I am an assistant professor in the Department of Politics & Government at Illinois State University.
My research is focused on direct democracy in the U.S. In particular, I'm interested in the relationship between state legislatures and ballot measures. That is, why have some states placed heavy restrictions on the public's ability to use the initiative process while other legislatures have remained relatively hands-off?
I also study congressional elections and representation. I look at factors that determine whether candidates speak clearly or ambiguously on key issues of the day. For instance, are all candidates are able to employ ambiguous rhetoric to avoid public accountability for broken campaign promises? Or is this strategy of ambiguity viable only for candidates of a particular race or gender? Furthermore, how might strategic position-taking shape public beliefs about a candidate's integrity and ability to represent the constituency?
In my spare time, I work to develop free web applications and software to make life easier for academics (e.g. organizing conferences, online peer review for smaller journals, customized web-scrapers, and text analysis).