Common ground holiday special tips

Coming Together Across Divides: Holiday Season Special Episode

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How can we connect with people who see the world differently? Get tips from some of our best episodes.

What happens when people of opposing viewpoints and diverse backgrounds work in teams, have conversations, or even sit across the table from each other at family gatherings? How do they come together, listen and have fruitful conversations?

In this special holiday episode, we share stories from past shows. Meet mother and daughter Robbie Lawler and Becca Kearl who share deep love and respect, but vote for different parties. Let psychologist Tania Israel walk you through successful ways to go beyond your bubble and get out of opinion silos and comfort zones.

Listen as race reconciliator Daryl Davis and former white supremacist Ryan Lo’Ree discuss their remarkable work to deradicalize members of hate groups. Experience how co-authors, Republican Jordan Blashek and Democrat Chris Haugh, recount their unlikely friendship that blossomed not despite, but because of their political differences and coast-to-coast road trips in an old Volvo. Hear radio and podcast journalist Ashley Ahearn explain what she learned from her new friends and neighbors after moving from progressive Seattle to conservative ranching country in rural Washington State. All on Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep. 44 Coming Together Across Divides: Holiday Season Special Episode

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Common Ground Podcast Episode 43

Hidden Progress: A More Hopeful Future

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What if we give less airtime to doom? Find out why things today aren’t as bad as we might think.

Sometimes the future can seem dark. The pandemic drags on. Climate change is upon us. Political polarization remains toxic. When stories of division fill the headlines it’s easy to feel like the only way is down.

But what if that’s not true? What if we gave less airtime to voices of doom and more to voices of hope?

Zachary Karabell is the founder of The Progress Network. Emma Varvaloucas is its executive director. The Progress Network focuses on what’s going right with the world and amplifies voices of optimism. Zachary joins us from New York and Emma from her adopted home of Greece, where she’s gained an outsider’s perspective on the US. Emma and Zachary are also the hosts of the podcast ‘What Could Go Right?’

Join us on this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, as Zachary and Emma discuss the importance of these voices and the possibilities for a more hopeful future. They also put our current time into historical context, which helps to underscore that things today aren’t really as bad as you might think.

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Ep. 43 Hidden Progress: A More Hopeful Future

Zachary Karabell

Zachary Karabell is the founder of The Progress Network. He is an author, columnist, and investor and president of River Twice Capital. Previously, he was Head of Global Strategies at Envestnet, a publicly-traded financial services firm. Prior to that, he was President of Fred Alger & Company. In addition, he ran the River Twice Fund from 2011–2013, an alternative fund that focused on sustainability.

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas, an editor and writer with over a decade’s experience in nonprofit media, is the executive director of The Progress Network. She was formerly the executive editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, the premier publication covering Buddhist news, culture, and Buddhism’s new home in the West, where she oversaw editorial strategy and production as well as the release of several new ventures, including Buddhism for Beginners.

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A Climate Scientist Makes the Case for Hope

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Can we alter the status quo on climate change? This scientist makes a case for hope.

Climate change is one of the most divisive issues in our country today. But this wasn’t the case 20 years ago. How did we get here?

Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy as well as a professor at Texas Tech University. And she’s the author of a new book called Saving Us – a Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.

In this interview, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Katharine explains how climate change became so polarizing, and how each of us can play a part in bridging the divide by starting conversations (even if we never use the words ‘climate’ and ‘change’ together.) She gives examples of how she, an evangelical Christian, talks to other Christians who may dispute the reality of climate change.

Katherine says more than 70 percent of Americans are concerned about our changing climate, but few of us are actively doing anything to alter the status quo. But doing so is easier than we think: the most important thing we can do to curb climate change is talk about it. Hear how on this fascinating episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep. 42 – A Climate Scientist Makes the Case for Hope

Katharine Hayhoe

In addition to serving as Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, Katharine Hayhoe is the Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law and Paul W. Horn Distinguished Professor at Texas Tech University. She served as a lead author for the Second, Third, and Fourth US National Climate Assessment and hosts the PBS digital series Global Weirding.

She is the Climate Ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance and has been named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People,” Fortune’s “50 Greatest Leaders,” and Foreign Policy’s “100 Leading Global Thinkers.”

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

ER doctor, Jay Baruch

How Should We Respond to the Vaccine-Hesitant? With Dr. Jay Baruch

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With hospitals full, how should we respond to the vaccine-hesitant? An ER doctor weighs in.

As an ER doctor, Jay Baruch has been treating Covid patients since the start of the pandemic. He still sees many patients sick with Covid in his ER – the vast majority unvaccinated.

