13th Annual Leaders Conference

Washington, D.C. | Nov. 15 – 17

NewDEAL Leaders from across the country joined us at the 13th Annual Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss solutions to major political and policy challenges. Collaborating with non-profit and private sector thought leaders, these state and local champions spotlighted under-the-radar climate solutions, analyzed the opportunities offered by the ever-accelerating world of AI, addressed threats to our democracy, and discussed so much more. We move forward with hope for rallying the nation around the common goals of freedom and unity, exemplified by our 2024 Freedom Agenda and by our closing plenary with David McCullough III and Adar Cohen of the American Exchange Project.

If you weren’t able to join us, be sure to watch the video recordings from each of the plenary sessions here and continue reading for a recap of this year’s program. You can also view and download photos from the event here. Finally, we encourage you to browse the additional resources listed below.

Welcome Remarks from NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan

NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan kicked off the 13th Annual Leaders Conference, setting the tone for the event. “Extremist forces – which have now taken over one of our major political parties – are cynically stoking fears, escalating the politics of chaos and violence, and attacking our very democracy,” she stated. Yet, there is reason to be hopeful. “Look around this room,” she said. “We are not alone, nor are we powerless.”

2024 Political Outlook

Symone Sanders Townsend, host of SYMONE on MSNBC, hosted our 2024 Political Outlook panel with speakers Canton, NC, Mayor Zeb Smathers, Third Way Senior Director of Communications Kate deGruyter, political influencer Olivia Julianna, and Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko. “We’re having this conversation on the heels of last Tuesday,” Sanders Townsend opened. “Some folks say we can’t look too much into [the results]. But my question is: what say you?” Cardona and Parkhomenko highlighted lessons from this year’s abortion referendums, noting the importance of Democrats leaning into efforts to protect Americans’ freedoms in 2024, while Julianna and Smathers emphasized the role of economic issues in the upcoming election. “Most young Americans are there, thinking ‘I don’t’ really know what I believe,” Julianna said. “‘I’m just a young person trying to pay my rent, and I don’t know the intricacies of foreign policy.'”

Freedom Agenda

New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm then brought the crowd’s attention to the strategy for the path ahead, setting the stage for conversations on protecting freedoms and creating economic opportunities. He turned the program over to New Democrat Coalition Chair and U.S. Representative Annie Kuster who joined us by video to unveil the New Democrat Coalition and the NewDEAL’s 2024 Freedom Agenda. The agenda offers a guide for leaders to show how Democrats are the party defending Americans’ fundamental rights while promoting economic opportunity, strengthening communities across the country, and protecting democracy. Read the Freedom Agenda in its entirety here and be sure to check out POLITICO’s coverage of the document.

Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell underscored this mission as she shared Florida Democrats’ model for forwarding practical, bipartisan legislation in their ultra-red legislature. “That’s our tagline: The freedom to be healthy, prosperous and safe,” she shared. “And it works across all levels.” Colorado Senator Chris Hansen, Boise, ID, Mayor Lauren McLean, and Georgia Representative Phil Olaleye (a 2023 Ideas Challenge Winner) expanded upon this with Mill’s Harry Tannenbaum and Empower Schools’ Alyssa Morton in their conversations about practical climate solutions and equity in public education.

2023 Ideas Challenge Winner Oregon Representative Janelle Bynum rounded out the conversation with her advice for state and local leaders on continuing to leverage federal funds for projects in their communities. “We’re at a moment where we can redefine what our future looks like and really drive the competitive spirit,” she said, emphasizing the collaboration that must occur between leaders at all levels of governance to work on behalf of the American people. “The onus is on us.”

Authentic and Effective Communication

Attendees then enjoyed breakout sessions covering education, climate change, and food insecurity, led by NewDEAL Leaders and issue area experts. We returned to the ballroom in the afternoon for moving remarks from Ian Kahn and an invigorating conversation on authentic and effective communication led by NewDEAL alumna and former EMILY’s List Executive Director Emily Cain. Panelists Karen Finney and Lis Smith spoke about cutting through the noise, letting voters see their “nerdy” sides, and the importance of self care. “The tactics themselves aren’t what matters,” Smith said, summing up the session. “It’s the messenger that matters.”

