Opening Plenary

Closing Plenary

Education Breakout

Health Care Breakout

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Breakout

Over the past year, state and local leaders have been elevated in an unprecedented way, working on the frontlines in midst of crises around public health, economic opportunity, and racial justice, and playing a crucial role in determining whether the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before.

This week’s 6th annual NewDEAL Ideas Summit showcased the best of these leaders and their ideas, and we are more optimistic than ever that, with the backing of real partners in the Biden Administration and Congress, we will build back better. Featured speakers joined NewDEAL Leaders from across the country, as well as partners from the private and non-profit sectors, to discuss solutions to political and policy challenges in strengthening the safety net, improving education, supporting entrepreneurship, addressing systemic racism, and more, as well as the keys to maximizing the impact of the huge influx of funding from the American Rescue Plan.

Thank you to the rising state and local NewDEAL Leaders and our public and private sector partners who participated, and to many of you who were able to join us on Wednesday. For those of you who couldn’t make it, or who were only able to attend a portion, see below for more details on our discussions about policy ideas and building back better. If you missed anything, you can watch recordings of the event on our plenary recordings page and on our breakouts recordings page.

We hope you will join us later this year for what we hope will be an in-person Conference in November. Stay tuned for more details!

Highlights from the Opening Plenary

“Now is the time to make bold moves and reimagine our economy. One that builds back better than ever before,” said Secretary Gina Raimondo as she outlined how the American Rescue Plan will be critical in shaping a bright future for the country.

“All the problems that we are facing as a nation will require cooperation with government at all levels — at the federal level, at the state level, and at the local level…because no one knows better what their community needs than the people on the ground.” – Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland

“If we can work together, we can build America into what it was always supposed to be: a shining example of human potential.” – Mayor Steve Benjamin

“You’re [NewDEAL Leaders] solving real problems in ways that impact average Americans…what I miss about being a county executive, and what I love about you, is that you help connect us to the real solutions the American people need.” – Senator Chris Coons

A panel of NewDEAL Leaders, including Mayor Benjamin, Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and California Senator Ben Allen discussed how they’re using unprecedented federal investment in their communities to Build Back Better.

Highlights From Breakout Sessions

In breakout sessions, attendees engaged with discussion co-leaders to delve into lessons learned from the pandemic on three major policy topics:


“Together, at the state and local level, with the lens of focusing on underserved students and stakeholder engagement, we think there is a critical opportunity to accelerate the recovery from the pandemic to support students and to advance educational equity” said Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education Ian Rosenblum in regards to how to address unfinished learning and pursuing long-term equity.


New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer highlighted, “As it turned out, the COVID-19 pandemic did not impact all communities equally, it attacked vulnerabilities and inequalities that were pre-existing.” He urged attendees to consider, “How do we take the stimulus that we have and our policymaking and make sure there is true quality health care for all?”

Small Business & Entrepreneurship:

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean noted the need to think broadly about the challenges facing small business, like limited access to child care, affordable housing, and transit: “Ultimately if we want to foster entrepreneurship, if we want to continue to support the economy that we have, we have to get at the root, the foundation, the infrastructure if you will.”

Highlights from the Closing Plenary

In a panel moderated by political analyst and writer Jamal Simmons, NewDEAL Leaders St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, Pennsylvania House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, and Montgomery County, MD Councilmember Will Jawando reflected on the impact of George Floyd’s murder and the following protest movement on public safety, and the work left to be done. Mayor Jones noted,  “We have to make sure we are deploying our resources effectively and deploying resources that are actually keeping people safe.”

Doug Sosnik, former Senior Advisor to President Clinton, walked attendees through the long view of how we got to this moment of deep political division, and what he sees for the next ten years: “Millennials, who are now the largest population in America and are also the largest voting bloc, they are increasingly going to become not only dominant politically, but are going to be poised fairly soon to take over the political leadership in our country. And there’s a pretty broad consensus amongst them about changing how we’re going.”

Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, closed our time together with a brief look at the President’s work to build back better: “Whether it’s getting people vaccinated so we can leave the pandemic, whether it’s delivering aid to American citizens, whether it’s food, whether it’s money, whether it’s just support in other ways, we have to be there.”