District holds public forum on Trump’s first 30 days


By Riley Langefeld, copy editor
The district held a public forum on the topic of President Trump’s first 30 days in office on Mar. 2 at Forest View Educational Center.
The forum was moderated by Prospect English teacher Jason Block and featured five guests: four reporters and a presidential historian. The event closely resembled another one held by the district before the election. The discussion consisted of an hour of moderated debate followed by audience questions directed at the speakers.
WBEZ Chicago Public Media Reporter Michael Puente, one of the guests, said that panels like this one are critical to fostering civil discourse in a modern political climate.
“They’re very important because this is America right here,” Puente said. “You want people to start talking. If we stop talking, that’s where we get into trouble.”
Puente has years of experience as a journalist and reported with the Daily Herald for two years. He followed the Trump-Pence ticket for WBEZ during the presidential election. Puente considers partisanship in the press to be a major problem but wants to educate the American people on the responsibilities and importance of journalists.
“I think it’s important for journalists to get out there and express their views in terms of journalism, the relationship between the president and the press, [etc.]” Puente said. “We’re a divided country right now. And whatever we can do to educate people about our job — all the better.”
Madeleine Doubek, another of the forum’s guests, shares this sentiment. Doubek is the publisher of Reboot Illinois, a non-partisan news group dedicated to the Illinois state government. She stresses the importance of getting involved in the political process for all citizens.
“Anytime I can interact with people in the community, I really enjoy doing it,” Doubek said. “We really need to make sure that we’re taking time to step back and be a little bit more reflective and think about what’s going on in our government and politics and how we can go about being better citizens. … It’s important to have conversations with people and not let ourselves get stuck in that echo chamber.”
Doubek also says that students and young people in general play a key role in this involvement particularly because education reform is a hotly debated topic in Illinois and the federal government.
“I think that it’s critically important that [students] understand that they are the future and they are citizens too. And they need to understand what’s going on in politics and government, participate, make sure they’re getting good information and are well-informed.”
The event was also attended by Fred Crespo, the Illinois state representative for the 44th District. Crespo was delighted to observe the discussion and praised the district for putting together such a forum.
“One of the things I heard today from one of the panelists is that people should ‘multi-source’,” Crespo said. “And I think this is a good indication of what that means. You heard from five great panelists out there. The questions were unbelievably great questions. And we got to see a contrast of answers as well.”
Crespo, like Doubek, also emphasized the importance of youth involvement in politics.
“If you look at education alone, that should be a huge drive for students to get involved because that will impact them not only now, when they’re in high school, but when they go to college,” Crespo said. “I tell a lot of young kids to get involved. Whether they’re a Republican or a Democrat, to me that doesn’t really matter to me. I think they need to get involved.”