Countering Disinformation in A Fractured Media Environment

Thursday programming ended with a presentation from Courier Newsroom Publisher Tara McGowan who provided an analysis of the U.S.’s fractured media environment and discussed methods for confronting misinformation. “The best antidote to disinformation is good information, and good information is the lifeblood of democracy,” McGowan shared. McGowan offered suggestions for leaders who find themselves the victims of dis- and misinformation, such as being available on as many online platforms as possible and practicing “pre-bunking,” the act of matter-of-factly debunking rumors and lies before they gain traction.

Democracy and the 2024 Elections

Our second day of programming kicked off with Tides’ Civic Engagement and Democracy Program Officer Beth Huang and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a 2023 Ideas Challenge Winner, underscoring the rampant proliferation of election disinformation in the wake of 2020 and its threat to our democracy. “It’s wonderful when people learn the mechanics of election administration,” Secretary Toulouse Oliver said. “Having more interest in the election process itself is wonderful, but so much of it is based on mis- and disinformation now.” Huang and Toulouse Oliver also outlined strategies for safeguarding democratic institutions ahead of 2024, both by taking specific steps to bolster election security and by finding innovative ways to increase civic engagement across the country.

Artificial Intelligence: Impacts and Implications for Governing

Veteran television producer and founder of the Washington AI Network Tammy Haddad led a panel discussion on artificial intelligence and the opportunities and challenges posed by the ever-evolving technology with New York Assemblymember Alex Bores, EqualAI President & CEO Miriam Vogel, and Schmidt Futures Vice President of Partnerships Kumar Garg. “Those who embrace technology first, they win, their constituents win, and their families win,” Haddad said in opening, as panelists emphasized the need for state and local leaders to take an active role in AI regulation. Bores, an engineer with an extensive background in government technology, provided a nuanced look at the AI landscape at the local policy level. “We’re having conversations about a lot of different things under the banner of AI,” he said, recognizing that the technology does not exist in a political vacuum. “It’s going to affect everything that we’re doing.” The conversation continued later that morning during our breakout sessions as NewDEALear Oklahoma Representative Arturo Alonso-Sandoval, Connecticut Senator James Maroney, and the Wilson Center’s Kellee Wicker led a session for conference attendees.

Incentivizing Affordable Housing Construction

Up For Growth’s David Williams led NewDEALer Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine and JBG SMITH’s Lily Goldstein in a conversation on affordable housing and strategies for leaders to collaborate with private-sector partners to combat the housing crisis. “Access to affordable housing is a human right,” Treasurer Conine said. “And supply is the problem.” In addition to constructing new units, the speakers also urged leaders to develop innovative ways to restore and elevate existing housing structures. “We will always be falling behind if we do not include preservation in the mix,” Goldstein said.

Bridging Differences and Bringing People Together

NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan led our closing plenary in conversation with David McCullough III and Adar Cohen of the American Exchange Project, a free domestic exchange program for graduated high school seniors aimed at combatting toxic polarization and providing life-changing cross-cultural experiences. “Division in America really is the greatest issue in the world,” American Exchange Project Founder & CEO David McCullough III said. “If we’re not able to move forward with this issue, we’re gonna be stalled.” McCullough and Cohen shared the story of the American Exchange Project with attendees while also drawing attention to the epidemic of division in this country and how it has worsened along partisan lines. “It’s a huge act of courage to the be first one to listen,” Cohen said, emphasizing the common goal of AEP and of elected officials leading in a polarized environment.

Thursday Opening Plenary

Starts November 16th, 2023 at 9:00 AM ET

Thursday Afternoon Plenary

Starts November 16th, 2023 at 2:30 PM ET

Friday Morning Plenary

Starts November 17th, 2023 at 8:45 AM ET

Friday Closing Plenary

Starts November 17th, 2023 at 12:30 PM ET

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Nov. 15th, 2023 at 6 PM ET

Val Hoyle

NewDEAL Alum and U.S. Representative | OR-04

Val Hoyle was elected to Congress in 2022 and previously served in Oregon’s House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017.  Val has a background in business, with over 25 years of experience in the outdoor sporting goods industry.  She was chair of the Export Council of Oregon and a founding member of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Roundtable.

Val focused much of her time in the legislature on strengthening education, through innovative ideas such as The New Partnership, which provides the University of Oregon with more stable funding and clearer standards of accountability to improve accessibility, affordability, diversity, economic development, and service impact.  She also worked to make the state’s School Superintendent an appointed position in order to take the politics out of education and focus on what’s best for Oregon students.