It might seem reasonable for him to share the anger and frustration that many vaccinated Americans feel about the unvaxxed. While Jay (as he likes to be called) wants everyone who is eligible to get the shot, he says judgment does nothing to persuade the hesitant to get the vaccine, and that there is a better way to respond.

Jay is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. He is also a writer. He recently wrote a piece for STAT, a news site about health, medicine, and the life sciences in which he discusses his desire for a more open dialogue about vaccination, one that involves listening to people’s stories, empathizing with their concerns, and recognizing that all human beings are complicated. Listen for an enlightening approach on this episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground.”

Read more from Jay on STAT: It’s easy to judge the unvaccinated. As a doctor, I see a better alternative

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Ep. 41: How Should We Respond to the Vaccine-Hesitant? With Dr. Jay Baruch

Jay Baruch

Jay Baruch, MD, is Professor of Emergency Medicine at Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where he serves as the director of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Scholarly Concentration.

Tornado of Life: Constraints and Creativity in the ER, a book of non-fiction narrative essays, is forthcoming from MIT Press in Fall 2022. He’s also the author of two award-winning short fiction collections, What’s Left Out (Kent State University Press, 2015) and Fourteen Stories: Doctors, Patients, and Other Strangers (Kent State University Press, 2007).

Follow him on Twitter at @JBaruchMD.

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Salena Zito

Understanding Trump Voters and American Populism

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Rural communities are often ignored by the media. What really motivates these voters?

Unlike the vast majority of journalists who cover U.S. politics, columnist Salena Zito lives far away from the centers of power and wealth. Twice a year she leaves her home in western Pennsylvania and drives thousands of miles across the country on back roads, visiting towns and rural communities, many of which supported Donald Trump for President, that are so often ignored by the national media. In this episode, we learn more about the perspective of these voters.

Salena, a columnist for the Washington Examiner and the New York Post, is the author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics. She previously wrote for The Atlantic and Pittsburgh Tribune Review. While on the road, Zito goes to high school football games, attends church services and eats at local diners.

“One of the things that makes my reporting different is that I try to treat each story that I write as though I am from the locality,” she tells us.

Hear Salena’s insights on some of the perspectives of those voters who live in what she calls “the middle of somewhere.”

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Ep. 40: Understanding Trump Voters and American Populism

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political journalist for the Washington Examiner and the New York Post. She is the co-author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics. With her co-author, Brad Todd, Salena traveled over 27,000 miles of country roads to interview more than 300 Trump voters in ten swing counties.

She previously wrote for The Atlantic and spent the last 11 years at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as both a reporter and a columnist covering national politics. Before that, she worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers and held staff positions for both Democratic and Republican elected officials in Pennsylvania.

She has interviewed every president and vice president in the 21st century. In the 2016 election cycle, she interviewed 22 presidential candidates, both Democrats, and Republicans.

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Nathan Bomey

Depolarizing America: Bridge Builders. Bringing People Together.

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How can we bring people together in a polarized age? A journalist explores stories of hope.

Common Ground Committee is part of a robust and growing national movement of bridge builders, who are working to reduce incivility and toxic polarization in America today. We look in-depth at this diverse, vital coalition: Who are they and how are they tackling racial, cultural, and political schisms?

Our guest, Nathan Bomey, is a reporter for USA Today, and author of the new book, Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age. In this interview, we hear more about people from many walks of life who are building the structure of a new, more united America.

“Despite its transformational qualities, bridge building often attracts considerable resistance,” says Bomey. “In many cases, that’s because bridges promise to disrupt the status quo for people who previously benefited from or preferred social isolation.”

This episode looks at a way forward.

Learn more about the bridge-building groups mentioned in this episode:

  • The Everyday Projects uses photography to challenge the stereotypes that distort our understanding of the world.
  • Be the Bridge is a Christian group led by Latasha Morrison that seeks to empower anti-racist bridge builders.
  • Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project creates bridges of communication, understanding and support between Americans and Iraqis in response to decades of sanctions, war, and occupation.
  • Common Ground Committee is a member of Bridge Alliance, a community of more than a hundred organizations across the country.

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Ep. 39: Depolarizing America – Bridge Builders. Bringing People Together.

Nathan Bomey

Nathan Bomey is a reporter for USA TODAY and the author of three nationally published nonfiction books, including most recently Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age (2021, Polity Press). Bridge Builders features insights from Americans who are overcoming their differences, whether it’s politics, race, religion, class or culture.

