Second Friday finale to focus on politics, 2018 primaries

By Edward Dolnick

Special to the Rappahannock News

The Second Friday Talks will wrap up the 2017-18 season on May 11 (8 p.m. at the Rappahannock County Library) with a focus on politics and the 2018 primaries.

Stephen Brooks and Al Regnery will predict the election outcomes and debate the issues. Both men are Rappahannock residents with long careers as political observers. Brooks is a liberal, Regnery a conservative.

The two have joined forces before, in co-teaching several remarkably successfully RappU courses. They are ideological rivals who have found a way to carry on sophisticated and civil debates.

Regnery is an attorney and publisher. He has practiced law in the midwest and in Washington, D.C., and served as Minority Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and subsequently served for six years in the Reagan Justice Department.

He was president of his family’s publishing business for 20 years and published 23 New York Times bestsellers, including Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up and Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent inside the Clinton White House, both of which were #1 bestsellers.

Regnery remains active in conservative politics. He has lived in Virginia since 1978 and in Rappahannock since 2012.

Stephen Brooks is a native Virginian, courtesy of a U.S. Navy maternity ward in Portsmouth. After a childhood in West Virginia and a career in New York, he returned to Virginia in 2014. His mother was from Kentucky and his father from West Virginia. Both were New Deal Democrats who were particularly devoted to Eleanor Roosevelt; Brooks says this background may explain how he came by his political views.

In New York, he practiced public interest law, private law, and served twice in the state government. In one important case in the 1970s, Brooks sued the state of Mississippi when it terminated the Food Stamps program in a rural county. The shutdown targeted poor — and mostly black — Mississippians. It drew national attention, and Brooks won.

The talk is free. All are welcome.

Dolnick is a writer who lives in Rappahannock

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