Tag Archive for: civil discourse

Primaries and Polarization: Is The System Broken?

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With low voter turnout and a wide partisan divide, are there better ways to pick candidates?

The primary election season in this midterm election year is now over in most states. Turnout was often very low—less than 20% of registered voters showed up in many places—while the partisan divide was as wide as ever.

In this episode, we hear from leading political strategists, scholars, authors and journalists about the American system for choosing candidates who will face each other in November’s election. We consider issues with the closed party primaries, and whether there are better ways to pick candidates for public office.

We look at proposed solutions such as ranked-choice voting and open primaries, where independent voters and those who are neither registered Republicans nor Democrats can participate.

Guests include Former Democratic Party Chair Donna Brazile, ex-Congressmen Will Hurd and Barney Frank, Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, constitutional law scholar Rick Pildes, and journalists Salena Zito, Christa Case Bryant and Story Hinckley.

Join us on Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 65 – Primaries and Polarization: Is The System Broken?

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Podcast EP 64: Millennial Politicians

Millennial Politicians on Finding Common Ground

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At a divisive time in national politics, how can local politicians work for the common good? Hear from two young leaders.

In US politics, bipartisanship is now the exception, not the rule. But the Millennial Action Project is pushing back: it trains young leaders to bridge the partisan divide and work together to solve America’s problems.

In this episode, we meet two members of the Millennial Action Project from opposite sides of the aisle. They are state representatives from Connecticut, Republican Devin Carney, and Democrat Jillian Gilchrest. Gilchrest and Carney discuss the joys and challenges of being a local politician at a time when national politics is so divisive. ‘Get to know me’ is something they often find themselves saying to constituents who judge them solely on the ‘R’ or ‘D’ after their name.

The two representatives talk about listening and responding to their constituents, having their own prejudices upended, and how they find ways to agree for the good of their state.  All on this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 64 – Millennial Politicians on Finding Common Ground

Jillian Gilchrest

Rep. Jillian Gilchrest represents Connecticut’s 18th district in Hartford County. Rep. Gilchrest was educated at the University of Connecticut where she received a Master of Social Work and teaches at the University of Saint Joseph, University of Hartford, and Sacred Heart University.

Prior to her election in 2018, she has a wealth of experience advocating for women’s issues. She serves on the board of directors for the two nonprofit entities that encompass The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women in Connecticut. Additionally, Gilchrest has extensive public policy experience in women’s issues serving as the Policy Director at the Connecticut Association for Human Services, an Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, the Director of Health Professional Outreach for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Director of Public Policy and Communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.

Currently, Gilchrest serves on the Education, Appropriations, and Commerce Committees.

Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney proudly represents the 23rd General Assembly District. He was elected to his fourth two-year term in November 2020. Rep. Carney was appointed to serve as the Ranking Member for the Transportation Committee for the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions, having also served in this position in 2017-2018.

Carney graduated from Brandeis University in 2006 where he received a BA in Political Science and a BA in American Studies with a minor in Film. In addition to the legislature, Carney works in finance at John A Bysko Associates and as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker.

Rep. Carney volunteers his time with many local organizations including serving on The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center Board of Trustees, as the Treasurer of the Board of Saybrook Senior Housing, a member of The Rotary Club of Old Saybrook, and as a member of both the Lyme-Old Lyme and Old Saybrook Chambers of Commerce. In addition, he serves as a member of the bipartisan Millennial Action Project, which brings together legislators 45 and under, and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. He also serves as an alternate member of the Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals.

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Episode 63: Davia Temin - Crisis and Common Ground

Companies: Crisis and Common Ground

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Can American businesses help us find common ground?  An expert discusses the challenges and opportunities.

American business can be a force for finding common ground, but large corporations must now answer to a growing array of stakeholders, who often have opposing views on hot-button issues. In recent years, social media has also forced companies to respond immediately to a variety of conflicting demands.

We discuss these challenges with Davia Temin, a highly respected marketing and reputation strategist, crisis manager and communications coach. We also learn the ways that business can help contribute to improving public discourse at a time of polarization and political conflict.

In this episode, we hear about the daily hazards and opportunities for corporate leaders and get practical lessons on how they can respond to today’s changing political, cultural and social landscape in a clear, caring and authentic voice.

