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Washington Post Columnist Next Lecturer in Edgar Speaker Series at EIU

This story is part of a series: Edgar Lecture Series

The past few years have been exciting ones, politically, and national correspondent Dan Balz wants to talk about them.

"We've just been through a historic election, just two years after another historic election, and I want to use my time at Eastern Illinois University to talk about what we've been through and what the choices are for those in power in Washington for the next few years," he said.

Balz will present "What Next for Washington and the States" -- the sixth lecture in the Edgar Lecture Series at EIU - at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, in the Theatre of the Doudna Fine Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

A reception will follow the presentation in the center's concourse. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar who, along with his wife, Brenda, established the lecture series, is expected to attend both events.

"I know that Governor Edgar is deeply interested in the implications of these elections and of the economic recession on the states, and he knows that I spend some of my time paying attention to what governors are doing," Balz continued. "This was an especially significant election for the states because of the huge turnover in governors and the gains made by Republicans in state legislature. So I want to include some time to talk about that as well."

Balz said he got to know Edgar when he was governor.

"I usually try to attend the winter and summer meetings of the National Governors Association and use the time in part to get to know the politicians leading state governments. In that capacity, I interviewed Governor Edgar, as did my colleague David Broder, another student of the states, numerous times during his time in office. (I) always found (Edgar) to be candid, insightful and helpful, illuminating the challenges states were facing."

The Edgar Lecture Series, established in 2007, demonstrates a continuing support by the Edgars of their alma mater. The series allows the university to host two speakers a year -- one in the fall and one in the spring. Lectures are to focus primarily on state government and address current issues in state government and their historical implications.

The Edgars personally launched the series, with the former governor speaking in Fall 2007 and Mrs. Edgar taking her turn behind the lectern in Spring 2008.

Balz joined The Washington Post in 1978 and has been involved in the paper's political coverage as a reporter or editor ever since. In addition to his political reporting, he has served as the Post's national editor, covered the White House during the first Bush administration, and has written extensively about Congress.

The Freeport, Ill., native is also a regular panelist on PBS's "Washington Week," and has been a frequent guest on PBS's "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," NBC's "Meet the Press," CBS's "Face the Nation," and many other programs.

Balz is also co-author, with Haynes Johnson, of the best-selling book, "The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election," a narrative history of the 2008 campaign that includes behind-the-scene accounts of the campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain based on exclusive interviews with major participants.

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