Robert Costa, a national political reporter with The Washington Post and moderator and managing editor for PBS’s “Washington Week,” said “Fresno, California is a hotspot on the political map this year.”

“The Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee comes from the state and Washington is closely tracking how the agriculture community is faring during a global pandemic,” said Costa, who is also a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. “Issues from the economy to immigration continue to be at the forefront of the Fresno debate and of our national debate.”

Costa will be the featured speaker for a first-ever virtual version of the President’s Lecture Series at Fresno State, less than a month before the 2020 presidential election.

The President’s Lecture with Costa is scheduled from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. It’s free to participate, by visiting Zoom at the time of the event.

“As the nation heads into the most consequential presidential election in recent history, hearing Robert’s insights from his years reporting on national politics will be intriguing and informative,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “Hopefully this opportunity will provide us with greater understanding of the issues and dynamics leading into the election.”

Following his presentation, Costa will address inquiries from the audience in a question-and-answer session to be moderated by Patti Waid, director of University Communications, based on questions submitted by audience members.

The President’s Lecture Series features prominent national guests invited to campus by Castro. The series began in 2016.

Other national figures who have participated are New York Times columnist David Brooks (2016), presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (2016), New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman (2017), presidential historian Michael Beschloss (2018) and publishing executive Steve Forbes (2019).

Costa came to town and was a featured guest in fall 2017, 2018 and 2019. When people ask him about his favorite breakfast spot in America, he always says Jus’ Jo’s in Clovis, where diner regulars offer him feedback on his PBS show while he enjoys a hearty omelet.

“Fresno has become a second home for me in recent years, in a way that’s different from other towns I visit as a speaker or reporter,” Costa said. “And I keep coming back because of the people. From my first step on campus years ago, I have been welcomed as a friend. Dr. Castro and others have epitomized the deep appreciation at this University and in this region for the value of civics, journalism and the power of knowledge.”

The President’s Lecture Series brings speakers to campus to further inform the community on matters that affect the vitality of the Central Valley.

“The people of Fresno and the Valley are whip smart and plugged in,” Costa remarked. “They want to know the real story of what’s happening and where things are going.”

Last year, Costa provided insight on the challenging political climate for both parties. This time around, he will discuss election year politics through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the pandemic has upended American life, it has also served as a reminder of why politics and elections matter,” Costa said. “Americans are more engaged than ever about the safety and future of their communities, state and nation. They want answers and accountability, and both nominees are under pressure to deliver at this historic and tense crossroads.”

Costa’s daily reporting includes in-depth coverage of both Congress and the White House. Costa holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge.

The appearance is co-sponsored by the Fresno State Institute for Media and Public Trust, with the following media partners: The Fresno Bee, KSEE24 and Valley PBS.

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