|Creator:||Smith, Paul A.|
|Extent:||24.00 linear feet.|
|Repository:||University of Iowa Special Collections|
|Summary:||Smith served in many capacities in the Iowa Democratic Party and the Iowa Democratic Conference, including three two-year terms as Secretary of the State Democratic Party.|
Access: This collection is open for research.
Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.
Acquisition: Gift of Paul A. Smith in 2003.
Preferred Citation: Paul A. Smith Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.
|Repository:||University of Iowa Special Collections|
|Address:||Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
The following Biographical Sketch was submitted by Smith at the time he donated his papers to the University of Iowa. It has been edited somewhat for clarity.
I happened to be in the right place at the right time to have been sucked into leadership positions during the above period, and to create and keep records of some of the important changes which took place therein, especially in regards to the caucus-convention process which has attracted many Presidential Candidates to Iowa. This document is an expanded personal outline, rather than a full and balanced exposition. It would be difficult to present this information in any but a rather personal way, so it is a rather personal presentation. I leave it to scholars and historians to draw their own conclusions from the official records which are presented with this account.
In 1968 I attended my first Democratic Precinct Caucus and County Convention in Cedar Rapids in Linn County; but was unable to go beyond the County Convention level because at that time the Presidential Preference Group with a majority of the delegates at the County Convention "elected" all the delegates to go to the pro-forma District Convention which was held in Des Moines the night before the State Convention. I decided to get on the Rules Committee next time, in light of the nature of the non-democratic rules existing then. The infamous National Convention of the Democratic Party occurred in Chicago in the summer of 1968 and set the stage for some Democratic Party reform efforts nation-wide.
During 1968-1972 the Iowa Democratic Conference, liberal Iowa Democrats, organized statewide and was active with the significant support of Harold Hughes, John Culver and Dick Clark.
Without seeking the office, and much to my surprise, I was elected the Chair of the Linn County Chapter of the IDC and to serve on its State Board.
During one meeting of the local chapter, the meeting the members decided to run a substantial advertisement in the Des Moines Register against the ABM System and I was asked to make the necessary arrangements. An impressive man whom I did not know before came to me at the conclusion of the meeting and offered to let me use his WATS line to make necessary phone calls. I used Congressman John Culver's WATS line to make the calls --- at Dick Clark's invitation, as Dick Clark was Culver's legislative assistant.
At one of the Annual State-wide Conventions of the IDC I was chosen by the leadership to be the board member to put the name of Governor Harold Hughes in nomination for endorsement by the Annual IDC State Convention, for President of the United States. He was so endorsed, but later withdrew because of his strong pacifist sentiments. At the State Board's last meeting, which occurred at People's Church in Cedar Rapids, the regional director of Xerox was sitting next to me, and I asked him if I were to put into his hands the membership lists of IDC, which were there together for the first time, could he quickly make copies of them for all persons in the room, one to two dozen? He said yes, and it was done. Those lists probably played an important role in George McGovern's run for President of the USA.
In 1972 I was elected at the Linn County Convention to attend the State Democratic Convention and there early I noticed there was only one calculator at the front table for tabulating the new weighted voting of delegate's votes by the 99 counties (to assure each county of its full voting strength even if not all the county's delegates were present). I commented about this to Cliff Larson, the State Chair of the Party --- and was promptly named Chief Teller of the 1972 State Convention to do the computations which took much time (about 2 hours? ) during which time there was little other official business which could be done. I drove home after the convention totally exhausted and decided to try to get "inside" the preparatory process to help make better preparations the next time.
I was elected to served as Secretary of the Rules Committees at the County, District and State Convention levels during those stages of the caucus-convention-process in 1974. In addition to my service in the above three positions before the State Convention, I also:
#1. Was elected to serve as Secretary of a State-Wide Constitution Revision Committee
At the request of Anita Terpstra (a paraprofessional assistant of mine at Coe College, wife of my family's lawyer, a member of the State Central Committee, and a member of the current Constitution Revision Committee for the Iowa Democratic Party) I served as her informal alternate for a meeting of the State Level Party Constitution Revision Committee. Near the opening of that meeting the Secretary of the Constitution Revision Committee resigned and I was promptly nominated to serve in her place by Charlie Hammer (a friend of mine from the Iowa Democratic Conference Board , and a physicist from Iowa State, whom I knew from activities in the American Association of Physics Teachers, of which I was elected chairman at around this time) --- and I was elected as Secretary and a voting member without any further nomination being made. I prepared and personally distributed at our many meetings many documents offering my many suggestions for constitutional changes, and provided detailed minutes of many day-long meetings. (A secretary can hand out a lot of papers without raising questions or objections!)
