Skip to content
Stars and stripes background

  • Print

University of the Pacific media sources on the 2016 elections

Mar 25, 2016

The following University of the Pacific faculty are available to comment on the 2016 elections, from the U.S. Senate contest in California to the race for the presidency. The list includes experts on a wide variety of topics, including how candidates can protect their voices during a grueling campaign, quirks of the California election process, and choosing the right campaign theme song. A student leader involved in planning for the April 25 U.S. Senate Debate at University of the Pacific is also on the list. Additional sources will be added to this online election experts list in the days ahead.

Voters, candidates and campaigns   

Ambition in American politics
Jeffrey Becker, associate professor of political science at University of the Pacific, is the author of "Ambition in America: Political Power and the Collapse of Citizenship." He can discuss political ambitions, abuses of political power, political judgment, moral activism, and statesmanship. Contact: Jeffrey Becker, 209.946.3986,   

Political rhetoric
Paul Turpin, associate professor of communication at University of the Pacific, is author of "The Moral Rhetoric of Political Economy: Justice and Modern Economic Thought." He has written extensively on political communication, media and ethics. His research interests include the use of rhetoric and persuasion in everyday life. Contact: Paul Turpin, 209.946.2507,

Campaign spin and the "spin room"
Dave Frederickson, a visiting professor of communication at University of the Pacific, served on 10 presidential campaigns, including those of Gerald Ford, John B. Connally, and Ronald Reagan. It was during the Ford campaign versus Jimmy Carter that Frederickson's then-boss, White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen, introduced the "spin room" or "spin zone," now a stable in the debate process. Frederickson can talk about inner workings of a political campaign and provide historical context on political "spinning." Contact: Dave Frederickson, 202.679.1000 (cell),

Campaign theme songs
Keith Hatschek, a professor in University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music and director of the conservatory's Music Management and Music Industry programs, is the author of two books on the music and recording industry. He can talk about what elements make a song a good anthem for a political campaign, why some musical artists fight to keep candidates from using their music as political theme songs, and general music copyright regulations. Contact: Keith Hatschek, 209.946.2443,  

Keeping that speaking voice
Daniel Ebbers, interim dean of University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music and a professor of voice, is a critically acclaimed opera singer who has performed in productions across the country. He can talk generally about the voice and what strains it, and provide insider tips on how candidates can keep their voices in top shape during grueling campaigns and countless speaking engagements. Contact: Daniel Ebbers, 209.946.2833,

Civil rights
Brian K. Landsberg, emeritus professor of law at the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, served as associate counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice in Selma, Ala., civil rights cases in 1964. He and has written and lectured extensively on civil rights and constitutional law. He is the author of the books "Enforcing Civil Rights: Race Discrimination and the Department of Justice" and "Free at Last to Vote: The Alabama Origins of the 1965 Voting Rights Act." He worked for 22 years the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. Contact: Contact: Brian K. Landsberg, 916.739.7103,

Patriotism and citizenship
Teresa Bergman, associate professor of communication at University of the Pacific, is the author of "Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites." She can discuss the changing view of nationalism, patriotism and citizenship through exhibits and documentary films. Contact: Teresa Bergman, 209.946.7602,

Political process and elections
Keith Smith, associate professor of political science at University of the Pacific, has been teaching and writing about elections, Congress, the presidency, and California politics for over a decade. He can discuss voting behavior, institutions, and electoral reform. He is at work on a book about the top-two system, recently adopted by California and Washington state, which changed how voters pick their candidates. Contact: Keith Smith, 209.946.7712,

Analytics of elections
Rick Hutley, clinical professor and director of the analytics program at University of the Pacific, is the former vice president of innovation at Cisco Systems. Hutley can talk about how the analytics of data is used to drive political campaigns, everything from analyzing the impact of a given sound bite on voters, determining which media channels to use, which celebrities play best with which audiences, what cities to visit or the analysis of debate speeches. He is also leading a meet-up called "Predicting Presidents." Contact: Rick Hutley, 415.400.8222,  

Food habits of politicians
Ken Albala, professor of history and director of University of the Pacific's Food Studies Program, can talk about food gaffes by U.S. politicians, from John Kasich's eating a pizza with a fork to Meg Whitman cutting a chili dog into quarters and Richard Nixon putting ketchup on cottage cheese. Albala recently commented on food in politics in an article in the Washington Post. He has written or edited 24 books on food and food history. Contact: Ken Albala, 209.946.2922, 

California issues    
California's initiative and election process
Mary-Beth Moylan, professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, is an expert on California's initiative process, election process and Constitution. Before entering academia, she clerked for Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, and served as a civil litigation associate with one of Sacramento's largest law firms, Downey Brand Seymour & Rohwer. She also practiced law with Olson Hagel & Fishburn in Sacramento, one of the few firms specializing in political law. Contact: Mary-Beth Moylan, 916.739.7223,   

Water resources
Jennifer Harder, assistant professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, teaches courses in water and environmental law. Before entering academia, she worked as a water attorney and partner with Downey Brand LLP. Her research interests include integration of classic water rights principles into contemporary regulatory systems, the nexus between water and land use issues, environmental compliance, water use efficiency, and water finance. She is a graduate of the Water Leaders program at the Water Education Foundation and co-author of the water law casebook, Cases and Materials on Water Law. Contact: Jennifer Harder, 916.739.7189,  