 

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Ep 63 – Companies: Crisis and Common Ground

Davia Temin

Davia Temin is the CEO of Temin and Company, a risk, reputation, leadership strategy, and crisis management consultancy. Davia works with corporate leaders around the world, helping them to refine and strengthen their vision, voice, and market position in times of crisis and opportunity.

A respected writer, commentator, and coach, she speaks globally and has appeared on CBS, CNN, NBC, Bloomberg, PBS, ABC, Reuters, and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times and numerous other publications and networks around the world. Prior to founding the firm over 20 years ago with the backing of GE, Davia headed Corporate Marketing, Crisis and Risk Management, and Public Affairs for GE Capital, Schroders, Scudder, Citi Investment Bank, and Columbia Business School.

An NACD Board Leadership Fellow, Davia is the Chair of Video Volunteers, an international media and human rights NGO. She also Chairs the Board Development Committee and serves on the Executive Committee and Governance Committee on the Board of Girl Scouts of Greater New York. She also serves on the Boards or Advisory Boards of The Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship of Columbia Journalism School, and many public and private organizations.

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

Episode 62 Climate Series - Daniel Yergin

Energy, Climate, and National Security: The New Map

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Can the global energy crisis be solved?  An expert assesses the evolving challenges and opportunities.

The world is being shaken by a collision of energy needs, climate change, and clashes between nations in a time of global crisis — made much worse by Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine. Roaring inflation has shocked consumers, the Biden Administration, and other governments around the world.

In this episode we discuss the rapidly growing challenges of national security as well as opportunities for common ground with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin, one of the world’s foremost experts on energy, international politics and economics.

We examine the reasons behind President Biden’s latest visit to Saudi Arabia, Europe’s rapidly growing dependence on U.S. oil and natural gas, and the changing threats to the West from Russia and China. Daniel Yergin’s book The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations led to his selection as Energy Writer of the Year by the American Energy Society.

 

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Ep 62 – Energy, Climate, and National Security: The New Map

Daniel Yergin

Daniel Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics. He is Vice Chairman of IHS Markit, one of the world’s largest research and information companies; and chairman of CERAWeek, which CNBC has described as “the Super Bowl of world energy.”

He has served on the US Secretary of Energy Advisory Board under the last four presidents. He is a member of the Energy Policy Council of the Dallas Federal Reserve, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior trustee of the Brookings Institution. He also serves as a member of the National Petroleum Council, a director of the United States Energy Association, and of the US-Russia Business Council.

Dr. Yergin holds a BA from Yale University, where he founded The New Journal, and a PhD from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar.

He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prime Minister of India, and the first James Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security from the U.S. Department of Energy. Among other honors, he was also awarded the United States Energy Award for “lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding,” and the Charles Percy Award for Public Service from the Alliance to Save Energy.

In addition to his latest book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, Dr. Yergin also authored the bestseller The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. He is known around the world for his book The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil Money and Power, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

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climate change podcast

Climate Action: A Progressive and a Conservative Find Common Ground

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Can progressives and conservatives find common ground on climate change?

Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben warned the public about the perils of climate change and the damage human activity is causing more than forty years ago.

Former South Carolina Republican Congressman Bob Inglis became a climate activist much later, but he is no less passionate. Both differ on politics and who to vote for, but they agree on the goal of sharply reducing carbon emissions as soon as possible.

Inglis and McKibben join us for this episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground.” They sound the alarm for urgent action.

Bob Inglis is a conservative Republican and a committed believer in free enterprise capitalism and limited government. He’s executive director of RepublicEN.org, a conservative group that advocates for solutions to climate change.

Bill McKibben is a writer and teacher who has dedicated his life to stopping the climate crisis. He has written a dozen books about the environment, is a distinguished scholar at Middlebury College, and leads the climate campaign group 350.org. Last year Bill launched Third Act, a new campaign aimed at engaging activists over the age of 60.

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Ep 61 – Climate Action: A Progressive and a Conservative Find Common Ground

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, and a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He’s also won the Gandhi Peace Award and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989, and the forthcoming The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened.