#2. Helped the party transcend quota systems for minority representation.
At one of my early Constitution Review Committee meetings there was a very heated debate about guaranteeing some kind of representation to all minorities, on ALL committees of the Iowa Democratic party, regardless of committee's size. The only foul language I ever heard in official Democratic Party committee meetings, occurred in that meeting. At the next meeting I submitted a proposal for facilitating fair representation of minorities. A Coe College student of mine, Bob Van Deusen, was an alternate at that meeting and moved its adoption. With minor modifications the text became the most frequently quoted section of the State Constitution, in Article VIII --which is read repetitively under formal rules at every official election caucus within the caucus-convention process:
"All caucuses, conventions, committees, and Democratic Party officials shall take such practical steps as may be within their legitimate power, to assure that all caucuses, conventions, and committees shall include: men, women, various age groups, racial minority groups, economic groups, and representatives of identifiable geographically defined populations --- all in reasonable relationships to the proportions in which these groups are found in the populations of the respective constituencies." The procedure has worked amazing well with little controversy and helped the whole caucus convention-process survive its trials and tribulations.
#3. Helped devise the Guaranteed Apportionment System for county convention voting.
Under traditional procedures, prior to county conventions the national Presidential candidate's power brokers drew up competing lists of county delegates in support of their particular Presidential candidates. The leading supporters of a Presidential candidate who were able to form of a majority coalition of delegates at the county convention for "their" list of people to represent the county at the next higher level --- was the Presidential candidate who "won" the right to the votes of all delegates from the county to the next higher level convention. The winner took all. Concessions might be made to key influential leaders who might "cross over" in order to get elected by a coalition majority.
Beginning in 1972 at county conventions under new rules the supporters of each Presidential candidate were empowered under new convention rules to meet in separate rooms to select whomever they wished to represent them at the next conventions, in proportion to how many supporters there were; but only if their delegates constituted 15% or more of all delegates to the convention. There were no formal rules about how the elections within the caucus were to be done fairly and expeditiously. In 1972 some larger county conventions adjourned at about 5 a.m. the day after they started at 10 a.m. --- because efficient and fair procedures were not invented quickly under those circumstances. Better democratic procedures were needed. Distributing power equitably and efficiently in a democracy is not a simple thing to do.
In light of the above, on one bitterly cold January night a committee of about six people meet in Dick Seegraves home in Ames to brainstorm about how to facilitate the delegate selection process at county conventions --- wherein about half of the delegates were to be elected by Presidential caucuses to become delegates to the District and State Conventions. We noted that it was impractical to have every delegate have the option to vote for a large number of nominees; e.g., 150. To make counting the votes possible, somebody suggested asking each delegate within each Presidential Preferential Caucus to vote for exactly five nominees; assuming there would be no limit on how many nominees there could be.
All county delegates who were interested in serving were to be listed in alphabetic order, and numbered. Who would be declared elected? Of course, those who got more votes than others; those who did not get enough votes to get elected. To see, just rank-order the candidates in order of how many votes they received. What about ties? All candidates that got the same number of votes would be declared "elected", if there were still positions for all of them to fill; else all would be excluded from immediate "election" together; and be eligible for support on a follow up ballot. What about minority representation? Only up to a majority of the overall available positions could be filled on the basis of any one ballot --- and participants would be admonished to support men, women, minorities, geographic regions, etc. in a fair way before each balloting. There was consensus that the above principles were fair and workable, and I drove home on a cold winter night from Ames to Cedar Rapids at the conclusion of the evening meeting. On the way I thought through the possible dynamics of the voting process, and for the first time realized that we had invented what could be appropriately called the GAS voting system; for Guaranteed Apportionment System. In my view the new voting system played a major role in facilitating the survival of the whole caucus convention process as a healthy democratic institution in Iowa.
Under the rules which we had agreed upon, it was possible to calculate how many delegates could mini-caucus with each other to agree-with-power-to-elect some one person on an early balloting --- to go to the District and State Conventions. The number would be quite small. An example will help make this clear.
If there are 300 delegates at a county convention, and they are to elect 100 delegates to go to the congressional district convention; and a presidential caucus has 15% of the 300 delegates present = 45 delegates; the 45 delegates will be able as a whole group to elect 15% of 100 delegates = 15 delegates to go to the congressional district convention; i.e., one for every three county-convention-delegates.
