Tag Archive for: depolarizing America

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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Will Hurd Common Ground Podcast

The Crucial Role of Political Centrists

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Does the future lie with politicians who appeal to the center? Learn why this former Congressman says yes.

The world appears to be one of political extremes, with the far right and far left denigrating each other on a regular basis. But could the future lie with politicians who appeal to a larger group?

Our guest on this week’s podcast says yes. Former CIA agent and Republican congressman Will Hurd of San Antonio won three terms in Texas’s 23rd congressional district, a district he was told he could never win because it was bright blue, while he was red.

He says he succeeded by engaging with everyone, not just voters who shared all his beliefs – and he believes others can do the same. Just don’t call them moderates.

“In the media in Washington DC…moderate means middle of the road,” he says. “But in reality, moderates are the ones that do the hard work and get things done because they’re the ones that are having to take a philosophy to people that may not identify with it.”

Hurd grew up bi-racial in Texas, which gave him early experience of finding common ground. In his book American Reboot he outlines how to ‘get big things done’ by focusing on policy, not politics. He also shares his thoughts on what Americans should be worrying about, including losing control of the technology on which we run our lives.

All in this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.

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Ep 60 – The Crucial Role of Political Centrists

Will Hurd

Will Hurd is currently a managing director at Allen & Company and former member of Congress, cybersecurity executive, and undercover officer in the CIA. For almost two decades he’s been involved in the most pressing national security issues challenging the country whether it was in the back-alleys of dangerous places, boardrooms of top international businesses or halls of Congress.

After stopping terrorists, preventing Russian spies from stealing our secrets, and putting nuclear weapons proliferators out of business, Will helped build a cybersecurity company that prepared businesses for the next domain of conflict – cyberspace.

While in Congress, Texas Monthly and Politico Magazine called Will “The Future of the GOP,” because he put good policy over good politics at a time when America was often consumed with what divides us rather than what unites us. He was able to get more legislation signed into law in three terms than most congressmen do in three decades – substantive legislation like a national strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

Will is a native of San Antonio and earned a Computer Science degree from Texas A&M University. Additionally, he is growing the US transatlantic partnership with Europe as a trustee of the German Marshall Fund, an OpenAI board member, and most recently served as a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He is also the author of American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done, which was released in March 2022. For more information, please visit www.willbhurd.com.

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Common Ground Podcast

Our Common Ground: What Polling Doesn’t Reveal About Americans

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Are we as far apart as polling suggests? What this research innovator found might surprise you on what polling doesn’t reveal about Americans.

All too often people in public life talk past one another. But what happens when we listen and give people the space to explain who they really are and how they view today’s most divisive issues?

On guns, abortion, government spending and even partisan politics, most people may not be as far apart as polling suggests.

For more than four years, our guest, entrepreneur and market researcher, Diane Hessan, conducted a remarkable series of conversations with hundreds of voters from all across the country. She checked in with them every week. What Diane found may surprise you, give you hope, and change the way you feel about your fellow Americans.

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Ep 59 – Our Common Ground: What Polling Doesn’t Reveal About Americans

Diane Hessan

Diane Hessan is an award-winning entrepreneur and innovator in the market research field and a nationally recognized expert on the American voter. Since 2016, she has been engaged in an in-depth longitudinal study of the electorate, looking for trends, shifts and common ground. She has written more than fifty columns about her findings for the Boston Globe and her work has also been featured on CNN and NPR, and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, and many other outlets. Her new book, Our Common Ground: Insights from Four Years of Listening to American Voters, was published in 2021 by RealClear Publishing.

She is the founder and Chairman of C Space, formerly called Communispace, and was CEO of the company during fourteen years of exponential growth, as C Space worked with hundreds of global corporations across twelve countries.

She received a BA in economics and English from Tufts University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and received an honorary degree from Bentley University.

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DEPOLARIZING AMERICA PODCAST

We’re Less Divided Than We Think

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Are we all Team Red or Team Blue? Here’s why this thought leader is sounding the alarm on a false narrative.

Every day on social media and cable TV, in newspapers and magazines, we’re told that we live in a red-versus-blue world of rigid divides. Our podcast guest, Tony Woodlief, begs to differ.

“In reality, most people fall somewhere in the middle, or else have a complex blend of views from both sides of the aisle,” says Tony. His new book I, Citizen uses polling data, political history and on-the-ground reporting to make the case that party activists and partisans are attempting to undermine the freedom of Americans to govern themselves and make decisions that have a direct impact on their lives.

Many people have fallen for a false narrative promoted by leaders of political parties, academia, media and government, that we’re all team red or team blue, he argues. In this episode, we learn a different perspective and discuss how all of us can find common ground in our local neighborhoods and national discourse.