Before joining USA TODAY in 2015, Nathan was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press and several newspapers in his home state of Michigan. His first book, Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back (2016, W.W. Norton & Co.), chronicles the saga of the city’s historic bankruptcy. His second book, After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump (2018, Prometheus), explores the implications of the misinformation age.

A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Nathan is the winner of several national journalism awards, including the National Headliner Award and various honors from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. You can follow him on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

race relations podcast

Monuments and Marriage: The Most Personal Lessons About Race

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To find common ground on improving race relations, start with personal stories.

The need to find common ground for improving race relations has rarely been more urgent than it is today. In this episode, we share profound insights from an interracial couple and a young African-American scholar and poet.

Caroline Randall Williams wrote a widely-read opinion column for The New York Times that added fresh insight to the debate over Confederate monuments and how America remembers its past. As a Black southern woman with white ancestors, she brings a passionate first-person point of view.

We also share the deeply personal story of Errol Toulon, the first African-American Sheriff of Suffolk County, New York, and his wife Tina MacNicholl Toulon, a physician liaison and business development executive. She’s white. He’s Black. Tina tells us what she’s learned since their marriage in 2016 about racism, “driving while Black,” and other indignities that are often part of a Black person’s daily life.

This episode includes edited extracts from longer interviews that were first published in 2020.

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Ep. 38: Monuments and Marriage – The Most Personal Lessons About Race

Caroline Randall Williams

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Harvard graduate Caroline Randall Williams is an award-winning poet, young adult novelist, and cookbook author as well as an activist, public intellectual, performance artist, and scholar. She joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in the Fall of 2019 as a Writer-in-Residence in Medicine, Health, and Society while she continues to work and speak to the places where art, business, and scholarship intersect, moving people closer to their best lives and corporations closer to their ideal identities.

She has spoken in twenty states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia, in venues that range from as small as a classroom in a neighborhood school to as large as the Superdome mainstage during Essence Fest. To every speaking engagement, Caroline brings a fierce intelligence, disarming charm, a touch of glamour, and a depth of lived experience that belies her thirty-two years. She has taught in two of the poorest states in the union — Mississippi and West Virginia — and she has been educated at two of the richest universities on the globe — Harvard and Oxford.

Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People Changing the South,” the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections, and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, CherryBombe, Garden and Gun, Essence and the New York Times.

Errol Toulon

On January 1, 2018, Errol D. Toulon, Jr., Ed.D., became Suffolk County, New York’s 67th Sheriff and the County’s first African-American to be elected to a non-judicial countywide office. As Suffolk’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, he works to serve and protect 1.5 million residents through innovative programs to reduce crime and recidivism, and the implementation of sound fiscal policies.

Sheriff Toulon launched the Sandy Hook Promise School Safety Initiative, which has taught more than 22,000 students how to recognize the signs of a peer in distress and report concerning information to a trusted adult. He has also made it a priority to get to the root causes of youthful delinquency and inter-generational crime. His work in this area includes launching the Deconstructing the Prison Pipeline Task Force; Choose Your Path for young adults; Choose to Thrive for incarcerated women; a Senior Citizen Program POD;  and the nation’s first jail-based Human Trafficking Initiative, which assesses all county inmates for signs of victimization. He has also expanded correctional rehabilitation programming aimed to reduce recidivism, and made significant improvements to the Sheriff’s Addiction Treatment Program, with programming offered to both pre-trial and sentenced individuals.

Sheriff Toulon has more than 30 years of criminal justice experience, centered upon corrections intelligence and combating gang violence. Prior to serving as Suffolk County Sheriff, he worked for the New York City Department of Correction. He received his Master’s degree in Business Administration and Doctorate in Educational Administration from Dowling College; an advanced certificate in Homeland Security Management from Long Island University; and attended leadership courses at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.

Tina Toulon

Tina Toulon is an accomplished expert in sales, marketing, and relationship building. She founded and was President of The Catamount Group, successful marketing, and list brokerage agency serving numerous corporate clients which she sold to Eway Direct.

She has also held senior positions with Epsilon Data Solutions and LSC Digital managing key client campaigns. Currently, she works with New York Cancer & Blood Specialists.

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Neal Temko, Scott Peterson

American Foreign Policy: Challenges, Threats, Opportunities.

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America’s foreign policy challenges are evolving rapidly. What are the implications?

The takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan; a more aggressive China and Russia; a newly-elected hardline President in Iran, are all major challenges facing President Joe Biden and his administration.

Our podcast guests are Ned Temko, who writes the weekly international affairs column “Patterns” for The Christian Science Monitor, and Scott Peterson, the Monitor’s Middle East bureau chief. Both are highly experienced and well-traveled foreign correspondents, who bring depth and expertise to coverage of global affairs.

