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Alexander Heffner to Speak at SPC

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With a passion for civil discourse gained at the feet of his legendary grandfather, Alexander Heffner is a millennial crusader for robust political debate and free speech.  As host of the PBS Sunday talk show The Open Mind, Heffner continues a 60-year tradition.

Heffner will bring that passion to St. Petersburg College at a Dinner Forum program titled The Future of Civil Discourse: Millennials and Politics in 2016. This free-ranging discussion of the divisive 2016 campaign and its political ramifications will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Oct. 26 at SPC’s Seminole campus, 9200 113th St. N. It is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU Television.

Heffner, who has covered American politics, civic life and the millennial vote since the 2008 presidential campaign, will explore the character of politics, the space of old/new media, and the ongoing 2016 presidential campaign. He will be joined by Adam Smith, Political Editor of the Tampa Bay Times, and Dr. Laurie King, Professor of Ethics at St. Petersburg College.

Millennials – those born between 1982 and 2004 – comprise the largest generation of Americans at 75.4 million, topping the 74.9 million Baby Boomers whose birth span is 1946-1964 and who are now senior citizens. These young people will comprise more than one in three of adult Americans by 2020 and make up as much as 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025. More relevantly for politics, they will be 40 percent of the electorate by the next election.

In addition to the millennial factor, the panel will look at a political landscape battered by one of the most negative presidential primary campaign in decades. What will be the effect of Donald Trump’s candidacy on the political process – and the parties – going forward?

Admission to this event, which includes a buffet dinner, are $20 for students and educators and $25 for the general public. Advance registration is required at

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