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Ep 58 – We’re Less Divided Than We Think

Tony Woodlief

Tony Woodlief is Executive Vice President at State Policy Network, which advocates practical federalism and catalyzes thriving, durable freedom movements in the states. Previously he led the Bill of Rights Institute, the Market-Based Management Institute, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Prior to those positions, he worked for Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation.

Tony’s essays on politics, faith, parenting, and culture have appeared in The Wall Street Journal,  New York Post, Washington Post, and other publications, and he has appeared on Fox News, CSPAN, and radio programs across the U.S. His short fiction has appeared in Image, Ruminate, Saint Katherine Review, and elsewhere. An alumnus of the University of North Carolina, Tony holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, and an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. He is the founder of Intentional Fathering, which is devoted to helping fathers build better parenting habits, and the author of I, Citizen, a book about reclaiming American self-governance.

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Depolarizing America: Building Consensus Step-by-Step

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These political veterans disagree on many issues, except that now is the time for bridge building. Here’s why.

Kelly Johnston and Rob Fersh disagree strongly on many issues, and voted differently in the 2020 presidential election. But they are friends and “agree on major steps that must be taken for the nation to heed President-elect Biden’s welcome call for us to come together.”

Both believe that constructive steps must be taken to help build trust among Democrats and Republicans, despite deep polarization and a firm resistance to bipartisanship from both ends of the political spectrum. They encourage open dialogue between sectors and interest groups whose views diverge in an effort to deal with divisive political discourse.

Rob Fersh founded Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, and previously worked for Democrats on the staffs of three congressional committees. Kelly Johnston, also a founding board member of Convergence, is a committed Republican and former Secretary of the U.S. Senate. In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground produced in partnership with Convergence, we talk with both Fersh and Johnston about bridge building and why this work is so urgently needed in an era of political gridlock.

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Ep. 57- Depolarizing America: Building Consensus Step-by-Step

Rob Fersh

Rob Fersh is a Senior Advisor and the Founder of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to promote consensus solutions to issues of domestic and international importance. Immediately prior, Rob served as the United States country director for Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization. While at SFCG, he directed national policy consensus projects on health care coverage for the uninsured and U.S.-Muslim relations.

In the 1986-98 period, Rob served as president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a leading NGO working to alleviate hunger in the United States. Rob also served on the staffs of three Congressional committees, working for U.S. Representative Leon Panetta and for Senators Patrick Leahy and Edmund Muskie. While a Congressional staff member and at FRAC, he was deeply involved in shepherding passage of bipartisan legislation to reduce hunger in the United States. Rob has held additional positions in the federal executive branch and non-profit sector. He was a 1994 recipient of the Prudential Foundation Prize for Non-Profit Leadership. Rob holds a law degree from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where he has served as a guest lecturer and co-instructor of a course on collaborative decision making and public policy. He is married, has four children, and two grandchildren.

Kelly Johnston

Kelly Johnston retired from the Campbell Soup Company in October 2018 after a 16-year career as Vice President-Government Affairs. Previously, Kelly spent nearly 25 years in Washington, DC in several leadership positions within the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, politics, and the trade association world. He was Executive Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications at the National Food Processors’ Association (NFPA), serving as the organization’s chief government affairs and communications officer for nearly 6 years.

From 1995 to 1997, he was the Secretary of the US Senate, the Senate’s chief legislative, financial and administrative officer. Kelly has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Republican Policy Committee; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of Transportation; and chief of staff or press secretary to three Members of Congress.

Kelly remains active in the non-profit community. He is a founding board member of the Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communication at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. He also currently serves on the board of Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), which is dedicated to helping employers educate their employees on public policy issues of importance to their jobs. He is a former chairman of the Canadian American Business Council and former co-chair of the Congressional Management Foundation. He blogs on public policy issues, history, and politics at Against the Grain.

A native of Oklahoma, Kelly earned his B.A. degree in Communications in 1976 from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where he has been named to the Alumni Hall of Fame. He attended Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Demography in Washington, D.C. He has guest lectured on politics, government, lobbying and communications at several universities, including Yale University, the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University, Shepherd University, and Burlington County College in New Jersey.

He and his wife, Adrienne, live in Arlington, Virginia. They have two sons.

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.

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Story Hinckley & Christa Case Bryant Podcast

The State of Polarization: 2022

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A year after the assault on the Capitol, is America more or less polarized? Two journalists search for answers.

One year after the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol, we take a close look at America’s political divide with two journalists who covered the calamitous events of that day and the reactions to what happened.

Our guests are Christa Case Bryant, Congressional correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, and Story Hinckley, the Monitor’s National political correspondent. We discuss whether America is more polarized than it was one year ago and the prospects for finding common ground in Congress and across the country.

In their reporting throughout the year, both journalists sought answers to complex questions about what caused people to storm the Capitol, and why Democrats and Republicans have very different views about voter access, election laws, and the controversy over the 2020 vote count. In this episode, we also examine the role of the media and individual reporters in covering the state of polarization.

