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Arena Talks

Arena Talks

By Lee Pedinoff
Want to know more about how the 2020 election is shaking out from those in the foxhole? Hosted by Ravi Gupta, co-founder of Arena, this podcast will introduce you to emerging political leaders from around the country as they fight to save our republic.
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Where do we go from here
In this episode, Arena’s co-founder and Managing Partner, Ravi Gupta gives his thoughts on recent events from around the country. He then interviews Stacey Shells, a long-time Arena community member and educator. Stacey shares her experiences facing down discrimination and her thoughts on where this protest movement should go.
49:25
June 4, 2020
Empowering communities with Majora Carter
Majora Carter is a visionary civic activist and entrepreneur from the South Bronx. She’s won recognition far and wide, including a MacArthur 'genius' Grant, a Peabody Award, and a Ted Talk with over 2.6 million views. In this episode, we talk about how to truly empower local communities to be self sufficient — and why the government and non-profits often get economic development wrong.
30:51
May 15, 2020
Two self-loathing meritocrats discuss inequality, with Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits
Yale Law School professor Daniel Markovits joins us to discuss The Meritocracy Trap, his book about an under-appreciated driver of inequality in this country -- and how the 1% includes more people than we commonly acknowledge.
42:41
May 7, 2020
COVID era campaigns with Hillary Clinton, Addisu Demissie, and Swati Mylavarapu
In April, Arena hosted a conversation about how to campaign in the era of COVID-19. The conversation featured Hillary Clinton, Addisu Demissie (former campaign manager of Booker 2020 and Newsom for CA), and Swati Mylavarapu (Arena and Incite.org co-founder). We’ve shared the audio from this conversation.
42:57
May 2, 2020
The Future of NYC
In this podcast, we hear from two political leaders at the center of the fight against COVID-19 and who are both widely acknowledged to be two of the most likely successors to Bill de Blasio as Mayor. First up is Scott Stringer, who is NYC’s Comptroller -- which is an office that serves both as the chief financial officer of the city and the city’s chief auditor. We then hear from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who gives us an on-the-ground account of how COVID-19 is impacting Brooklyn. Eric served for 22 years as a NYC Transit and NYPD officer, and offers his perspective on how we can best support first responders and other essential employees.
43:18
April 30, 2020
The fight for Wisconsin is the fight for America
Ben Wikler, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, is one of the leading progressive voices in the country today. Fresh off an historic electoral victory (historic for the obstacles candidates and voters faced), he joins us to talk about what Wisconsin's election can teach us about what’s to come in November.
28:37
April 16, 2020
The future of philanthropy with Anand Giridharadas and Michael Tubbs
At our latest Arena Summit in September, Anand Giridharadas and Michael Tubbs joined us for a conversation about the ethics of philanthropy. Anand Giridharadas is a writer and author of a new book, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.” In the book, Anand talks about some of the trappings of philanthropy, and how it might be a fig leaf that prevents us from solving deeper societal problems. Michael Tubbs is the Mayor of Stockton, CA, and he shares what he learned leading the rollout of universal basic income for part of his community. To learn more about his story, check out our previous episode with Mayor Tubbs.
28:24
August 8, 2019
Bringing filmmaking to politics with Sarah Ullman
Sarah Ullman is the co-founder of Vote Vote at a Time, a super PAC that created almost 200 videos about candidates for the 2018 midterm elections. Sarah and her team only work with progressive candidates who are strong on gun control. Sarah has done game-chasing work this election cycle, and was recently profiled in the New York Times. We had a great conversation with Sarah about what she learned during the latest election cycle, and her plans for the future.
21:56
November 29, 2018
Hope and justice with Amber Goodwin
Amber is the Founding Director of the Community Justice Reform Coalition, aka CJRC. She has spent the last 17 years working in progressive, grassroots advocacy and electoral campaigns. We talk about the state of gun violence in America, how we can address the problem holistically, and the structural barriers our society faces as a result of deep-seated white supremacy and toxic masculinity. We also talk about hope, and the inspiring work CJRC is doing to prevent gun violence and uplift criminal justice reform in communities of color.
