Women's Democratic Forum Speakers


Founded in 1987, serving St Louis for 30 years,  WDF brought distinguished speakers to our meetings to provide a political education for our members.


Senator Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia
Joseph Rauh Jr., attorney, founder, Americans for Democratic Action
Senator Paul Sarbannes, Maryland 

Senator John Kerry, Massachusetts
Senator Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
Missouri State Candidates
Marianne Meanes, columnist, Hearst Publications
Representative Patricia Schroeder, Colorado



  Marion Burros, author and columnist, The New York Times

RepresentativeAlan Wheat, Missouri

Senator William Proxmire, Wisconsin

Senator Paul Simon, Illinois
Senator Carl Levin, Michigan
Senator Dale Bumpers, Arkansas
Gaylord Nelson, former U.S. Senator, Wisconsin, founder of Earth Day
Senator Joseph Biden, Delaware

Padrig O’Malley, Irish author   
Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate, District of Columbia, U. S. Congress
Senator Wyche Fowler, Georgia
Senator Tom Harkin, Iowa
Henry Berger, Professor of History, Washington University
Neil Seitz, Professor of Economics, St. Louis University
Marian Wright Edeleman, Chairman, Children's Defense Fund, Washington,DC
Calvin Trillin, author, humorist, columnist, The New Yorker
Senator Tim Wirth, Colorado
Representative Richard Gephardt, Missouri, Majority Leader U.S. House
   St. Louis Media Panel: Who's life Is It Anyway?


Nan Robertson, author, columnist, The New York Times

 Mayor Vincent Schoemehl, Lt. Governor Mel Carnahan, candidates Mo gov.

Senator Bob Kerrey, Nebraska
David Broder, syndicated columnist, The Washington Post


Sarah Weddington, attorney, Roe vs. Wade
Sarah Brady, President, Hand Gun Control Inc.
Ellen Malcolm, founder, Emily's List
Paul Duke, moderator, "Washington Week in Review"
Admiral William E. Crowe, former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
David Halberstam, journalist and author, The Best and The Brightest 
Paul Tsongas, former U. S. Senator, Massachusetts
Jack Nelson, Los Angeles Times Bureau Chief
Peter Hart, Democratic pollster
Senator Barbara Boxer, California
Representative Alan Wheat and County Executive, Marsha Murphy,candidates:U.S. Senate
Richard Moe, President National Trust for Historic Preservation
Ellen Miller, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics
Paul Simon Senator Illinois

Doris Kearns Goodwin, author, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

 Thomas Edsall,political correspondent,The Washington Post

 LowellWeicker, former U.S. Senator and former Governor of Connecticut

Gloria W. White,Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Washington University, and delegate to the Beijing Women's Conference

Susan Dentzer, chief economic correspondent, U. S. and World Report
Morris Dees, CO-founder, Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama
Ann Lewis, Deputy Director & Director of Communications, Clinton/Gore re-elec
Thomas Eagleton, former U. S. Senator, Missouri
Missouri Women Candidates for elective office in '96
U. S. Congress 2nd District.....................Joan Kelly Horn
U. S. Congress 8th District..................... Emily Firebaugh
Missouri Secretary of State.....................Rebecca Cook

 Moderator.............................................Harriett Woods

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U. S. Surgeon General, Clinton Administration 
Dr. Barbara Monsees, Director of Breast Imaging, Barnes-Jewish-Hospital
Honorable Karen McCarthy, U.S. Representative 5th District, Missouri
  Andrew Hacker, author, "Money, Who has how much and Why" 
 Mark Shields, Political Analyst
Diane Rehm, National Public Radio talk show host, "The Diane Rehm Show"
Dr. William Danforth, Desegregation Coordinator for the St. Louis public schools.
Three Women of Jerusalem speak of Peace.
Children at Risk; Reaching and Teaching our Urban Children. Dr. Earl Hobbs
Geraldine Ferarro, candidate U.S. Senate, New York
  Linda Greenhouse, Supreme Court Correspondent, New York Times

 Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon

Former Senator George Mitchell, Maine
Ann Blackman, author
Norm J. Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute
Former Senator Dale Bumpers
Georgie Anne Geyer
Haynes Johnson, journalist
Professor Gerald Early, Ph.D., Washington University
Bill Shore, founder, Save our Strengths, (SOS)
Charles Guggenheim, documentary filmmaker
Former Senators John Danforth and Tom Eagleton, A new kind sales tax, for the city