Among the many topics covered in this episode: Similarities and differences to President Trump’s “America First” approach, the implications of the rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, why China is the biggest overseas challenge for the Biden Administration, relations with America’s allies, and the increased threat to human rights in Asia and the Middle East.

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Ep. 37: American Foreign Policy – Challenges, Threats, Opportunities. 

Ned Temko

Ned Temko writes the weekly international affairs column “Patterns” for The Christian Science Monitor. A longtime Monitor foreign correspondent, he was based in Beirut, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Johannesburg before moving to London at the end of the 1980s for the Monitor’s television news program.

He has covered stories ranging from Middle East war and peace and the hostage crisis in Iran to the final years of Soviet Communism and apartheid in South Africa. As the Monitor TV correspondent, he also covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson covers the Middle East for The Christian Science Monitor from London, with a special focus on Iran, Iraq, and Syria. A well-traveled and experienced foreign correspondent who is also a photographer for Getty Images in New York, he has reported and photographed conflict and powerful human narratives across three continents for more than two decades.

Scott first joined the Monitor in 1996 as the Middle East correspondent based in Amman, Jordan, then became the Moscow bureau chief. In Afghanistan, he traveled with the Taliban in 1999, and later was witness to their collapse when Kabul fell in 2001.

He has made 30 visits to Iran, which form the backbone of his book Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran – A Journey Behind the Headlines (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He has also frequently reported from Iraq, first during the 1991 Kurdish uprising, when he secretly crossed the border from Turkey, before being forced to flee across the mountains with more than a million Kurds – and a handful of fellow journalists – when Saddam Hussein’s armed forces crushed the resistance.

Since 1997, he has traveled often to Baghdad, except for a two-year period when he was blacklisted by the former regime. He was embedded for one month with US Marines during their November 2004 assault on Fallujah. Prior to joining the Monitor, Scott covered the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Africa, and the Balkans for The Telegraph (London) and was based in Cyprus; Nairobi, Kenya; and Zagreb, Croatia.

Scott is the author of Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda (Routledge, 2000), about his work in war zones in Africa during six years in the 1990s.

Read more about Scott’s work on his website.

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Education Reimagined

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America wants transformation in its educational system. But can we agree on how to get there?


Everyone wants the best education for their children. But parents and teachers don’t always agree on how to get there.

In this episode we talk with two education leaders whose views clashed when they first met. Dr. Gisèle Huff is a philanthropist and longtime proponent of school choice, including charter schools. Becky Pringle spent her career in public education. A science teacher for three decades, today she is president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union.

After some deep initial skepticism these women and other leaders came together and developed a transformational vision for US education. Along the way they developed a deep respect for one another, and a friendship that has helped each of them through personal tragedies.

This podcast was co-produced in partnership with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and is one of a series of podcasts that Common Ground Committee and Convergence are producing together. Each highlights the common ground that resulted from one of Convergence’s structured dialogues-across-differences.

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Ep. 36: Education Reimagined

Becky Pringle

National Education Association president Becky Pringle is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of educator rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued and respected voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, Becky is singularly focused on using her intellect, passion, and purpose to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation, and using that collective power to transform public education into a racially and socially just and equitable system that is designed to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.

Becky’s passion for students and educators, combined with her first-hand classroom experience, equip her to lead the movement to reclaim public education as a common good. Becky was elected in 2020 as COVID-19 ravaged Black, Brown, and indigenous communities nationwide.

Before assuming NEA’s top post, Becky served as NEA vice president and before that as NEA secretary-treasurer. She directed NEA’s work to combat institutional racism, and spotlight systemic patterns of racism and educational injustice that impact students. Under Becky’s guidance, NEA works to widen access and opportunity by demanding changes to policies, programs, and practices. The Association’s goal is to ensure the systemic, fair treatment of people of all races so that equitable opportunities and outcomes are within reach for every student. This is why Becky is a staunch advocate for students who have disabilities, identify as LGBTQ+, are immigrants, or are English Language Learners.

Those who know Becky best know that she is also a passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan who loves anything purple, and for two special someones who hold the coveted title of “Best Nana B” in the world.

Gisèle Huff

Dr. Gisèle Huff is president of the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity. The loss of her son Gerald to pancreatic cancer in 2018 spurred Dr. Huff to apply her talents and energy to a cause they both shared – concern about technological unemployment, the growing economic divide and the potential of UBI to help address these challenges on a broad scale. Dr. Huff served as San Francisco University High School’s director of development for twelve years, and the Executive Director for the Jaquelin Hume Foundation for over twenty years where her return on investment for launching blended learning is legendary. 