39:03
September 12, 2018
Meg Ansara on firefighting, political campaigns, and leadership
Meg Ansara has had an incredible career in politics and social justice. She’s also the CEO of 270 Strategies. Most recently, she served as Hillary Clinton’s Battleground States Director. Meg talks about how serving as a forest firefighter taught her lessons about teamwork, how Paul Wellstone deepened her commitment to grassroots organizing, and what we should take away from 2016 as we look ahead to the midterms. She also shares her helpful perspective on management and leadership.
37:17
August 8, 2018
Why isn’t the NY State Senate blue?
Zellnor Myrie is running for New York State Senate in District 20. If you caught our last pod with Alessandra Biaggi, you’re already familiar with New York’s strange State Senate. For seven years, a group of turncoat politicians have run as Democrats, been elected as Democrats, and immediately caucused with Republicans in the New York State Senate. They formed a conference, called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) to vote as a bloc, ceding control of the chamber and preventing progressive policies from being sent to Governor Cuomo’s desk. Everything from codifying Roe v. Wade at the state-level, to passing Universal Health Care, or the DREAM Act, and even to more local issues like Affordable Housing, Speed Cameras, and the funding of Public Schools, has been blocked as a result of the IDC. Enter Zellnor Myrie. State Senator Jesse Hamilton, the incumbent in Zellnor Myrie’s district, is one of the IDC Members, and Zellnor has had enough. He thinks the time is now to knock him out. With the typical machinery at-hand, politicians are turning on each other trying to either oust the incumbent, or keep him in power. Zellnor is finding himself right in the middle of it all, and he’s staying focused on the mission at hand and rolling with the punches. On today’s pod with Nathan Rubin of Millennial Politics, we talk with Zellnor about his race for the State Senate against incumbent Jesse Hamilton and the IDC.
28:43
July 30, 2018
From Arena Community Member to NY State Senate Candidate with Alessandra Biaggi
Welcome to a special crossover edition of our pod with Nathan Rubin of Millennial Politics. We’re joined by Alessandra Biaggi, a candidate for New York State Senate and a longtime member of our community. Alessandra is challenging the leader of breakaway Democrats known as the IDC, who sold out their district for personal gain and ceded control to Republicans. Her incumbent opponent, State Senator Jeff Klein, is the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference (or IDC). He ran as a Democrat, was elected as a Democrat, and purports to govern as a Democrat, while caucusing with Republicans. As a result of the IDC and Republican control in the New York State Senate, progressive legislation passed by the New York State Assembly dies time and time again. Democrats have a Super-Majority in the Assembly, but year after year, legislation that should be a hallmark of a “progressive” state like New York never reached the Governor’s desk and never becomes law. Alessandra is running on a platform of Affordable Housing, expanding the electorate through small “d” democratic reforms, criminal justice reform, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ civil rights, and more.
39:49
July 26, 2018
Reflecting on a year of resistance with Kate Catherall and Nathaniel Pearlman
Welcome to a special episode of The Arena Talks produced in collaboration with The Great Battlefield podcast. You’ll hear from The Great Battlefield host Nathaniel Pearlman and The Arena Co-Founder Kate Catherall. Nathaniel founded Resistance Dashboard after the 2016 Presidential election. Nathaniel has a long history of connecting progressive politics and technology. In 1997, he founded NGP Software (now known as NGP VAN), a leading technology provider to the Democratic Party. He served as CTO of the Hillary 2008 Presidential campaign. He also founded Graphicacy, a firm that helps organizations tell complex stories in visual form. Kate is a Co-Founder and Partner at The Arena. She founded Chorus Agency in the wake of the 2016 election, which later merged with The Arena. Kate talks about her work supporting new civic leaders and candidates.
48:45
July 25, 2018
Empowering communities of color with Woke Vote and DeJuana Thompson
DeJuana Thompson is a Partner at Think Rubix and the creator of Woke Vote — a movement for equity and justice that is empowering communities of color to fight mass incarceration, voter suppression, and urban gun violence. DeJuana talks about how her community organizing experience shapes her work, her strategy for winning elections in 2018, and how to make movement building work more sustainable.