Because under the rules they must not elect more than half of their quota on any one vote, the 45 delegates can elect at most 7 delegates to represent them on one ballot; one elected for every 7 participant in the caucus. It follows that a group of 7 delegates in a presidential caucus could sub-caucus separately to choose one of their sub-caucus to represent them. The rules did not demand such in-person sub-caucusing, but permitted such sub-caucusing, and it has occurred often.
Politically insecure mini-caucuses may seek to assure election by seeking more than seven votes for their chosen person, or popular leaders might get more than seven votes from undisciplined delegates who do not participate in such mini-caucuses, or some delegates may vote for people across mini-caucus boundaries; e.g., for very popular leaders.
By the same token, politically secure risk-taking mini-caucuses might try to get more than their fair share of District and State Delegate positions by casting, for example, only five votes per chosen person because they know that many votes will be "wasted" on well known members of the Presidential Preference Caucus. In any case, minority mini-caucuses are empowered by the procedure to elect whomever they choose to concentrate their support upon and other members of the presidential caucus cannot do anything to stop them.
#4. Helped to recommend the first very early precinct caucus date for Iowa.
On one occasion at the State Headquarters of the Iowa Democratic Party, on Mulberry Street in Des Moines, a subcommittee of about six of us ad-hoc leaders were dealing with some of the details of the coming 1974 caucus convention season. We noted that the coming season would, under new rules, include a District Convention held within each Congressional District at a separate date between the County Conventions and the State Convention. We noted that the previous caucus-convention season had been excessively rushed for rank-and-file-leaders ---with only four weeks between steps in the process. We readily agreed to expand that four weeks to five weeks. Then we counted back the necessary number of weeks from the date of the National Convention and recommended for purely practical reasons that the precinct caucuses be in late January or early February. Little note, if any, was made of the fact that the recommended date would probably put Iowa "first in the nation" in the official stages of the formal presidential selection process.
#5. Was named to serve as the Secretary of the State Democratic Convention
At a fund-raising event Charlie Hammer (who had nominated me to serve as secretary of the Constitution Review Committee) informed me that he planned to nominate me to be Secretary of the State Central Committee. I promptly reported his comment to Jan Fraser, a member of the State Central Committee and she lit up like a Christmas tree. I reported the comment to Richard Bender, chief of staff at State Headquarters, and in a deep Kissinger-like voice he said, "That would be very interesting." Many days later Richard Bender called me to say that Tom Whitney, the State Chair, would neither oppose nor endorse my candidacy for Secretary. I thanked him for the information. Later yet Richard called back to say that the Tom wanted me to serve as Secretary of the State Convention. I asked. "What about the incumbent Secretary of the State Central Committee?" He said she would serve as Secretary of the Role Calls. I noted that under new rules there would be no formal Role Calls. I forget what he said then. I did serve as Secretary of the Convention as well as Secretary of the Constitution Revision Committee and of the Rules Committee of the Convention -- all at once. No comment was made in my presence about any improper concentration of power. My election might be viewed as a symbol of the transition then taking place between the previous distribution of power in the Iowa Democratic Party and the evolving distribution of power in a reformed Iowa Democratic Party. There was no contentious battle.
#6. Began work on rationalizing the platform process.
A few days before the State Convention I was taking care of two young daughters by myself because my wife was in Florida at a National Convention of Union Presidents. I got a call telling me that the State Platform was reporting out 526 planks to the State Convention, and that a major fraction of the State Platform Committee was writing a minority report in which it recommended less than half that number. I muttered to myself that somebody with real power should do something about that nonsense. It took a few hours for me to realize that I was that person: as I was Secretary of the Constitution Revision Committee, was Secretary of the State Rules Committee, was be the Secretary of the Convention, and maybe would become Secretary of the State Party. Between taking care of my children I hid in the basement and typed out a single rough draft of a one page document; a "Special Resolution on Platform" which I somehow got copied for all members of the Rules Committee on the morning of the State Convention.
The Chair of the Rules Committee got the Rules Committee to authorize me to stop the business of the convention whenever I chose, to introduce the Special Resolution on Platform. I reported the development to Tom Whitney, the State Chair of the party who was then chairing the convention. I told Tom that I wanted to hold the Special Resolution to be the very last item of business after the State Platform had been fully dealt with, and that I wanted to make a presentation in support of the Special Resolution, and then defer to the Chair of the State Platform Committee, to make whatever presentation he wanted to make; expecting that what he would say would be counter-productive for him under the circumstances. It was counter-productive for him, and my resolution passed.