During her tenure funding initiatives and raising awareness for education reform, she has held numerous board positions, including founding member and chairman of the Board of Directors of The Learning Accelerator and the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, member of the Board of Directors of iNACOL and the Advisory Board of Education Reimagined. She currently serves on the board of Income Movement. 

Her substantial policy proficiency includes the Advisory Board for Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy, the advisory committee for the National Charter School Research Project at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and the Executive Committee of the Digital Learning Council. She is the recipient of the Thomas A. Roe Award and the iNACOL Huff Lifetime Achievement Award. She earned a Ph.D. in political science, with a concentration in political philosophy, at Columbia University.

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The Long-Term Care Crisis

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America’s long-term care system needs much more than a facelift. Is there a common path to solutions?


Most baby boomers who retire today can expect to live years longer than their parents or any previous generation. That’s the good news. But there’s a greatly increased need for long-term care as they age. The current system is in crisis and needs much more than a facelift.

In this episode, we hear first from a policy expert, Howard Gleckman, of the Tax Policy Institute, who explains why solutions to this crisis have been so hard to find. We also interview Stuart Butler and Paul Van de Water on their differences in overpaying for long-term care, and how they came to find common ground.

This podcast was co-produced in partnership with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and is one of a series of podcasts that Common Ground Committee and Convergence are producing together.

Convergence brings together key stakeholders of an issue to develop policies that deliver the most value to the greatest number of people. These projects emphasize collaboration and often result in friendships among people with strongly held opposing positions. Convergence recently published Rethinking Care for Older Adults, a report with recommendations to improve care, housing, and services for seniors.

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Ep. 35: The Long-Term Care Crisis

Howard Gleckman

Howard Gleckman is a Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., where he is affiliated with both the Tax Policy Center and the Program on Retirement Policy.  He is the author of Caring for Our Parents (St. Martin’s Press).

He is the author of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s fiscal policy blog Tax Vox and a weekly blog on aging issues for  

Mr. Gleckman served on the National Academy of Social Insurance Study Panel on Long-Term Services and Supports (2018-2019). He was a convener of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative (2012-2016), a 2006-2007 Media Fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and a 2006-2008 Visiting Fellow at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. He was senior correspondent in the Washington bureau of Business Week, where he covered health and elder care as well as tax and budget issues, for nearly 20 years.

In 2016, he was named one of the nation’s top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue. He was a 2003 National Magazine Award finalist for “The Coming Revolution in Health Care” for Business Week.

Mr. Gleckman is president of the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington, a member of the Johns Hopkins Health System’s National Capital Region Executive Governance Committee, and a trustee of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Patient Safety and Quality Committee. He previously served as chair of the board of trustees of Suburban Hospital (Bethesda, MD), trustee of Johns Hopkins Medicine (2017-2019), as a member of the board of the Symphony of the Potomac, and president of Tifereth Israel Congregation (Wash, DC).

Stuart Butler

Stuart Butler is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution. Prior to joining Brookings, Butler spent 35 years at The Heritage Foundation as director of the Center for Policy Innovation and earlier as vice president for Domestic and Economic Policy Studies.  He is also a visiting fellow at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. He is a member of the editorial board of Health Affairs and the board of Mary’s Center, a group of Washington, D.C.-area community health centers.

Butler also serves on several advisory councils, including for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the Aspen Institute’s Family Prosperity Innovation Community, and the March of Dimes. He is also a member of the Advisory Group for the National Academy’s Culture of Health Program.

Previously he was a member of the Board on Health Care Services of the National Academy of Medicine and served on the panel of health advisers for the Congressional Budget Office. For over 10 years he taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, and in 2002 he was an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University. In 1990, he served as a member of Housing Secretary Jack Kemp’s Advisory Commission on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.

Most recently, Butler has played a prominent role in the debate over health care and reform, arguing for solutions based on individual choice, state innovation, market competition, and social determinants of health. He has also been working on a wide range of other issues, including budget process reform, the future of higher education, economic mobility, and federal entitlement reform.

Stuart Butler was born in Shrewsbury, England and emigrated to the United States in 1975. He was educated at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics in 1968, a Master of Arts degree in economics and history in 1971, and a Ph.D. in American economic history in 1978.

Paul Van de Water

Paul N. Van de Water is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he specializes in Social Security, Medicare, and health coverage issues. His previous positions include Vice President for Health Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration, Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at Social Security, and Assistant Director for Budget Analysis at the Congressional Budget Office. Van de Water holds an A.B. with the highest honors in economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!