49:32
June 20, 2018
From the Maine wilderness to Congress with Lucas St. Clair
Lucas St. Clair is running for Congress in Maine’s 2nd District. Lucas is one of the most genuine, real candidates around. Watch this video to see what we mean. We talk about the twists and turns in his life that led him to this moment, why he’s running for Congress, and what bold leadership in today’s world means to him. Lucas’ primary election is this Tuesday June 12. Spread the word.
31:11
June 8, 2018
Protecting Arizonans with January Contreras
January Contreras is an Arena Fellow running for Attorney General in Arizona. As a Deputy County Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, founder of a non-profit, and mother to two children, January has always been driven to protect others. We talk with January about growing up in Arizona and how it shaped her point of view, why she feels called to serve, and how she’ll deal with the pressing challenges of our current political climate - including protecting DACA recipients and addressing the opioid epidemic.
38:26
May 23, 2018
How to make campaigning accessible to new parents
Liuba Grechen Shirley is an Arena Fellow running for Congress in New York’s 2nd District. That district includes parts of Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island. While running for office, Liuba has also led the charge to change campaign finance law so candidates can use campaign funds to pay for childcare. Last week, the FEC ruled 4-0 in favor of the change. Liuba talks about how we can’t just have millionaires running for office. Instead, we need to make campaigning accessible to new mothers and fathers. Liuba also talks about how a meeting with longtime incumbent Peter King inspired her to host a town hall for his constituents - and run against him.
21:11
May 17, 2018
Music City Mayor to Governor? A conversation with Karl Dean
Karl is running to be the next governor of Tennessee. Karl is the former two-term Mayor of Nashville, serving during the great recession and historic 2010 flood. Before that, he was elected and served as the city’s public defender for nearly a decade. We talk about how both crises shaped his pragmatic leadership and vision for Tennessee’s future. We also discuss running as a Democrat in a state where they haven’t performed well in a long time.
23:36
April 19, 2018
Building a better Colorado with Mike Johnston
Mike Johnston is running to be the next Governor of Colorado. Mike is a former educator. He taught in the Mississippi Delta, and went on to lead three different schools. He later moved home to Colorado and won a seat in the State Senate, where he pushed for many policy reforms - but is most well known as a leader in education policy. We talk with Mike about his vision for the kids of Colorado, the problem of gun violence, and how you can get involved in his campaign.
22:46
April 9, 2018
How to run (successfully) with substance with Lauren Underwood
Two weeks ago, Lauren won the Democratic Primary for Congress in the Illinois 14th District. In an upset victory, Lauren beat six other candidates - all men - with 57% of the vote. We met Lauren at the first Arena Summit in December 2016. She walked through the doors and said she was thinking about running for office. And that’s where she met her eventual campaign manager. Lauren later declared a run for Congress and joined our inaugural class of Fellows. We’ve been privileged and honored to support Lauren during each step in her journey and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the years ahead. Lauren is a first-time candidate, former Senior Advisor in President Obama’s Health & Human Services Department, and Registered Nurse.
34:22
April 2, 2018
Can an Army Ranger flip a Trump +28 district?
Jesse Colvin is running for Congress in Maryland’s 1st District. We spoke with Jesse right after Conor Lamb’s stunning victory. Jesse’s race is even tougher than the Lamb race - at least on paper. Jesse is a former US Army Intelligence Officer. He completed four combat deployments in Afghanistan, as well as a year in the South Korea DMZ. He’s also a product of a bipartisan marriage. His wife is a former police officer and former aide to Congressional Republicans. Jesse is running an incredible race in Maryland. He shares some of his experiences from the trail, and draws some conclusions from the Lamb race that can help us think through which races to bet on and prioritize in 2018.