In the wake of the recession, Val has been a voice for one of the hardest-hit districts in the state, striving to ensure that small businesses can support their workers by backing the creation of a healthcare exchange that will ease the burden of health insurance costs.

Jennifer McClellan

NewDEAL Alum and U.S. Representative | VA-04

Jennifer McClellan was elected to the U.S. House in 2023. She previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 11 years. Jennifer has earned a reputation as an effective, constituent services oriented legislator who can find common ground across the aisle while standing up for progressive values. She has been a legislative leader on diversifying Virginia’s economy, adapting to new business models and technology, improving public education and breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, criminal justice reform, increasing access to affordable housing, expanding renewable energy sources, civil rights, and ethics reform. As the first Virginia Delegate to be pregnant while in office, she has been a fierce protector of women’s reproductive rights, children, and families. Her legislative accomplishments include legislation authorizing benefit corporations in Virginia, establishing lactation policies in public schools, reforming child marriage and school discipline laws, strengthening Family Life Education curriculum to address sexual harassment and abuse, and reforming child marriage laws. She has also been a leader on efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, expand renewable energy sources, and banning housing and employment discrimination against LGBTQ Virginians.

Jennifer served as the Chair of the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission and Vice Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. She also served on the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council and was a 2018 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow. She has been a Democratic Party activist and leader at the local, state, and national level, and previously served on the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Party of Virginia Steering Committee.

Marilyn Strickland

NewDEAL Honorary Co-Chair and U.S. Representative | WA-10

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland proudly represents Washington’s 10th Congressional District, which covers Pierce County, Thurston County and parts of Mason County. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Strickland is the first African-American to represent Washington State at the federal level, and one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress in its 230-year history.

Raised in the South Sound, Strickland graduated from Tacoma Public Schools and earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Washington. She went on to earn an MBA from Clark-Atlanta University, a Historically Black College and University.

Strickland’s father, who fought in World War II and Korea, met her mother while he was stationed in Korea after the war. Strickland’s parents endured discrimination and hardships that she could never imagine. They wanted her to have opportunities they were denied and taught her to work hard, fight for what’s right, serve the community, and to stand up for the underdog. Those values continue to inspire Congresswoman Strickland every day as she advocates for Washington’s 10th Congressional District in Congress.

Prior to Strickland’s election to Congress, she served as Mayor of Tacoma, where she helped transform a city and economy crippled by a deep recession into a destination for families, workers, artists, tourists and entrepreneurs. In addition to attracting over $1 billion in investment for housing and businesses, she was instrumental in investing over $500 million in infrastructure for roads, bridges, transportation, and the Port, creating over 40,000 new jobs in the Tacoma region.

A firm believer that there is dignity in all work, Strickland led successful efforts to raise the minimum wage and pass paid sick leave, paving the way for statewide action. Her city-wide Environmental Action Plan set goals to improve our air, water, and health. She launched an award-winning summer jobs program for high school students that led to the Tacoma Tideflats Certification Program, creating a pipeline for students to fill high-demand jobs in the maritime and construction trades. She and her team raised the high school graduation rate in Tacoma from 55% to 89% by making education a civic priority. Strickland was proud to stand with the LGBTQ community in support of Marriage Equality and transgender rights, and pass background checks for gun sales in Tacoma before statewide action.

As a Freshman Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Strickland carries with her the experience of rebuilding an economy after an economic recession. She will always be a strong voice for change so that our most vulnerable community members are served as we re-build an economy that works for all of us.

Strickland serves as a Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in addition to the House Armed Services Committee. She is also a Member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus, Democratic Women’s Caucus, and the New Democrat Coalition.

Congresswoman Strickland resides in Tacoma, Washington with her husband.

Opening Plenary

Thursday, Nov. 16th, 2023 at 9 AM ET

Debbie Cox Bultan

Chief Executive Officer | NewDEAL & NewDEAL Forum

Debbie Cox Bultan has more than thirty years of experience in center-left politics, public policy, and non-profit leadership. As CEO of NewDEAL, she oversees both strategy and day to day operations for the organization. She is a frequent commentator about trends in, and the importance of, state and local government, and co-hosts the award-winning podcast, An Honorable Profession, where she speaks with exceptional state and local leaders about their work and path into public service.