James Symington, former Missouri congressman
Governor Mel Carnahan, candidate U.S.Senate. Bob Holden, candidate Gov.
Peter Hart, Democratic pollster
Michael Beschloss, Presidential Historian
Jane Aiken, Law Professor, Director, Civil Justice Clinic, Washington University

Judith Lichtman, President, National Partnership for Women and Families
  David McCullogh historian Pulitzer Prize winning author (John Adams, Truman)

J Brian Atwood   President Citizens International


Mayor Francis G. Slay St Louis

 Moshe Ram consul General of Israel to the Midwest 

Jan Crawford Greenberg, national legal affairs correspondent Chicago Times

Peter Beinart, Editor, the New Republic

Michael Beschloss author, The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany


Steve Roberts author, journalist, commentator

 Wendy Sherman Principal The Albright Group

Walter Pincus   investigative reporter, The Washington Post 

John Newhouse Senior Fellow Center for Defense Information

Paul Krugman author, Professor of Economics, Princeton University, columnist, the New York Times

Joe Conason, National correspondent   The New York Observer

Kevin Phillips   political and economic writer and commentator

Claire McCaskell MO Auditor substitute for Jean Carnahan

Jessica Tuchman Mathews   President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Robert Rubin Director, Citigroup and former Secty of the Treasury 

Terry Karl   MA Ph.D. Professor of Political Science, Stanford University



Marie Wilson founder and President, The White House Project

  Gary Wills, Historian, author, Pulitzer Prize Winner

Leslie Gelb former columnist, The New York Times, President, Council on Foreign Relations  
Debbie Stabanow Senator Michigan

Sabah Al-Jadooa, Iraq citizen living in Baghdad, Advisor to Ministry of Education 

Susan Wood 

Diane Rehm, host, The Diane Rehm Show   NPR


Catherine Allgore A Perfect Union 

Dr William Danforth and Cynthia Kramer Stem Cell in MO 

Susan Montee, candidate, State auditor

Glutens Ilhan, Islam Today

Christopher Dickey Newsweek reporte

James Bennet, New York times Reporter and Editor Atlantic

Charles Burson
former General Council to VP Al Gore

  Terry McAulife Political Advisor

Fatimah Kaz    WU Iranian Professor
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: Former governor of Maryland
Roy Neel: Organizer Live Earth; former chief of staff to Al Gore
Paul Krugman Economist Princeton University



Jeffrey Toobin: Journalist, CNN Political correspondent

Paul Glastris: Editor Washington Monthly

Linda Greenhouse: Journalist, NY Times Supreme Court 

Paul Shenon: Journalist, NY Times, Author: The 9/11 Commission

Jay Nixon, Candidate MO Governor, & the Top of the ticket candidates

John Zogby: Pollster
Madeleine Albright: former Secretary of State under Clinton

  David Konig: Professor Political Science Washington University substitute for Peter Galbraith


  Philip M. Dine:former reporter for the St. Louis Dispatch in Washington, D.C. Dine is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist; a noted speaker on Labor and its decline, and author of the 2008 book, “State of the Unions.” He is one the few journalists who continues to write about the Labor movement, which he believes can strengthen the middle class, improve the economy, and regain political influence  


John Diamond:His history of the post-Cold War CIA draws on both his academic background in U.S. foreign policy studies and his 25 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism covering congress, the Pentagon, State Department and CIA. He has reported
from Bosnia, Iraq and some 40 other countries for The Chicago Tribune and USA Today.
Stuart Greenbaum:  an expert on banking and financial markets. The former Dean of the Olin School, he has testified on numerous occasions before Congressional committees and other legislative bodies. Before coming to St. Louis he was at the Kellogg School, Northwestern University, where he was director of the Banking Research Center.
Linda Greenhouse:  Author;    Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who covered the United States Supreme Court for nearly three decades for the The New York Times.
David Brooks:  Op-Ed Columnist for the NY Times, senior editor at Weekly Standard,  contributing editor at Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly and commentator on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.

