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Max Sandlin, former congressman, to speak at DWU conference

Max Sandlin

Just a week after the November election, the annual McGovern Conference will analyze the possible fallout of this year's negative campaigning and the effects it might have on the operation of the country.

The 2012 McGovern Conference will focus on "Moving Beyond Political Polarization: How Can Congress Best Serve the Nation in the Coming Decade?"

The one-day annual event held on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m on Nov. 12 in the Sherman Center. The conference is sponsored by the McGovern Center and is open to the public. Online registration is available at

"The intensely negative campaigning and political polarization appears to be taking a toll. Pollsters are now reporting that Americans are tuning out and have a decidedly more negative view of politicians and their campaigns," said Don Simmons, dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service at DWU and director of the McGovern Center. "Many are wondering how it will be possible for the two major political parties to work together in Congress to pass much-needed legislation once the mud-slinging campaign season is over. We want to address that issue at this year's conference."

Keynote presenters for the conference will be former members of Congress Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., and Max Sandlin, D-Texas.

Gutknecht, an Iowa native, was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1982. He served for 12 years until 1994, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1995 to 2007.

Sandlin served eight years (1997-2005) in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democratic Congressman representing Texas District 1. Sandlin's wife is former South Dakota U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Other program participants will include political party leaders, representatives of the media and policymakers discussing how Congress can get back on track and move beyond polarization.

"Anyone who loves politics can't afford to miss this conference," Simmons said.