Elsie Hillman Civic Forum

Speaker Bios

Polarization vs. The Planet


Gordon R. Mitchell, PhD Associate Professor; Department of Communications and Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  Gordon Mitchell’s scholarship on rhetoric and argumentation, focusing on military and healthcare contexts, has been recognized with awards from the national communication association and American forensics association. Author of strategic deception: rhetoric, science and politics in missile defense advocacy (Michigan state university press), he has published over 40 articles and book chapters in leading scholarly outlets. Mitchell’s research on missile defense has been presented at invited talks in venues such as the World Policy Institute, the Belgian Royal Defense College, and the U.S. Congress, while his scholarship on intelligence analysis has been featured in nationally syndicated op-eds, policy briefs, and official government reports.

Previously chair (2011-2013), Director of Graduate Studies (2009-2011), and Director of the Debating Union (1995-2006) In the Department of Communication, Mitchell’s other leadership roles at the university of Pittsburgh have included assistant dean of the university honors college (2014-2017), associate director of the humanities center (2011-2012), and deputy director of the Matthew B. Ridgway center for international security studies (2007-2008).

Mitchell is recipient of the chancellor’s distinguished teaching award, the David and Tina Bellet teaching excellence award, the provost’s innovation in education award, and has directed some 14 PhD dissertations and served on over 30 doctoral committees at the university of Pittsburgh. In his 21 years as a debate educator Mitchell’s teams won three national championships and he convened hundreds of public debates structure, football concussions, soda taxes, human rights amnesty and transportation funding.  He also taught the first generation of high school teachers in the Urban Debate League, a nation-wide initiative to expand policy debating in U.S. urban centers in the 1990s.


Bob Inglis, Founder and Executive Director of RepublicEn.org, an educational initiative based at George Mason University. At republicEn.org, Bob leads educational programming on the power of free-enterprise solutions to climate change. A growing community of over 3,800 “RepublicEns” is dedicated to building an #ecoRight movement to apply conservative principles to climate action. 

Bob was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1992, having never run for office before. He represented Greenville-Spartanburg, South
Carolina, from 1993-1998, unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings in 1998, and then returned to the practice of commercial real estate law in Greenville, S.C. In 2004, he was re-elected to Congress and served until losing re-election in the South Carolina Republican primary of 2010. 

Since departing Congress, Bob has worked full-time through republicEn.org to advance conservative solutions to climate change. For his leadership, Bob was awarded the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. He is featured in the film Merchants of Doubt and the series Years of Living Dangerously (episodes 3 and 4). Bob was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics in 2011, a Visiting Energy Fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2012, and a Resident Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics in 2014. 


Yoram Bauman, PhD Founder, Non-Profit Comedy and Carbon Washington.  Yoram Bauman makes a living as “the world’s first and only stand-up economist”, but he is also a PhD environmental economist who founded Carbon Washington, which in 2016 placed the first-ever carbon tax measure on the ballot in the United States. Yoram is the co-author of the Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, the two-volume Cartoon Introduction to Economics, and the 1998 book Tax Shift, which was written with Alan Durning of Sightline Institute and helped inspire the revenue-neutral carbon tax in British Columbia. Yoram recently moved to Salt Lake City from Seattle; he has a BA in mathematics from Reed College and a PhD in economics from the University of Washington. His website is www.standupeconomist.com.