Senator Jean Carnahan   A politician and writer who served in the United States Senate from 2001 to 2003.  She was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat of her posthumously elected husband, becoming the first woman to represent Missouri in the Senate.  (Substitute for Senator Claire McCaskill) ** Note 2004 Speaker list when Auditor Claire McCaskill substituted for Senator Jean Carnahan


Bill Wolffe:  Vice President of MSNBC and Executive Producer of the Rachel Maddow Show. Bill graduated from Clayton High School and Harvard University.

Ambassador Louis Susman:   U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St James

Helen Thomas:   News service reporter, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, member of the White House Press Corps, and author.

Ken Rudin:  NPR's political editor, Mr. Rudin contributes to a variety of NPR programs.. Rudin also cohosts a weekly podcast called It's All Politics, a segment called The Political Junkie on the NPR program Talk of the Nation and writes a column of the same name for npr.org

Nicholas Kristof: born April 27, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois,   is an American journalist, author, op-edcolumnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since November 2001 and is widely known for bringing to light human rights abuses in Asia and Africa, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict in the book he co-authored with his wife:   Half the Sky  

 Bill Kovach:    American journalist, former Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, former editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and co-author of the popular book, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and The Public Should Expect.



Sally Blackmun     attorney and Women’s rights advocate, continues the legacy of her late father, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun.  

Professor Sidney Watson:   specialist in health law and health care access for the poor. She has spent her legal career advocating on behalf of low-income people, both as a legal services lawyer and as a law professor.  She served on the National Health Law Program Task Force on Civil Rights and Health Care Reform during the Clinton Health Reform Initiative

Michael Waldman : Executive Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a policy institute focusing on democracy and justice. Mr. Waldman was Director of Speechwritig for President Bill Clinton from 1995-99, responsible for writing or editing some 2000 presidential speeches. Previously, he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination (1993-5). He is author of several books, most recently  Return to Common Sense: Seven Bold Ways to Revitalize Democracy(2008), My Fellow Americans (2003) and POTUS Speaks (2000).


Leonard Pitts, Jr.:  journalist, novelist, nationally-syndicated columnist and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.  He has won awards for his writing from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and was first nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, eventually claiming the honor in 2004.


David Axelrod: served as senior advisor to President Barack H. Obama, senior advisor to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition and senior strategist to Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency.


  Iver Bernstein:  a leading historian of the American Civil War and of the United States in the 19th century. He is the author of The New York City Draft Riots (Oxford, 1990, recently published in a new edition). He is completing a new book, Stripes & Scars: The Revitalization of America and the Origins of the Civil War, also to be published by Oxford


Joe Nocera:    Before joining The Opinion Pages in April 2011, Joe Nocera wrote the Talking Business column for The New York Times each Saturday and was a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.  In addition to his work at the Times, he serves as a regular business commentator for NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon 

Lilly Ledbetter:   Grace and Grit: My Fight for equal pay at Goodyear and beyond.

In 1979, Lilly was hired for her dream job in management at Goodyear, one of the first women hired at that level. Nineteen years later, Lilly received an anonymous note saying she was making thousands less per year than men in her position. Lilly's fight to right this injustice would change her life forever, and make her a true American icon. When she filed a sex discrimination case against Goodyear, Lilly won--and then heartbreakingly lost on appeal. Over the next eight years her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost again. And yet Lilly continued to fight, her determination becoming a victory for the nation when she became the namesake of Obama's first piece of legislation as president


Donna Brazile   An American author, professor, and political analyst affiliated with the Democratic Party. She was the first African American to direct a major presidential campaign, for Al Gore in 2000. Brazile briefly served as interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee in the spring of 2011. Brazile guest-starred in two episodes of The Good Wife.


Bill Bradley:   An American Hall of Fame Basketball player, Rhodes Scholar, and former three-term Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey.

 Claire  McCaskill  is the senior United States Senator from Missouri . In 2006 she became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri in her own right. She became the state's senior U.S. Senator upon the retirement of Kit Bond in 2011 and is running for re-election


  Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky  is an adjunct faculty member at theUniversity of Pennsylvania and a women's right activist. She is a former journalist and a former politician for the Democratic Party. From 1993 to 1995 she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania


   William Chafe  is the former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and former Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Duke University and is currently an Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History. Chafe is cofounder of the Duke-UNC Center for Research on Women, the Duke Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations, and the Duke Center for Documentary Studies.


John Meachem:  Author of Thomas Jefferson:The Art of Power.