#7. Was named to serve as Parliamentarian to the Chair of the State Democratic Convention
At the early morning meeting of the State Convention Rules Committee I got the needed endorsement of my "Special Resolution" for presentation to the convention at some time. As the convention was being called to order by the State Vice Chair, it became known that the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives was not there, and he was to have been the Parliamentarian. On inquiry to Tom Whitney by the Vice Chair he instructed her to name me as Parliamentarian for the organizational part of the convention. She did so. During that organization phase an improper motion was made to empower all County Chairs to name delegates to the convention so that counties could legitimatize delegates who were not properly elected and recorded. A delegate from Linn County rushed forward to ask me privately if that was constitutional. I told him he could raise a point of order, which he did after about 2/3 of the delegates had voted to approve such authorization. The chair consulted me and I recommended that the vote be voided because it was unconstitutional; and then the chair did not know how to proceed. I offered to address the convention, not knowing what I would say and knowing it was generally improper for a parliamentarian to address the convention. The chair announced to the convention that I would explain the situation. I explained to the convention that the constitution provided only one way for delegates to be elected, but because the convention was the supreme governing body of the State Democratic Party; if it by a 2/3 vote ruled that the chair was out of order in voiding the previous authorization, so be it. The convention by a 2/3 vote sustained the ruling of the choir in voiding the previous authorization. (Of course I knew that Robert's Rules calls for only a 50% majority to overrule a ruling by the chair, but then this was not a normal situation.)
#8. Was elected to serve as Secretary of the State Democratic Par tv
Upon the conclusion of the State Convention at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, the State Central Committee was to meet in a room under the bleachers. I gathered my Secretary's Stuff, including a tape recorder used to tape everything, and went uninvited to the State Central Committee's meeting, even though I was not a member of the State Central Committee. (All committee meetings are open meetings under the Democratic Party's State Constitution.) Tom Whitney looked around and noted that the incumbent Secretary was absent, and noticed that no member of staff was prepared to take minutes --- which they often had done. He noted that I was ready to serve as Secretary, and without objection I did so. Incumbent officers were routinely nominated and elected, but for the position of Secretary there was competition as to who would nominate me. Nobody else was nominated for Secretary and I was elected Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party without opposition. The whole meeting took about six minutes. #9. Wrote minutes distributed widely to about 250 political leaders before approval.
During one of the early meetings of the State Central Committee during my period of service as its Secretary, it was moved and passed that my minutes be distributed to all chairs of all 99 county central committees. (Minutes were already going to the Democratic Leadership in the State House, and to our members of Congress.) From the start my minutes recorded more than motions made and passed. They included summaries of key points debated with paraphrases attributed to members of the committee by name. The State Chair was opposed to expanded mailings, and tried to pocket veto the process, by just not having the minutes sent out. At a subsequent meeting the State Central Committee over-ruled the State Chair, and mandated that the minutes be sent to all Chairs of all 99 county central committees. There was never prior approval before my minutes were sent out. All meetings were tape recorded, but very rarely were the tapes played back. I relied on long-hand abbreviated notes and my memory to write minutes. Sometimes the sense of a discussion was "clarified" by the secretary; especially as regards to sequences in which points were made. Later, by mandate of the State Central Committee, my minutes were sent to all chairs and vice chairs of the 99 county central committees. It was entirely at the my discretion what sensitive information was included, and what was not included. This transpired in the shadow of the "Watergate Era".
#10. Began developing specialized-convention-rules to shorten conventions' durations.
During 1974 we all started a long process of working on refining convention rules so that they evolved in the spirit of Robert's Rules of Order, but were refined to meet the particular needs of large assemblies of people for a long meeting in which the desire was to distribute power as widely as possible in the process of electing representatives, setting party policies, and focusing the party's program for official implementation by elected Democratic leaders.
Some of the central challenges in that process included the following ones:
A. Empowering convention chairs to lead the convention --- without permitting them to be domineering.
B. Selecting convention chairs suited to the above function of convention chairs, as often Committees on Rules and Nominations in fact often named who would chair county, district and state conventions.
