September 15, 2011

Public policy Institute to host ‘Pizza and Politics’

by Pete Rosenbery

Sheila Simon

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute kicks off this year’s “Pizza and Politics” seminars on Monday, Sept. 19, with discussions on counterintelligence and on participation by women in the political process.

John P. Andrews, director of counterintelligence for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will discuss his experiences in the intelligence community at 11:45 a.m.  Then, at 5 p.m., Sheila Simon, Illinois lieutenant governor and a former assistant clinical professor at the SIU School of Law, will be part of a session that focuses on challenges that face women in politics.

Both sessions will be in the Institute lobby, 1231 Lincoln Drive, in the Forestry Building.  The events are free. To register, contact project coordinator Christina Rich at 618/453-4078 or by email at

Media Availability

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the “Pizza and Politics” sessions for both John Andrews and Sheila Simon.  For more information, contact Matt Baughman, associate director, at 618/453-4009 or 618/201-0082.

“It will be a busy day at the Institute because we have two very good and very different guest speakers for our Pizza and Politics series,” said David Yepsen, director.

“John Andrews is a top counter-terrorism official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Anyone who is interested in national security and terrorism questions will enjoy his insider’s presentation,” Yepsen said.

And anyone who is interested in pursing a political career, particularly women, will not want to miss Simon’s presentation in a “Women in Politics” installment, which Yepsen said is designed to help people prepare to become candidates and run successful campaigns.

Andrews’ career spans 25 years since he earned his bachelor’s degree from SIUC in 1986 in International Studies.  In Andrews’ current post, which began in August 2010, he is responsible for providing direction and guidance to the Department of Homeland Security’s counterintelligence effort.  Prior to that, he was on the staff of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and has extensive experience in counterintelligence, national defense, law enforcement and international security.  A former intelligence officer with the U.S. Department of Defense, Andrews began his career in 1987 as a special agent with the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Bureau.

Andrews also has a master’s degree in political science from Norwich University.  He is also a graduate of the Army Management Staff College and Air War College.

 Simon is the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. and Institute founder Paul Simon and the late Jeanne Simon. In November 2010, she became the first female Democrat elected Illinois lieutenant governor, a position also once held by her father. Simon began her work at the law school in November 1998 as a staff attorney in the clinical law program, directing the domestic violence clinic.  She taught in the SIU law school’s lawyering skills program from 2000 to 2010.  Simon also served four years on the Carbondale City Council and served on Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Reform Commission, which helped pass the first campaign contribution limits under state law.

Simon said she is always happy to return home, to both SIUC and Carbondale, and she loves the Institute’s focus on making political participation more accessible.

“I hope to share with people how easy it is to get involved,” Simon said.

Simon said a pivotal component is realizing that “good leadership involves listening, not just talking.”

As for difficulties she has faced as a female candidate, Simon said, “There are some gender stereotypes out there that I hope will fade away.”

“And money plays a more prominent role than I would like,” she said.  “But at the same time I’m encouraged by the support for raising our ethical standards.  I’m an advocate for better transparency in government, and I think that idea is catching on.”

For more information on any of these programs, contact the Institute at 618/453-4009 or visit