Meachem is executive editor and vice president of Random House.  He was former editor of Newsweek magazine.  Meachem has won a Pulitzer Prize and is a best selling author and commentator.  He is a contributing editor at Time Magazine and  editor-at-large of WNET Public Media,  the New York public television station.


Alan Blinder:  

 Professor Blinder has been on the Princeton faculty since 1971, taking time off from 1993 to 1996 to serve on President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors and then as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Arianna Huffinton: 

 Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books.  In 2012, the web-site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

Linda Cottler

Professor and Chairman of Epidemiology at University of Florida.  Professor Cottler researches patterns in sex trafficking.

Madeline Kunin

First female governor of Vermont, Diplomat, and Ambassador to Switzerland.  Governor Kunin authored the book Feminist Agenda: Defining the next revolution for Women, Work, and Family.

 Timothy McBride  

 Dr McBride is currently a Professor and Associate Dean of Public Health at Washington University. He is an influential health policy analyst and economist shaping the national agenda in health care, health insurance and health reform


Alison Stewart

Alison Stewart is an American Radio and TV Journalist and Author.  She formerly hosted the TED radio hour and the PBS news magazine, Need to Know.   She is the author of the book  First Class, The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black High School. 

 Mark Leibovich

American Journalist and Author.  He is chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine.   Based in Washington DC, he is known for his profiles of political and media figures. His book is titled:  This Town:  Two Parties and a Funeral.


  Valerie Plame Wilson

 Valerie Plame Wilson is a former CIA Operations Officer. She is the author of a memoir detailing her career and the events leading up to her resignation from the CIA

 Jolie Justus

 Jolie Jusus is the former Minority Leader of the Missouri House of Representatives and the first openly gay member serving in that body.  She is a tireless voice for Missouri's most vulnerable citizens


Jane Harmon

Director, President and CEO of the Wilson Center for Scholars.  One of the founding members off the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11.  She represented California's 36th district in the US Congress from 1993 to 1999 and 2000 until 2011.

John Ashford

Chairman and CEO of the Hawthorne Group  He is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies, and a member of the American Association of Political Consultants.


Gail Sheehy :

Gail Sheey is an author, journalist and lecturer.  She authored  more than 17 books, including Passages, which the Library of Congress named as one of the ten most influential books of our times.

 Judge Michael Wolff

Dean of St Louis University Law School,  former Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.

 Eliza Griswold

 Eliza Griswold  is  an award winning poet and reporter whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's,and the New Republic . She won a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She received her Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing work on water and poverty in America. She has held fellowships at Harvard University and at the New American Foundation. Her collection of reportage and translations of Afghan Folk Poetry,I Am the Beggar of the World, was published in 2014.   Eliza followed the story of a young Afghan poet who set herself on fire because she was forbidden to write poetry. The young Afghan girl called herself Muska, which means "smile".  Muska wrote in secret and called into a poetry hotline to read her poems aloud each week.  When her brothers found her poems, they ripped up her notebooks and beat her.  When they forbid her from writing, Muska determined to kill herself.  Eliza comments, "suicide, like writing poetry became a horrific form of self-expression".

 Dr Jill Biden

Dr Biden is an American educator and married 

to the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, making her the second lady of the United States.   She works to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families and to highlight the importance of community colleges, and to raise awareness of the importance of women.1981

 Vice President Walter Mondale

  Walter Mondale served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States from 1977-1981 under President Jimmy Carter and as a United States Senator from Minnesota from 1964-1976.  He was the Democratic Party's presidential candidate in the United States presidential election of 1984.

Catherine Allan  

For more than 30 years, Catherine Allan has been an outstanding leader in technology strategy and financial services.  Her topic, Cyber Security is important for our personal and our country's safety.


Kansas City Mayor Sly James and St Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce

The mayor of Kansas City and the St Louis Circuit Attorney spoke on Gun Violence.

 Lee  Epstein  

Professor  Washington University of Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court.   

Tom Lavin  

Jungian Analyst spoke on "The Trump Phenomena.  

 Ken Rudin   

 American Radio Journalist

Mark Shields:  

American political columnist and commentator

 Amy Walter:

 American political analyst currently serving as national editor of the Cook Political Report.



Doris Kearns Goodwin

World-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer-Prize winning author 




January 24, 2020