C. Empowering delegates to consider, debate and vote on the motions which needed to be considered to do the business at hand, without empowering a few domineering delegates to tie the convention up in knots which undermine the purpose of the conventions: Who can make motions? For what purposes? With how many delegates must agree to "second" the motions? (A 20% rule invented in the Iowa 2nd District was carried to the National Convention by Bob Van Duesen, and included in national rules the same year.) How much time should be spent on debate? Total? By individuals? How may debate time be extended? Standard Roberts' Rules offer inadequate answers to these questions for a large assembly of people coming together just one time to conduct business. Dictatorial domination by one leader, or small gang of domineering leaders, is not in keeping with democratic principles. We were engaged in a major experiment in building new institutional traditions which equitably distributed power; and we could easily fail. Idealistic people's expectations were high, and time and energy at conventions were limited. Perfectionists were insistent, and long meetings generated a lot of impatience and frustration.
D. There continued to be difficulties in opening up the election processes to large numbers of potential candidates; while keeping the repeated balloting time within bounds. How restrictive should the nomination process be? Limited as to time frame? As to the total number nominated? As to who can nominate? As to qualifications of who can be nominated? What fraction of the candidates should be eliminated on any one ballot? Should it depend upon the number not yet eliminated? What percentage of all support should be required to be retained on a first, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. ballot? Many conventions ran long because of the large number of candidates nominated and inadequate rules to facilitate the expeditious elimination of candidates who were not really strong contenders for ultimate election. This task was complicated by there being multiple parallel offices to be filled; e.g., multiple equal delegates to a later convention or convention committee --- along with wanting to facilitate appropriate representation of minorities.
E. What fraction of a convention's limited time should be dedicated to all delegates listening to a small fraction of all delegates talk about a few platform planks? Should a convention be limited to saying no to just a few of the most controversial planks? Should an effort be made to involve all delegates in prioritizing proposed platform planks; and/or to adopting some planks. Should a convention merely ratify whatever the platform committee recommends? How close to a legislative bill should a platform plank be? During the 1970s and the 1980s much of the convention's time was spent on platform plank debate, with the only formal outcome being the rejection of a very few controversial planks; and the formal "adoptions" of the vast majority of planks. Methods were developed to mix debate on platform planks with aspects of the election processes; with members of Committees on Rules and Nominations not being able to be much involved in the platform process because they were counting ballots.
#11. Became concerned about the concentration of power in excessive ways
After the 1976 State Convention the re-election of all Officers of the State Democratic Party again took about six minutes with no contested election for an officer of the State Central Committee. In 1976 I again served as Secretary of the State Rules Committee, as Secretary of the State Convention in 1976, and also served as the Iowa Representative on the National Platform Committee at three of about five national meetings --- initially at the initiative of The State Chair, Tom Whitney, with the concurrence of the State Central Committee; and subsequently with the support of the Delegation to the National Convention --- before the delegation could agree on whom to elect as their Chair, because the Delegation to the National Convention was very evenly split between two major Presidential candidates, with one member supporting a minor candidate for President.
My focus at the three (out of about five) National Platform Committee meetings which I attended was upon moving towards some form of priority voting in setting platform priorities. At one point the Platform Committee Chair in effect encouraged me to initiate a demonstration process at the meeting we were at. In light of an unfortunate exclusion of the press from meetings of the select drafting committee (I was an observer therein) I thought that attempting a demonstration process would risk throwing away the presidential election, and consulted with Joe Duffy and Steward Eizenstat, right-hand-men to Jimmy Carter. They shared my concerns. I did not attempt to carry out a demonstration process for that reason and because I lacked rights to full staff support in the effort. I was successful, however, in adding language to the National Platform pertaining to the energy crisis and pertaining to the concentration of high quality essential rare mineral deposits in South Africa --which was then officially segregated.
During 1978 I continued to serve as Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party until the end of the State Convention where I served as Secretary of the Convention. I chose for family reasons not to run for re-election to a third two-year term as State Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party, the most active state party in the nation. At my last meeting of the State Central Committee U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale showed up. I do not remember that any explanation for his presence was given. It was he who handed me my formal and framed retirement paper.
There was a Mid-Term-National-Conference in 1978 which focused upon national party issues. There were to be numerous workshops on various topics, and at my initiative the National Party created a workshop on "The Platform Process" and, at my suggestion, I was included as one of about six panelists who led the workshop. At that workshop I sat next to Orlie Winnograd who had chaired a National Reform Commission which was named the Winnograd Commission. The Central Committee of the Iowa Democratic Party had on two occasions communicated its grave displeasure with certain efforts by the Winnograd Commission to make it easy for the incumbent President to win the next nomination for President within the Democratic Party. On the second occasion the State Central Committee as its last formal action authorized me, and any other members of the State Central Committee who cared to work with me, following the formal meeting to the full committee --- to write the second statement of displeasure on behalf of the full committee, and to send it to all members of the National Central Committee of the Democratic Party in the USA.