32:14
March 25, 2018
From Obama '08 to Cambridge Analytica with Michael Simon
Michael Simon is a pioneer in the field of data and analytics and Arena Co-Founder and Board Member. Michael Simon is a pioneer in the field of data and analytics and an Arena Co-Founder and Board Member. He traces the origins of data and analytics in modern political campaigns to the present day controversy about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Michael ran Data and Analytics for the Obama 2008 campaign. He then founded HaystaqDNA, a leader in the field of political data and analytics. He’s now the founder and CEO of Elucd, where he works with police departments around the country to understand the relationship between the police and their constituents. At the end of the pod, Michael bestows some expert advice on travel and points. Michael ran Data and Analytics for the Obama 2008 campaign. He then founded HaystaqDNA, a leader in the field of political data and analytics. He’s now the founder and CEO of Elucd, where he works with police departments around the country to understand the relationship between the police and their constituents. At the end of the pod, Michael bestows some expert advice on travel and points.
50:50
March 22, 2018
Let my people vote with Desmond Meade
This is one of our favorite episodes. Desmond Meade is the Founder and President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. More importantly, he is somebody who has been directly impacted by voting rights restrictions. He spent years addicted to drugs and served time in prison. As a result, he is one of the million plus US citizens living in Florida who has had their voting rights stripped away. We talk with Desmond about why he turned his life around, why he decided to stay in Florida and fight for the rights of others, and some incredibly promising developments in his fight to restore voting rights.
29:16
March 15, 2018
Change is coming to Michigan with Rashida Tlaib and Ian Conyers
Rashida Tlaib and Ian Conyers are both running for Congress in a special election for Michigan’s 13th District. Both are active members of The Arena community — having served as hosts for our Detroit Summit last June. They are running for a seat that was previously held by John Conyers, who recently announced that he will step down. We will first hear from Rashida. She was a two-term member of the Michigan House of Representatives. She’s a force of nature and well known community organizer. Then we hear from Ian. He is one of the youngest ever elected members of the Michigan State Senate. He has been an energetic voice for change in Detroit. Michigan’s 13th Congressional District includes Detroit and surrounding areas within Wayne County. We discuss some local issues, as well as why we need new representation in Washington.
47:20
March 12, 2018
How to fight the Trump Tax Plan with Andrea Purse
A few weeks ago, Dan Pfeiffer implored listeners of Pod Save America to do more to counter GOP messaging on the Trump tax bill. That call came as the New York Times and others reported on increased popularity for the legislation amidst a massive Koch-funded effort. In response to these trends, we’ve been in search of members of our community working to communicate with voters about what’s really in the bill. That led us to Andrea Purse, who is an advisor to the Not One Penny Campaign and former White House communications official. In this interview, Andrea discusses recent research on changing public perceptions on the bill and she gives some advice for campaigns, operatives, and funders opposed to the legislation.
25:07
March 6, 2018
Jessica Ramos takes on Trump Democrats in New York
Why are Republicans in charge of the State Senate in New York — one of the bluest states in the country? Why are New York’s voting law so antiquated? Why is progressive legislation often dead on arrival in Albany? The answers to these questions lead back to a small group of Democrats in the New York State Senate that call themselves the Independent Democratic Caucus (I.D.C.). In exchange for perks like better office space and committee assignments, they empower the Republican majority leadership, ensuring that progressive legislation doesn’t get passed. This is akin to Democrats getting elected Congress, then turning around and voting for Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House. That’s what happens in New York. But there’s a group of new leaders running to take back the State Senate. Jessica Ramos is one of them. Jessica is running against Jose Peralta in the 13th District, who is a member of the I.D.C. Jessica tells her story and explains why the I.D.C. is a major threat to working families and vulnerable populations throughout New York.
32:02
March 2, 2018
Anthony Vitarelli helps make sense of the latest Mueller indictments
Welcome to another special edition of The Arena Talks. We recorded this episode on February 18th - two days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed conspiracy and fraud charges against 13 Russian nationals and three organizations. We welcome back Anthony Vitarelli to help make sense of the charges. Anthony is a former Federal Prosecutor for the US Department of Justice and former Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of the Treasury. He began his legal career clerking for Supreme Court Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer. Anthony walks us through the charges and explains what they could mean for the future.