Common Core
Linda Webster, interim dean of University of the Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, can talk about Common Core and other issues facing K-12 schools. She recently hosted a "Better Together: California Teachers Summit" at the university's Stockton Campus, part of a statewide initiative to prepare teachers to implement the new California Standards in English language arts/literacy and math, commonly referred to as the Common Core. Contact: Keith Michaud, Media Relations Coordinator, 209.470.3206,

California economy
Jeffrey Michael, professor at University of the Pacific's Eberhardt School of Business and director of its Center for Business and Policy Research, leads a team of economists continuously studying factors affecting California's economy. He has assessed the costs and benefits of the Delta tunnels and high-speed rail projects in California, and has studied energy policy, climate change policy, and electricity and gas-price impacts on consumers and businesses. Contact: Jeffrey Michael, 209.946.7385,

Hot-button issues  

U.S. Supreme Court vacancy
Leslie Gielow Jacobs, professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, can comment on the law and politics surrounding President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to succeed the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. during Scalia's first year on the court. She has written extensively on constitutional doctrine, governance, bioterrorism, national security, health care reform, and the Affordable Care Act. Contact: Leslie Gielow Jacobs, 916.739.7217,  

Raquel Aldana, associate dean and professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, can talk about immigration law, the rights of victims of state-sponsored crimes, and domestic violence in the Americas. For more than a decade she has organized programs involving law students representing immigrants seeking to become citizens and applying for other immigration relief. She recently organized a day-long academic program titled "Congressional Dysfunction and Executive Lawmaking During the Obama Administration." Contact: Raquel Aldana, 916.733.2802,

Iran sanctions and the nuclear deal
Michael P. Malloy, professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, has written extensively on economic sanctions, trade and banking. He served as a research associate at the Institute of International Law and Economic Development, attorney-adviser with the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and as a Special Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Contact: Michael P. Malloy, 916.716-7645,   

National security
John Cary Sims, professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, is a founding co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, a peer-reviewed publication focusing on national defense issues. His primary research areas include constitutional law, especially the First Amendment, and human rights. He has written extensively on government secrecy, national security and terrorism, and has actively participated in the recent debates over such controversial issues as marriage equality, health care reform, and appointments to the Supreme Court. Contact: John Cary Sims, 916.739.7017,   

Health care reform
Peter Hilsenrath, the Joseph M. Long Chair of Healthcare Management at University of the Pacific, can comment on health care, health insurance, and international health care systems. He is a professor of economics and teaches MBA and pharmacy courses about finance, management and economics in the health sector. Contact: Keith Michaud, Media Relations Coordinator, 209.470.3206,

Same-sex marriage, LGBT rights
Lawrence C. Levine, a law professor at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, has written extensively on same-sex marriage, including a recent Op-Ed piece in The Sacramento Bee about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia becoming an unlikely force leading to the expansion of gay rights. He has also written commentary on the Supreme Court's decision extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. He has served on numerous national boards focusing on the legal rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Contact: Lawrence C. Levine, 916.739.7155,

Energy and the environment
Rachael Salcido, professor University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, can talk about environmental protection laws and regulations dealing with energy, oil and gas, and mining. She directs the law school's environmental law concentration and sits on the board of directors for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, an educational nonprofit organization that includes representatives from 30 law schools, 13 bar associations, and 18 mining and oil and gas associations. Contact: Bethany Daniels Muhlhauser, McGeorge Communications, 916.739.7152,

Environmental impacts of fracking and other gas and oil well stimulation treatments
William T. Stringfellow, director of the Environmental Measurements Laboratory at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and director of the Ecological Engineering Research Program at University of the Pacific, was part of a team of scientists who conducted a state-mandated assessment of the environmental impacts of oil and gas well stimulation treatments, including hydraulic fracturing, in California. Stringfellow has published dozens of scientific articles on the effects of gas and oil well stimulation treatments and can talk about those impacts. Contact: Keith Michaud, Office of Marketing and Communications, 209.946.3275,

STEM research, STEM K-12 curriculum
Steven Howell, author of "Engineering Design and Problem Solving," is the dean of University of the Pacific's School of Engineering and Computer Science. He has written extensively on the development of engineering education programs around the world. Before being named dean in 2013, he was the vice chancellor and founding provost of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology. Howell can talk about the vital need in this country for STEM education and research and the importance of STEM curriculum for K-12 students. Contact: Keith Michaud, 209.470.3206,

International politics
Brian Klunk, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at University of the Pacific, can talk about political ethics, international relations, and Catholic social thought. He has taught the seminar, "Catholic Thinking About International Politics," as well as courses on political parties and voting, interest group politics, international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and international politics. Contact: Brian Klunk, 209.946.2927, 

Unmanned aerial vehicles, "drones"
Elizabeth Basha, assistant professor in Pacific's School of Engineering and Computer Science, has written extensively on aerial robotics or unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called "drones." She can talk about efforts to nail down federal regulation of UAVs. Her research in robotics and sensor networks shows how UAVs can be used to recharge sensors used to monitor bridge safety, retrieve data from remote and sensitive areas, or help in search and rescue efforts. Contact: Elizabeth Basha, 209.946.2264,

Water quality
Mary Kay Camarillo, an associate professor of engineering at University of the Pacific, focuses her research on the environmental impacts of oil and gas development on water resources, water security and water quality. She can talk about biomass energy as well. Camarillo also has an appointment as a visiting faculty member at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Contact: Mary Kay Camarillo, 209.946.3056, 

Visit Pacific's 2016 U.S. Senate Debate website.
Visit our newsroom to see this and other news from University of the Pacific:

Tags for this article:

Join University of the Pacific on: Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Youtube