During the years 1978 - 2003 I continued to be active in the Caucus Convention process, with some exceptions toward the end, serving as the Secretary or Chair of the Committees on Rules and Nominations at the Linn County Conventions, Congressional District Conventions and the State Conventions. At the State Conventions I sometimes served as one of the Co-Chairs of the State Rules Committee; and once upon formal request chaired a bit of the State Convention itself with another Co-Chair of the Rules Committee who was more experienced than I was with such duties.
During the years 1968 - 2003 I served as Parliamentarian to all but a very few of the Chairs of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee. In recent years when a new Chair is elected everybody tacitly assumes that I will be willing to continue serving as the Parliamentarian, and nothing is said about that question.
In summary, I have served in the following capacities. Details may not be accurate in all cases but the overall pattern is about right. 1968-1972 Chair of Linn County chapter, Iowa Democratic Conference, member State Board. 1972 Chief Teller of the State Convention when weighted voting was first used
1974: Secretary of Committees of Rules at County and District Conventions; Secretary of the State Democratic Party's Constitution Revision Committee; Secretary of the State Convention's Committee on Rules; Secretary of State Convention as a whole; Parliamentarian to State Convention's Chair; Secretary of the State Central Committee, elected unopposed from off committee; Secretary to a Special Committee of Platform Process after the State Convention
1976: Secretary of Committees of Rules at County and District Conventions; Secretary of State Central Committee, re-elected unopposed; Secretary of the State Convention of the Iowa Democratic Party; Platform Committee member of the National Democratic Party Convention
1978: Secretary on Rules at County, District, and State Conventions; Secretary of the State Convention of the Iowa Democratic Party; Delegate to the midterm National Convection of the Democratic Party; Initiator of, and a member of, a panel on the Platform Process at the National midterm convention -- used by Latinos as a caucus context.
I chose for family reasons not to run for re-election to a third two-year term as State Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party, the most active state party in the nation. About this period of time the Convention Committees on Rules and the Convention Committees on Nominations were combined by a change in the State Party Constitution; into Committees on Rules and Nominations; to expedite overlapping duties.
1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994: Usually served as Secretary to Rules Committees at County and District Conventions; early-on I served a few times also as Secretary to the Convention and/or as Parliamentarian. 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 Played the central role in initiating the prioritization of platform planks at District and State Conventions, including the formalization of the rules governing the process, the writing of computer programs to process the votes, in keeping with the moving target of what political committees of the day favored, and the personal over sight of the use of voting machines, collecting the data, entering the data into computers, and analyzing the data to report the results to the delegates of the State Convention. Prioritization did not endure at District Conventions, even though there were experimental processes at all District Conventions in 1976, 1978 and 1996. There was an experimental process at the Mahaska County convention in 1996 preparatory to the experimental formal process at the 1996 District Conventions. Prioritization of platform planks became generally accepted during the four State Conventions during the period of 1996-2002. Somewhat different technologies were used each year, but the basic concept of the rules remained quite stable.
From September 1964 to May 1999 I served as a professor of physics at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, initiated main-frame computing there, chaired committees on computer policies, library, teacher education, student petitions, and was Secretary of the Faculty for a brief time. From about 1973-1985 I served as the Iowa Representative on the National Council of the American Association of Physics Teacher (High School, College and University Teachers). In 1983 I traveled in the company of about two dozen physics leaders to Russian and Chinese universities to see how physics was being taught there.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s I served three years as Vice-Moderator of East Iowa Presbytery, Moderator of East Iowa Presbytery, Moderator of the Council and Executive Committee of East Iowa Presbytery; then for one year as the Moderator of a newly formed Administrative Unit, following a major re-organization of East Iowa Presbytery. Many administrative responsibilities were concentrated in the new unit.
Starting with a sabbatical in 1974 and to the present time I have been engaged in writing 7000 essays on topics related to my trans-disciplinary involvements. They may be accessioned through my web site at http://www.essayz.com. Essays which may be found there reflect my interwoven involvement in the academic/scholarly/research/teaching physics, political, religious, local, and family communities.
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