32:01
February 20, 2018
Celinda Lake is polling civic engagement among millennials
Celinda Lake is one of the leading pollsters and political researchers in the country. Over the last few months, we worked with Celinda and her team at Lake Research Partners to study civic and political engagement among millennials in the post 2016 climate. The research validated a few things we expected - but it also revealed a few surprises.
21:49
February 9, 2018
Graig Meyer is fighting for North Carolinians in the General Assembly
In this episode, we talk about: (1:00) How and why Graig first decided to run for office; (3:30) A day in the life of a state legislator; (6:20) Why power matters; (7:10) The harm caused by gerrymandering in North Carolina; (9:30) Key elections in North Carolina in 2018; (11:30) The “surgical precision" of gerrymandering in North Carolina; (13:25) North Carolina’s “Third Koch Brother”; (14:50) The different components of the right wing machine at the state level; (17:30) Republican attempts to strip the Democratic Governor, Attorney General, and Supreme Court of power; (20:30) The stakes of the 2018 elections in North Carolina; (21:30) Democrats need to run on the norms and integrity of elections themselves; (25:00) What you can do to help.
27:50
February 6, 2018
Former Air Force Officer Gina Ortiz Jones is running for Congress in Texas
Gina is a first generation American and the daughter of a single mom. She served as an Air Force Officer in Iraq, and went on to work in national security in many levels of the government during the Obama administration and the transition to the Trump administration. Gina talks about serving in the military, why she’s running, and some of the challenges she has faced so far in her campaign.
20:27
November 3, 2017
Stacey Abrams is running to be America's first black woman governor
Stacey has an amazing story. She was President of her class at Spelman and graduated from Yale Law School as a Truman Scholar. She’s also the daughter of two ministers. We talk about a wide range of topics - including growing up in the South, getting involved in politics, and overcoming obstacles along the way. Unfortunately, the audio in this episode isn’t great, but the content of our conversation is. We recommend you stick it out!
34:16
November 2, 2017
Former Federal Prosecutor Anthony Vitarelli on Mueller’s first indictments
We welcome a special guest, Anthony Vitarelli, to talk about those charges. He’s a former attorney for the US Department of Justice and former Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of the Treasury. He began his legal career clerking for Supreme Court Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer.
50:41
October 31, 2017
Former Obama and Clinton Pollster John Anzalone on the AL Senate race and a life in politics
Our conversation starts with the upcoming election in Alabama, where John lives and is helping support Doug Jones. We go all the way back to Joe Biden’s race in 1987. And we talk about what it will take for Democrats to win back the South.
29:59
October 18, 2017
Jessica Morse is a 5th gen Californian running for Congress in the Sierra foothills
We talk about everything from forest fire prevention to reaching across the aisle to appeal to voters from different parties. Jessica is part of our inaugural class of Arena Fellows. She’s someone we truly believe in, and think she represents the next generation of leaders in our country.
33:40
October 16, 2017
Michael Tubbs is the Mayor of Stockton, CA - and is one of the youngest in America
Michael talks about his rise through adversity in Stockton, his first campaign to unseat an incumbent City Council Member, and then his next campaign to unseat another incumbent to become one of the youngest Mayors in America.
27:17
September 29, 2017
US Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii on running for office when you’re young and Medicaid for all
Brian talks about his decision to run for office when he was only 25 years old, how his father called attention to the notorious and racist Tuskegee syphilis experiments, his new bill to allow consumers to choose to buy-in to Medicaid, and the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare.
23:44
September 22, 2017
Kevin Madden came to the Arena Summit - and now he's running for County Council in Pennsylvania
We first met Kevin at the Arena Summit in Nashville in December 2016, a few weeks after the Presidential election. Kevin was one of the first people there to raise his hand to commit to enter the arena and run for office. And now it’s real. Kevin’s election is only a few weeks away on November 7th. Kevin is running to fight back against the opaque political and patronage machine that has dominated his community for the last 140 years.
24:58
September 20, 2017
Obama field guru Jeremy Bird on building a world-class grassroots campaign
Jeremy has a fascinating story. He grew up in small town Missouri in a trailer park. He talks about his journey from that trailer park to some of the most influential rooms in politics.
