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Byrd Center, Lifelong Learning Program help sponsor January 24 civic education forum

ISSUED: 18 January 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning Program and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education are among the sponsors of a non-partisan, non-political civic education forum that will focus on the many roles that Jefferson County’s elected public officials play in the community. The forum, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Wednesday, January 24, at 7 p.m. at Fisherman’s Hall, 321 South West St., Charles Town.

Neal Barkus, Esq. will moderate the information-based forum, which will include several Jefferson County officials—a magistrate, circuit and family court judges, the prosecuting attorney, and the sheriff. The panelists will discus the duties and responsibilities of their offices rather than specific political issues and participate in a question and answer session.

The forum is the first 2018 event in the ongoing civic education series that launched last fall with several successful events at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. The series was developed through the cooperative efforts of the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, Shepherd’s Lifelong Learning program, the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Branch of the NAACP, the Republican Party of Jefferson County, the Libertarian Party of West Virginia, and the Mountain Party (the West Virginia affiliate of the U.S. Green Party).

“The success of the fall events revealed that interest in basic civic education is on the rise, especially at the state and federal level,” said Ray Smock, director of the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education and former historian at the U.S. House of Representatives. “With this event, we wanted to shift the focus to provide an opportunity for Jefferson County residents to learn more about how their local government functions and the duties their local elected officials are tasked with in a friendly, informative, and non-partisan environment.”

A second forum focusing on Jefferson County’s administrative officials is being planned for March.

The mission of the Robert C. Byrd Center is to advance representative democracy by promoting a better understanding of the United States Congress and the Constitution through programs and research that engage citizens in the history of Congress. The Center is the home of the Robert C. Byrd Archive containing the papers and records of the Senator’s long career. More can be found at

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