Join us as we begin our third year of “Let’s Find Common Ground.”

Read more from Christa Case Bryant and Story Hinckley: “A divided anniversary: Jan. 6 in the eyes of those who were there.”

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Ep 47 – The State of Polarization: 2022

Story Hinckley

Story Hinckley is a National Political Correspondent based in Washington.

She holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia where she double majored in Political Science and Environmental Thought and Practice, and a master’s in journalism from Northeastern University.

Christa Case Bryant

Christa Case Bryant is The Christian Science Monitor’s senior Congressional correspondent, building on four years of experience editing and reporting on U.S. politics, including as Heartland correspondent.

A 2015-16 Nieman fellow at Harvard, she previously served as the Monitor’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Middle East editor, and Europe editor. She has reported from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Germany, Estonia, and South Korea.

Ms. Bryant holds an M.A. in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a B.A. from Principia College, where she focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a major in global perspectives and a minor in religion. She also attended the Middlebury School of Hebrew and studied spoken Arabic in Jerusalem.

After spending many years as a cross-country ski racer on the national and international level, Ms. Bryant has a special interest in all things Olympian. She covered the Winter Olympics in 2010 and 2018.

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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.

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Depolarizing America: #ListenFirst and America Talks

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How can we push back against toxic polarization? Explore lessons learned by two brave leaders.

We examine two brave and successful attempts to get Americans of differing backgrounds and political convictions to engage in personal face-to-face conversations.

America Talks and the National Week of Conversation, both held in mid-June, were part of ongoing efforts to push back against deep divides and toxic polarization.

In this episode, we discuss lessons learned, insights gained, and the vital difference between talking and listening. Our guests are Kristin Hansen, Executive Director at Civic Health Project and Director at AllSides; and Mizell Stewart, Vice President, News Performance, Talent & Partnerships for Gannett and the USA Today Network. Both were involved in this new initiative.

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Ep. 33: Depolarizing America – #ListenFirst and America Talks

Kristin Hansen

Kristin Hansen is Executive Director at Civic Health Project, Director at the media technology company AllSides, and Lecturer in Management at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She contributes her executive skills and experience to the movement across the United States to reduce polarization, improve civil discourse, and restore democracy. Kristin serves as an advisor for AllSides’ online civil discourse and dialogue initiatives including America Talks and AllSides Connect.

Mizell Stewart III

Mizell Stewart III is Vice President, News Performance, Talent & Partnerships for Gannett and the USA TODAY Network. He is the former Chief Content Officer of Journal Media Group and former VP/Content of the Newspaper Division of The E.W. Scripps Company. Earlier in his career, he led newsrooms in Akron, Ohio; Evansville, Indiana; and Tallahassee, Florida.

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new political party

Does America Need a Third Political Party?

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How can we fix our broken politics? Here’s why one former Congressman says it’s time to rethink the system.

Growing numbers of voters are fed up with politics as usual. In a recent survey, 62% of Americans say a third party is needed — up 5% from September of last year, and the highest it has ever been since Gallup polls first asked the question nearly twenty years ago.

Our podcast guest, former two-term Florida Congressman David Jolly, says it’s time to reconsider the system that reinforces the entrenched power of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Last year, Jolly was named Executive Chairman of the Serve America Movement (SAM), a growing organization that exists in some states as a third party, and in others as a non-partisan political reform group that backs office holders who work across party lines.

SAM calls itself a big tent political movement that brings people together who have different ideologies but shared political principles. In this episode, David Jolly makes the case for his movement’s ambitious goal: fixing our broken politics in America.

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Ep.29-Does America Need a Third Political Party?

David Jolly

David Jolly served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2014 – 2017.  A student of the institution, Jolly has held virtually every position in Congress, from intern to Member, and has worked outside the Congress as an attorney and political consultant, as well as in specialty finance. Today, Jolly serves as Executive Vice President of Shumaker Advisors Florida, and as a Political Analyst for the networks and media platforms of NBC Universal.

Known for his fierce independent streak and bipartisan approach, Jolly was first elected in a nationally watched special election in Florida, a Republican winning a Democratic-leaning district.  It was his first run for elective office and became one of the most expensive Congressional races in U.S. history at the time.  It made Jolly a fierce campaign finance reform advocate and his resulting legislative effort to prohibit Members of Congress from directly soliciting campaign contributions was ultimately featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

Jolly’s work has been published in Time, USA Today, Roll Call, the Washington Post, CNN.com, NBCNews.com, NewsMax, the Washington Times, and the Tampa Bay Times.

One Washington Post columnist penned, “Jolly speaks the truth.” The Tampa Bay Times, “It’s refreshing to hear someone take on the system.” And upon leaving Congress, one columnist wrote, “Farewell to the one Congressman willing to compromise.”

Jolly received his Bachelor of Arts from Emory University in 1994, and his Juris Doctor Cum Laude from George Mason University in 2001.

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