Finding Common Ground on the New Economy

As the workforce transforms, what is government’s role? Two of the political world’s leading voices weigh in.

Millions of students will soon graduate into a workforce radically altered by the pandemic and changes in technology and energy. What is government’s role in this new economy? In partnership with BridgeND, the University of Notre Dame and The Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, Common Ground Committee was honored to welcome former Governor John Kasich and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro – recent Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, respectively – to a thought-provoking virtual public forum. Despite widely divergent ideologies, these two prominent political voices were able to find many areas of common ground, including these key takeaways:

1.) Infrastructure is a critical need and Democrats and Republicans should be able to unite behind the idea of investing in housing, roads and bridges, and technology.

2.) The government should take a renewed look at increasing capital investment in lower-income areas, but it should also look at eliminating ineffective corporate loopholes and subsidies.

3.) Education institutions need to become more efficient, and public/private programs that provide education and training should be encouraged.

4.) Wealth inequality is a serious problem, but any program designed to help people escape from economic hardship must thread the needle to encourage people to work.

About the Speakers

John Kasich
Former Governor

Two-term former Ohio Governor John R. Kasich is a politician, a New York Times best-selling author, a former FOX television host and current senior commentator at CNN, and an American citizen who believes that unity is the answer to our most common problems. As Governor, he was a leading voice in promoting bipartisan solutions to health care reform, immigration and international trade. Previously, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he served as chairman of the House Budget Committee and balanced the Federal Budget four times—a feat not accomplished since. Kasich is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he was a Presidential Fellow.

Julián Castro
Former HUD Secretary


Julián Castro has distinguished himself as a strong leader and public servant for nearly two decades. As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, he earned the Department recognition as one of the most improved federal agencies while spearheading efforts to reduce homelessness and deliver broadband to public housing residents. As mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, he brought a strong focus to expanding educational achievement and becoming a leader in the 21st century global economy. Castro is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

Kelly Evans
News Anchor, CNBC


Kelly Evans is anchor of CNBC’s “The Exchange,” the newsroom-based program for today’s investor, and co-anchor of CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” Evans was most recently co-anchor of CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” and earlier, “Squawk on the Street” and “Worldwide Exchange” based in London. Prior to CNBC, Evans was an economics reporter and “Heard on the Street” columnist for The Wall Street Journal. She also hosted the daily “News Hub” program on Evans joined the Journal in 2007 after graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA.

Presented by

Common Ground Committee

Common Ground Committee (CGC) ( is a nonpartisan, citizen-led organization that inspires action on polarizing issues by bringing prominent leaders with opposing views together in public forums to find common ground. Since its founding in 2009, CGC has held 14 forums featuring panelists who have reached over 200 points of consensus. Panelists have included such notables as David Petraeus, Susan Rice, John Kerry, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Donna Brazile and Larry Kudlow, exploring issues ranging from race and income inequality to foreign policy. CGC is also responsible for the “Let’s Find Common Ground” podcast and the Common Ground Scorecard, which scores politicians and candidates for public office on their likelihood to find common ground with the opposite party. Free of political agenda and financial influence, CGC has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse.

The event is co-sponsored by BridgeND, a chapter of BridgeUSA, a student-organized and managed nonprofit organization that advocates for constructive, responsible political discussion on college campuses across the country. The University of Notre Dame faculty-led cosponsoring organization is the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy.