Deb Thornton
As an analyst for the Public Interest Institute since 2007 I have been published in over 100 newspapers statewide, both daily and weeklies, and have been a guest on a wide variety of radio shows.  The Iowa City Press-Citizen asked me to joing their "writers group," with a monthly guest column, about a year ago.
Recent topics I've written on include college costs and student loan debt – at both the undergraduate and graduate level, K-12 education reform, school choice, doughnut districts, and expanded open enrollment, the proposed passenger train to Iowa City, and state government tax and expenditure limits.  Additionally, I am the editor of the “Iowa Economic Scorecard” and “Facts and Opinions,” quarterly publications of the Public Interest Institute. My recent policy study, “’A Great Devourer of Good Men,’ and Women” on the enormous student loan debt being accumulated by law students in Iowa and nationally is being published in "Before the Paper Chase: The Scholarship of Law School Preparation and Admissions" by Carolina Academic Press later in 2011. I was also responsible for organization, advance, and publicity for three town halls on healthcare reform held by PII in 2009, in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport, Iowa.  My professional experience includes program administration and operations, government relations, marketing and business development, and I have taught business courses in Marketing and Consumer Behavior at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant. My family and I lived in New Mexico for ten years, where we owned of Fred’s Famous Flowers, a full-service retail florist in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We had three locations, over $750,000 in annual sales, and 15 employees - so I qualify as a small business owner, with real experience meeting a payroll and paying taxes! In addition I worked three years as a senior technology transfer specialist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos.  When we lived in Washington, DC I worked as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of OSHA at the U.S. Labor Department, working primarily with agriculture safety and health farmer outreach, and administrative operations.  As the daughter of a farmer, it made sense for me to focus on agriculture issues. I hold an MBA from the University of Maryland, which I earned on a part-time basis - paying for it with cash only!  My BA degree is from Indiana University with a double major in Political Science and Journalism. My husband, Edgar, is currently serving with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan as a Deputy Director of the Office of Infrastructure, Energy and Engineering in Kabul.  Our daughter is a college student at Kirkwood Community College and Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and our son is a sophomore at City High School.  I appreciate your prayers and support for all of them and their safety, professional, and academic efforts!  As well as for mine....  We have lived in Iowa City since 2003, when we moved here to help provide support to my husband's parents as they were in poor health.
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