Bob Inglis

Bob Inglis is the Executive Director of republicEn.org. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1992, having never run for office before. He represented Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, from 1993-1998, unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings in 1998, and then returned to the practice of commercial real estate law in
Greenville, S.C. In 2004, he was re-elected to Congress and served until losing re-election in the South Carolina Republican primary of 2010.

In 2011, Inglis went full-time into promoting free enterprise action on climate change and launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (“E&EI”) at George Mason University in July 2012. In the fall of 2014, E&EI rebranded to become republicEn.org.

republicEn is a growing grassroots community of over 10,000 Americans educating the country about free-enterprise solutions to climate change. The organization is a 501(c)(3) operation hosted at the George Mason University Foundation and educates, recruits, and organizes conservative voices for action on climate change.

For his work on climate change, Inglis was given the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. He appears in the film Merchants of Doubt and in the Showtime series YEARS of Living Dangerously (episodes 3 and 4), and he’s spoken at TEDxBeaconStreet and TEDxJacksonville.

Inglis was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics in 2011, a Visiting Energy Fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2012, and a Resident Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics in 2014.

Inglis grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, went to Duke University for college, met and married his college sweetheart, graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, and practiced commercial real estate law in Greenville, S.C., before and between his years in Congress. Bob and Mary Anne Inglis have five children (a son and four daughters). They live on a small farm in northern Greenville
County, South Carolina.

 

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Journalist Mónica Guzmán

Healing Conversations Across Dangerous Divides

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Is it possible to find common ground with anyone? A liberal daughter of a conservative family shares her story.

Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who strongly support Donald Trump. We hear her personal story of how Mónica set out to understand what divides America and discovered ways to overcome divisions that hurt our relationships and society.

In this episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground,” we discuss ways to use our own sense of curiosity to have cross-partisan conversations with colleagues, friends, and family.

Mónica Guzmán is the author of the new book I Never Thought Of It That Way. She serves as an advisor to the depolarization organization, Braver Angels. Our interview shows listeners how to cross boundaries and find common ground with anyone.

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Ep 54 – Healing Conversations Across Dangerous Divides

Mónica Guzmán

Mónica Guzmán is Director of Digital and Storytelling at Braver Angels, a nonprofit working to depolarize America; host of the Crosscut interview series Northwest Newsmakers; and author of I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times.

She was a 2019 fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, where she studied social and political division, and a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, where she studied how journalists can better meet the needs of a participatory public.

Before committing to the project of helping people understand each other across the political divide, Mónica cofounded the award-winning Seattle newsletter The Evergrey and led a national network of groundbreaking local newsletters as VP of Local for WhereBy.Us.

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

How Problem Solvers Caucus Attacks Gridlock in Congress

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Is Congress as dysfunctional as it seems? Hear from two legislators in this candid conversation.

From the outside, Congress appears broken. Bills get bogged down in partisan fights, leaders openly smear each other, and animosity between members is at an all-time high. But our guests on today’s show demonstrate that if you look a little closer, you’ll find a group of dedicated politicians working together across the aisle to craft workable legislation and get things done.

Republican Congressman Don Bacon represents Nebraska’s 2nd District. Democrat Kurt Schrader represents Oregon’s 5th District. Each man is a member of the congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, a group equally split between Democrats and Republicans who are committed to finding common ground on key issues facing the U.S.

In this surprisingly candid conversation listeners get a peek behind the curtain at what’s really going on in Congress, how the infrastructure bill was passed into law, and the harmful effect the media has on Americans’ view of politics. On this episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground.”

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Ep 49 – How Problem Solvers Caucus Attacks Gridlock in Congress

Don Bacon

Growing up and working on a farm in Illinois, Congressman Don Bacon learned first-hand how the value of hard work and commitment contributes to the success of a small business. He moved from the family farm to attend Northern Illinois University, from which he graduated with a Bachelors of Political Science in 1984, the same year he married Angie, the love of his life. They have three sons, one daughter, and six grandchildren. One year later, he began his military career by joining the U.S. Air Force and serving nearly 30 years, ultimately retiring as a Brigadier General.