Debbie previously served as Executive Director for the Civic Leadership Foundation, a Chicago-based non-profit that prepares underserved youth for college, career, and civic life. Prior to helping launch NewDEAL, Debbie spent fifteen years at the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) where she served in a number of capacities, including National Political Director and Chief of Staff. Among her accomplishments at the DLC was developing a network of, and policy tools for, state and local elected officials across the country.

Debbie is also a veteran of numerous political campaigns in California, where she currently resides with her husband and two children.

Janelle Bynum

Representative | Clackamas, OR

A courageous trailblazer, State Representative Janelle Bynum serves as the Oregon State Representative for House District 51 (East Portland and Happy Valley). In the Legislature, she is the immediate past Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, current Chair of the Interim House Committee on Small Business and Economic Development and serves as a member of the House Business and Labor and Joint Ways and Means committees. She is also a founding member of the BIPOC Caucus giving voice to Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color constituents, advocates, and businesses.

During her tenure in the Legislature, Rep. Bynum has spearheaded bipartisan initiatives encompassing Voter Engagement and Turnout; Investment in K-12 and Higher Education; Juvenile and Criminal Justice Reform; Police Accountability, and targeted support for small businesses. In the 2021 legislative session, Janelle passed an ambitious agenda with over 23 pieces of landmark legislation on Public Safety, over $70M to help grow the number of mental health providers, and the CROWN Act that protects both workers and student-athletes.

Concurrent with her leadership in public service, Janelle and her husband Mark are parents to four children and own multiple McDonald’s Restaurants. She has served on the Board of Trustees for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon, Business Oregon, the Center for Women’s Leadership, and the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs. She earned her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida A&M University, and her MBA from the University of Michigan—Ross Business School. She is also a member of African American women’s associations Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Janelle is a champion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and is an avid consumer of American football, basketball, barbeque, and artisan cheeses.

Olivia Julianna

Political Strategist 

Olivia Julianna is an abortion rights activist, democracy organizer, and political influencer from Houston, Texas. With over 1 million followers across TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram her content has accumulated over 1 billion views, changing the political landscape and putting youth voices front and center in the fight for our future.

She came to national prominence for initiating the takedown of a whistleblower website that targeted those in the state of Texas who aided in abortion access, and for raising $2.2 million for abortion funds after she was publicly attacked by Republican Congressman Matt Gatez

She has facilitated collaborations with elected officials like Governors Josh Shapiro and Gretchen Whitmer, and has been highlighted in a digital feature by Vice President Kamala Harris.

She’s been awarded the Ms. Foundation Marie C Wilson Emerging Leader award and the Planned Parenthood South East Legends in the Making award, which had previously been won by Cecile Richards and Congressman John Lewis.

Kate DeGruyter

Senior Director of Communications| Third Way

As the Senior Director of Communications at Third Way, Kate oversees the organization’s communications strategy. She guides a team of talented professionals to distill Third Way’s research, analyses, and insights in simple and sticky ways for Washington policymakers, advocacy leaders, and members of the press. Kate has been featured in The Hill, Huffington Post, the Washington Examiner, and podcasts like Majority 54 and Beyond Politics.

Prior to joining Third Way in 2015, Kate spent almost six years on Capitol Hill with former Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez. As a lead negotiator in the House of Representatives on a bipartisan immigration bill, Congressman Gutiérrez and seven other members attempted to find common ground on one of the most politically divisive issues of the day. Kate built the Congressman’s social media presence from 40,000 followers to over 380,000 followers as they educated constituents and members of the public about negotiations in Washington and the rollout of the DACA program. During her tenure, the Congressman became the number one Facebook profile in the U.S. House of Representatives, a major feat for a member who was not a committee chairman or a part of leadership. She was particularly proud of the day he surpassed the Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in followers. Kate began her career in the Minnesota State Senate, where she worked to pass the first legislation in the nation to ban BPA in baby bottles.

When she’s out of the office, Kate loves playing volleyball, volunteering with her church, escaping to enjoy time at the lake, and exploring local parks with her husband and son.

Fentrice Driskell

Representative | Hillsborough County, FL

Representative Fentrice D. Driskell was first elected to the Florida House in November 2018. Her approach of bringing common-sense solutions to our state’s most pressing challenges related to public education, the environment, affordable housing, social and racial justice, public safety, and economic opportunity for all allows her to bring accessible, passionate representation to District 63 in Tampa.