37:49
August 31, 2017
Debbie Matties and Will Friedman are connecting constituents with elected officials
Debbie and Will came to The Arena Summit in Detroit in June. They were connected through friends in The Arena Community, and as a result, decided to merge their organizations and amplify their impact. Their organizations — Herd on the Hill and Stamps Licked — match you with people who live in Washington, DC who can make personal, face-to-face contact with your elected officials on your behalf.
28:56
August 28, 2017
Campaign vet Addisu Demissie shares stories from the trail
Addisu is an old friend. When I was just started in politics, he taught me to: 1. Clear your desk by the end of the day. 2. Make sure everything you need in the morning is prepared the night before. 3. Show up one hour earlier than you think you need to. We talk about this advice, his experiences, the 2020 field, and much more.
44:38
August 18, 2017
Shauna Daly is building the Progressive Security Corps to help campaigns lock down their digital accounts
You've probably heard that the DNC and John Podesta got their email accounts hacked during the 2016 election. And we can probably agree that securing accounts like our email is important. The problem is that too many people agree its important, but don't do anything about it.
16:39
August 16, 2017
Legendary fundraiser Shomik Dutta on running call time with Obama, how to raise money, and why we must invest in political tech
We share stories from the early days of the first Obama presidential campaign, Obama’s progression as a candidate during the ‘08 primary, Shomik’s job running “call time” with Obama, and the journey that has brought us to this new political time.
50:12
July 21, 2017
Rita Bosworth launched Sister District to match resources with races
Rita entered the political arena after the November election. She watched $20m get spent on a California race with two progressive democrats running against each other. She was inspired to launch sister district to match resources with races where they'll have a greater impact. We talk about how Sister District works, why it's focused on state races, and how you can get involved.
28:25
July 14, 2017
Ross Morales Rocketto is recruiting young progressives to Run for Something
Ross is a Principal at Smoot Tewes Group. He was previously a management consultant at Deloitte’s innovation center, where he worked with the White House to develop policy solutions to support the growth of social enterprise and impact investing. Ross got his political start working with Julian Castro in 2005 and Bill Richardson in 2007. His new organization, Run for Something, is working to build a bench of young, progressive, political leaders.
27:50
July 12, 2017
Abdul El-Sayed is running for Governor of Michigan
In this episode, Adbul and I discuss the parallels between science and politics (6:14); how he found himself running the health department of the city of Detroit (14:21); the balance of privilege and work ethic that he sees through the lens of being the child of an immigrant (18:13); the call to responsibility for American millennials that has grown since the election (31:18); and the broader economic implications that have driven some of Michigan’s infrastructural failures (36:42).
43:16
July 10, 2017
Haley Stevens is running for Congress in Michigan
Haley talks about growing up in Michigan and her journey from Michigan to the Obama Administration, where she served as Chief of Staff to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry. Then, she talks about her decision to jump in the Arena as a candidate for office.
28:35
July 6, 2017
Jimmy Dahman built The Town Hall Project
In this episode, we’ll hear from Jimmy about how he got started as an activist, how the Town Hall Project crashed Google Docs, and how you can get involved — even if you’re a first-timer.
17:38
July 5, 2017
Jason Kander is fighting for voting rights
As the founder of Let America Vote, Jason is fighting for voting rights across the country. He was previously the Missouri Secretary of State and a candidate for the US Senate. He is joined by Jocelyn Benson, who was a previously a candidate for Michigan Secretary of State and is currently the CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.
26:06
July 3, 2017
Brittany Packnett doesn't care how you got woke - she cares that you stay woke
Brittany discusses the privilege of the activist, that those who are most in need of support are burdened by the necessity of working to put food on the table or cannot voice their truth for fear of political or religious persecution (“privilege is not hyperbole; it is a reality”) (2:03); her upbringing in an activist household where “justice was the family business” (3:28); how marginalized groups like African Americans, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community are in “the arena,” whether they like it or not (“even if we aren’t interested in racism, racism is interested in us” h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates) (3:51); how it doesn’t matter if this is your first taste of activism or if you are a veteran, we need to push forward together (“I don’t care how you got woke, I just care that you stay woke”) (6:03); and how we must stay fierce in our fight against oppressive forces (“aim to become an enemy of injustice so powerful that the orange man in the White House will tweet about you”) (7:31).
