, Western water management issues, water system infrastructure engineering, flood control and urban water systems management. Grigg recently published the book, "Colorado’s Water: Science and Management, History and Politics," which presents long-range views about Colorado’s water issues, including drought. He has authored or co-authored about 200 publications and several books about water resources engineering and infrastructure. To speak with Grigg, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Global climate change

Scott Denning is available to talk about climate and global change, carbon dioxide emissions and natural processes that also control changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide. He can also talk about the relationship between clouds and climate. To speak with Denning, contact Emily.Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Graeme Stephens, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, can talk about the science of climate change and CloudSat, the world’s first cloud-profiling radar in orbit that he helped design that tells scientists the amount and type of precipitation in clouds. To speak with Stephens, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Clean and renewable energy

Bryan Willson, a mechanical engineering professor, is founder and director of CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, which is the largest independent laboratory of its kind in North America and a world leader in the study of large engines, natural gas engines, two-stroke engines, and hazardous air pollutants. He is a founder and board member of Envirofit International Ltd., a private non-profit that has commercialized CSU technology to solve global problems such as air pollution; co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Solix Biofuels, the largest company working on the development of clean fuels from algae; director of CSU’s Clean Energy Supercluster for speeding clean energy research to the marketplace; and co-founder and co-director of the Global Innovation Center for Energy, Health, and the Environment. To reach Willson, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Ken Reardon, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, can talk about the types of organic materials that scientists are using in biofuels and the viability of various biofuels. His biofuels-related research began more than 20 years ago with a project on the production of butanol from sugars and now includes studies on bioreactor design and algae. Reardon is the CSU site director for the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2. C2B2 was founded in March 2007 by the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. To reach Reardon, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

W.S. Sampath, a mechanical engineering professor, spent 16 years perfecting his solar-cell technology and waiting for the solar market to mature. AVA Solar Inc. will start production by the end of this year on the pioneering, patented technology that he developed that will make the manufacturing cost of solar cells competitive with the cost of providing electricity on the traditional grid. Sampath developed a continuous, automated manufacturing process for solar panels using glass coating with a cadmium telluride thin film instead of the standard high-cost crystalline silicon. The process can be completed more cheaply than existing technologies because the process produces high efficiency devices at a very high rate and yield. To speak with Sampath, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Wade O. Troxell, associate dean for Research and Economic Development in the College of Engineering, studies "smart power grid" applications that are necessary for improving the critical U.S. electric power infrastructure. Through his research, he explores networked distributed energy resources related to the environment and renewable technologies, stable and firm power systems, and the integration of renewable energy such as wind and solar into the power market. To speak with Troxell, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Paul Hudnut, a longtime entrepreneur currently teaching management in the College of Business, works with business and engineering students to develop sustainable business plans for technological advancements emerging from the university’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory – plans that are in use in such countries as the Philippines and India. He is a founder of the business college’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise master’s degree program and the Global Innovation Center for Energy, Health and the Environment in the engines lab. To reach Hudnut, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Tom Dean, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, researches entrepreneurship and sustainability, and the economic opportunities inherent in the transition to a sustainable economy. Dean is an expert in a broad variety of topics related to sustainability, environmental issues, and business, but his specific expertise is in the area of clean technology entrepreneurship and sustainable venturing. He is an expert in sectors such as natural products, green building, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and opportunities in a carbon-constrained world. To speak with Dean, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

William Parton, senior research scientist at Colorado State’s Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, or NREL, can discuss how different crops used for biofuels have varying effects on decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Parton also can talk about the effects global warming will have on the eastern plains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the western parts of North and South Dakota. Additionally, he has experience studying the potential impact of climatic changes for forest and savanna systems at local, regional and global scales. To speak with Parton, contact Kimberly at (970) 491-0757 or

Jan Leach is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at CSU. A microbiologist and plant pathologist, Leach is an authority on the molecular biology of how plants and pathogens interact; she studies how plants defend themselves against pathogens. Leach has examined issues surrounding rice as a grass model for discovery and testing. To speak with Leach, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or   

Public policy and the environment

Bill Farland, vice president for Research at Colorado State University, serves as co-chairman of CSU President Larry Penley’s Committee on Sustainability and the Environment. Before joining CSU in late 2006, Farland was the highest ranking scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. His 27-year federal career has been characterized by a commitment to the development of national and international approaches to interdisciplinary research, and testing and assessment of the fate and effects of environmental agents. To speak with Farland, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Michele Betsill, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, teaches courses in international relations, global environmental politics and qualitative research methods. Her research focuses on global environmental governance with particular emphasis on the politics of climate change. Prior to coming to CSU, she was a post-doctoral fellow with the Global Environmental Assessment project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. To speak with Betsill, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Keith Paustian, soil and crop sciences professor and senior research scientist at NREL, can discuss the role agriculture industry can play in greenhouse gas mitigation. Paustian also can talk about agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration for the United States inventory. Paustian also is involved in developing accounting tools for farmer and ranchers to receive credit under the United States voluntary greenhouse gas reduction program. To speak with Paustian, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Holmes Rolston III is widely recognized as the father of environmental ethics as an academic discipline. He has shaped the essential nature, scope and issues of the discipline. A University Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Colorado State and a noted author, Rolston said he’s seeing an evolution of clergy concerned about better stewardship for the Earth. He teaches environmental ethics at Colorado State. To speak with Rolston, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or