During his career in the Air Force, Congressman Bacon specialized in electronic warfare, intelligence, and reconnaissance. His career highlights include two tours as a Wing Commander, at Ramstein Airbase in Germany and Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska; group command at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona; squadron command in Arizona, and expeditionary squadron command in Iraq. In total, Rep. Bacon served 16 assignments including four deployments in the Middle East to include Iraq in 2007 to 2008 during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Congressman Bacon’s military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, two Bronze Stars, two Legion of Merits, five Meritorious Service Medals, and the Aerial Achievement Medal. Additionally, he was selected as Europe’s top Air Force Wing Commander for his time at Ramstein Airbase, as well as recognized as a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Navigator-Electronic Warfare School, and Officer Intelligence School. Further, Congressman Bacon has earned two Masters Degrees, from the University of Phoenix in Arizona and the National War College in Washington D.C.

Upon his retirement from the Air Force in 2014, Congressman Bacon served as the military advisor to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), where he specialized in military affairs focusing on Offutt Air Force Base and the Nebraska National Guard. He also was an Assistant Professor at Bellevue University where he taught Undergraduate Leadership along with American Vision and Values (The Kirkpatrick Signature Series), until his 2016 election to Congress, representing Nebraska’s Second Congressional District.

Presently, Congressman Bacon serves on two committees within the House of Representatives: the House Armed Services Committee, and the House Agricultural Committee.

Kurt Schrader

Congressman Kurt Schrader is currently serving his seventh term in the United States House of Representatives. He represents Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all of Marion, Polk, Lincoln and Tillamook Counties as well as the bulk of Clackamas and small portions of Multnomah and Benton Counties. Before being elected to Congress, Schrader, a farmer and veterinarian for more than thirty years, established and managed the Clackamas County Veterinary Clinic in Oregon City and operated his farm where he grew and sold organic fruit and vegetables.

In 1996, Congressman Schrader was elected to the Oregon State House of Representatives. There he served as a member of the Joint Ways & Means Committee. Schrader was one of five legislators asked by their peers to guide Oregon through the budget crisis of 2001-2002. Schrader was elected to the Oregon State Senate in 2003 and was immediately appointed to chair the Joint Ways & Means Committee. He continued to serve in that capacity until he was elected to U.S. Congress in 2008.

Congressman Schrader attended Cornell University where he received his BA in Government in 1973. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 1977.

Congressman Schrader currently serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C), which oversees a wide portfolio of issues ranging from health care to the environment. Prior to joining E&C, Congressman Schrader served on the House Committee on Agriculture, where he served on the Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully passed a five-year farm bill, the House Committee on Small Business and House Budget Committee. In the 117th Congress, Congressman Schrader serves on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, the Subcommittee on Energy, and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Schrader is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, New Democrat Coalition, and the only bipartisan working group in the House, the Problem Solvers Caucus.

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

Jan 6 Response

At Common Ground Committee we are deeply saddened by the situation that developed in our nation’s capital Wednesday, which disrupted the Constitutional process of certifying the 2020 Presidential election.

Protesting against outcomes is perfectly acceptable in our democracy. Engaging in violent behavior, storming the Capitol building and disrupting the electoral process are not. We strongly condemn such actions. We also call on all government leaders to continue to condemn this lawlessness in the strongest terms.

This violence should serve as a wake-up call for all of us, and particularly our leaders. The events both leading up to and in the aftermath of this election emphasize the need for leaders to build trust, work together, and solve our nation’s problems. In a word, lead. Demonization and tribalism inevitably lead to situations like those we saw at the Capitol. Enough! We – all of us – must stop allowing political disagreements to draw us down the self-destructive path of impugning the character and morality of those we disagree with. It is time for those in Washington to lead the nation to reconciliation, not revenge, to work together to solve problems, and stop tearing down opponents.

To stop coronavirus, we must set aside partisanship. Here’s how we can do it.

This USA Today piece by CGC Co-Founders Bruce Bond and Erik Olsen calls for citizens and politicians to stop using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to push partisan politics and cites cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians as an example we can follow. Three of the Common Grounder Attributes are used to show how we can put our differences aside.


– This article was published in USA TODAY on March 20, 2020.

‘It’s a 50-50 nation’: Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump and America’s great divide

This article from The Guardian explores Chris Wallace’s thoughts on bias in the media and the role of journalists, quoting comments he made as a panelist at our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum at Columbia University on February 25th, 2020.


– This article was published in The Guardian on March 7th, 2020.