10:16
June 29, 2017
Brian Deese, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama, believes we can (literally) save the planet
While Brian acknowledges the clear and present threats posed by both immediate shifts in the climate and the naivety of the denial of the current administration (3:03), he poses three core reasons for optimism: “the economics are on our side” – the economy has seen sustained growth while carbon emissions have seen a sustained decline, and alternative energy resources continue to become cheaper and more employable alternatives to more dirty energy sources (3:52); “the political conversation that is happening about climate change in the United States is not happening anywhere else in this planet” – despite the frustrations we see in our lack of action in the United States, the rest of the world acknowledges the reality of science and climate change (7:32); and that “Donald Trump has made climate change an issue of action for states and cities in this country” – organically, a group calling itself “We’re Still In” including more than a dozen states, hundreds of cities, and thousands of companies, has agreed to maintain the standards set by the Paris Accords agreement (9:18). The states acting as part of this group represent more than half of all emissions in the United States, meaning that their actions are not only politically significant, but are also functionally key to continued carbon reduction and safety.
38:32
June 28, 2017
Buffy Wicks is running for California’s State Assembly in the 15th District
In this episode, Buffy and I discuss her upbringing in a trailer park in a small, conservative California town and her early work in the Bay Area following college (2:21); the triumphs of her work on the Affordable Care Act legislation and the GOP’s current attempt to dismantle it (5:42); the dynamic of her being a progressive community activist who then worked on the Clinton campaign (16:22); her decision to run for office shortly after the birth of her first child (18:58); the importance of childcare for economic equality and a leveled playing field for women in the workforce (22:01); her efforts to advocate for children’s rights in California (24:35); and her experience completing an Iron (Wo)Man despite having never before done a triathlon (27:11).
33:31
June 27, 2017
Lacey Rzeszowski is running for New Jersey’s General Assembly
In this episode, Lacey and I discuss the historic primary turnout that saw a 244% increase over the past gubernatorial race (1:19), how the Sandy Hook shooting influenced her decision to get into the arena and work to quell gun violence (4:58), what drove her to leave the Republican party and run as a Democrat (7:46), why too many New Jersey politicians, led by Governor Christie, have fallen short in making necessary progress across the state (8:56), how social media has rallied local activism and reenergized the Democratic base in the wake of the November election (13:23), and why Mahatma Gandhi serves as an inspiration to her own political ambitions (16:46).
20:11
June 23, 2017
Former Navy Pilot Ken Harbaugh is running for Congress in Ohio
In this episode, Ken and I discuss his time as an Electronic Warfare Aircraft Commander (or an E-WAC, as Ken would say) in the United States Navy and how it informed his notion of duty (5:54), his work with Team Rubicon leading veteran volunteers (9:12), his response to the proposed federal budget increasing military spend at the expense of other programs (17:44), his thoughts on the experience of incumbent Bob Gibbs in Congress (19:05), his daughter’s preexisting condition and how the proposed healthcare bill will affect the residents in his district (22:05), the role of charter schools and public infrastructure in the Ohio education system (27:27), and how society needs to rethink its response to the opioid epidemic (34:08). Ken’s daughter makes her debut toward the end to warn her dad that church is in half an hour.
40:12
June 19, 2017
Andy Kim is running for Congress in New Jersey against Rep. Tom MacArthur
In this episode, Andy discusses living on a cattle ranch for two years (8:30), Rep. Tom MacArthur’s role in the healthcare repeal (13:10), advising President Obama and General Petraeus on Iraq and Afghanistan policy (22:27), the Mount Sinjar massacre in Northern Iraq (31:40), redistricting reform (38:30), and his relationship with Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi attacks (40:00).
52:26
May 11, 2017