School of Global Environmental Sustainability

In 2008, CSU created the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and it is one of the few schools of the environment not housed in any one college at a university. The school spans all eight colleges on campus and streamlines the university’s internationally recognized environmental research to prepare students for the growing green workforce. The school positions CSU to address multiple challenges to global sustainability through broad-based research, curricular and outreach initiatives. Students will have the opportunity to complement their majors with environmental courses, which will help prepare them to solve increasingly complex global environmental challenges. To speak with Diana Wall, internationally renowned environmental scientist and founding director of the school, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Changing Climates @ CSU

Changing Climates @ CSU encompasses a network of faculty and researchers from every college at CSU whose interests and research coalesce around climate change. The program helps faculty across campus add climate content to their course curriculum and provide an outlet for them to not only teach about climate change but to educate themselves on the different aspects of the issue with an annual lecture series. For more information about Changing Climates @ CSU, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Colorado State Forest Service

CSU operates the Colorado State Forest Service with a mission to provide for the stewardship of the state’s forest resources and to reduce related risks to live, property and the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. The Colorado State Forest Service is one of five forest service agencies across the nation operated by a university. For more information about the Colorado State Forest Service, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Colorado State Extension

CSU Extension makes extensive educational information available to the public about topics such as water conservation in and around the home, xeriscaping, graywater reuse and rainwater harvesting, operating a home irrigation system and more. Extension is located in 59 of Colorado’s 65 counties. For more information on CSU Extension, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Agricultural Experiment Station

Colorado State University researchers, through the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the CSU Agricultural Experiment Station have conducted research on several varieties of crops used for biodiesel production to determine oilseed yields, including sunflowers, mustard and canola. For information and contacts about a particular crop, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory

Bryan Willson is the director of the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, which is confronting the global energy challenge through innovative research. The laboratory has earned international accolades for finding creative solutions to some of the world’s largest energy problems and developing entrepreneurial models that benefit the human condition and achieve global impact. Among the technological successes from the engines lab are the creation of a clean-burning two-stroke engine retrofit kit that is now being sold to taxi drivers in the Philippines; a safe and efficient cookstove developed for commercialization in developing nations where indoor air pollution is the leading cause of death for women and children under age 5; and a process to mass produce algae into biodiesel at a cost that is competitive with the wholesale price of crude petroleum. For a tour of the engines lab or to speak with Willson, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Institute for the Built Environment

Brian Dunbar is executive director of the Institute for the Built Environment and professor of construction management at Colorado State University. Dunbar’s teaching, research and project work focuses on environmentally sustainable design and construction materials, methods and systems. He also coordinates the graduate emphasis in sustainable building at Colorado State and has developed university and professional courses on sustainable building. The Institute for the Built Environment is an interdisciplinary research institute that teaches students and industry professionals healthy and sustainable building strategies. Brian is a LEED faculty member with the U.S. Green Building Council and serves on the Greening Schools committee for Colorado Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. To speak with Dunbar, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

Colorado Water Institute

The Colorado Water Institute at CSU exists for the express purpose of focusing the water expertise of higher education on the evolving water concerns and problems being faced by Colorado citizens. In 1964, Congress authorized the establishment of a water resources research institute in each state to develop, implement, and coordinate water and water-related research programs in the state, and transferring the results of research to potential users. To speak with Reagan Waskom, director of the institute, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

CIRA is a center for international cooperation that was established in 1980 to increase the effectiveness of atmospheric research between Colorado State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CIRA’s research products help scientists around the globe understand atmospheric changes that affect weather and climate. To speak with Graeme Stephens, director of CIRA, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or


Dr. Mo Salman, veterinary epidemiologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, can discuss the importance of international education, infrastructure and relationships to support food safety and protect the security of the global food supply in today’s world-wide market. Salman travels around the world, including Indonesia, Iraq and Somalia, to educate public and animal health authority about diseases such as avian influenza that threaten animal and human populations, and to rebuild animal care and food safety infrastructure in countries torn by war, famine and drought. To speak with Salman, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or


Steven Shulman, a professor of economics at CSU since 1984 and current department chair, teaches and writes about economic inequality; poverty and discrimination; immigration; education; and family structure. To speak with Shulman, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Anita Alves Pena is an assistant professor of economics. Pena’s studies and interests include the effects of public policies on illegal and legal immigrants, with particular emphasis on effects of welfare and education programs, minimum wages, and border patrol on those working in the agricultural sector. Pena’s research has included topics relating to location choice, labor market outcomes and amnesty programs. To speak with Pena, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Stephen Mumme, political science professor, has studied and is interested in Mexican immigration to the United States; U.S. and Mexico bi-national water issues; and North American environmental cooperation efforts. To speak with Mumme, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Maria Puig, a professor of social work, is an expert on the effects of immigration on societies and families. Puig can discuss how government interactions affect children, their parents, society and minority cultures with a special emphasis on child welfare. To speak with Puig, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or


Ray Hogler, a management professor in the College of Business and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Labor Law, has studied American labor relations and unions for 32 years. He spent spring 2007 teaching in the economics department at the University of Tuscia in Italy, where he researched Italy’s pension reforms and their implications for U.S. retirement programs. He is the author of a textbook titled "Employment Relations in the United States," and he has written several articles on Colorado’s right to work law and public sector labor relations. To reach Hogler, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Dimitris Stevis, a professor of political science, is available to discuss issues around labor and unions. He specializes in environmental and labor regulation under conditions of regional and international integration. Stevis recently co-authored a new book that focuses on labor unions as a driving force in promoting global democracy. To speak with Stevis, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or