Recently, Rep. Driskell’s peers unanimously elected her as Leader Designate Designate for the Florida House Democratic Caucus, which will make her the first Black woman to lead the Democrats in the Florida House. Rep. Driskell also serves as Policy Chair for her caucus. Rep. Driskell serves on the Redistricting Committee, Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee, Appropriations Committee, and Judiciary Committee, where she serves as Democratic Ranking Member. During the 2021 legislative session, Rep. Driskell carried and unanimously passed HB 7051, a bipartisan policy reform bill that will significantly improve transparency and accountability in law enforcement.

Rep. Driskell is a graduate of Harvard, where she was the first Black student to be elected president of the student government, and of Georgetown University Law Center.

Chris Hansen

Senator | Denver, CO

Senator Chris Hansen represents Senate District 31 in the Colorado State Senate. He specializes in energy sector economics and data analytics, with 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. He was formerly the Representative for House District 6 from 2017-2019, representing the east-central neighborhoods of Denver. He currently serves on the Senate Finance, and Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committees. Throughout his tenure in the Colorado House of Representatives, Hansen served on the Capital Development, House Transportation & Energy, Appropriations, Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources, and Joint Budget committees, and as Chair on the House Appropriations Committee.

Prior to his work as an elected official, he served as Senior Director at IHS Markit where he led a global portfolio of energy products, events and partnerships. He is a co-creator of the OptGen analysis, IHS CERA’s unique tool for applying financial portfolio techniques to power generation. Before joining IHS Markit, Dr. Hansen was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where he analyzed electricity and gas sector reform in India and published several papers in professional journals on energy sector economics and policy analysis.  Dr. Hansen holds a BSc in Nuclear Engineering from Kansas State University; a Graduate Diploma of Civil Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; a Master of Science in Technology Policy from MIT; and a PhD in Economic Geography from Oxford University. In 2012, he was selected as a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund and in 2017 was selected as a Public Leadership Fellow at Harvard University by the Gates Family Foundation. In 2019, he was selected as one of fifteen leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of rising state and local elected officials.

In addition to his current role in the state senate, Hansen serves as the Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute, and as Co-Founder of the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship.

Alyssa Morton

CEO & Partner | Empower Schools

Alyssa Morton is a dedicated advocate for educational equity and innovation. As CEO and Partner at Empower Schools, a national education nonprofit, she leads a team of experts collaborating with state agencies, policymakers, public school districts, institutions of higher education, and community champions across the United States to design, launch, and sustain innovative schools and school systems that help students achieve long-term economic mobility. Before joining Empower Schools, Alyssa supported public education organizations at Bain & Company and advanced school and system human capital strategy as an Education Pioneers Fellow in New Orleans. Alyssa holds a B.A. in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law (PPL) from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children.

Phil Olaleye

Representative | Atlanta, GA

Elected in 2022, Phil serves as State Representative for Georgia House District 59, representing parts of Atlanta and East Point. Professionally, Phil is the Executive Director of Next Generation Men & Women, an education nonprofit that creates pathways of opportunity for underresourced students to graduate prepared for college and career. Prior to that, Phil served as the Director of Performance Management at WorkSource Atlanta and as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines.

Phil is the former Summerhill neighborhood President, a 2021 Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 and 2020 Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 under Forty honoree. Phil graduated from Duke University in 2007 and received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2014. Raised in Stone Mountain, Phil is a proud son of Nigerian and Colombian immigrants. He has seen the barriers facing families up close — lack of access to educational opportunity, economic security and quality healthcare. And as a husband and father, Phil believes in strong leadership that can meet people where they are today, fully represent their experiences, and build for a better future.

Mark Riddle

President | Future Majority

Mark Riddle is the President of Future Majority, a leading strategy and creative center. Since its founding in 2017, Future Majority has surveyed more than 196,000 voters across the nation, conducted numerous deep-listening studies of key voters, and deployed more than $115 million in direct voter communication to advocate for a freedom-focused agenda that makes American workers the hero of our nation’s story.

Throughout the 2022 cycle, Future Majority deployed more than $38 million in direct voter communication to advocate for common-sense policy solutions and educate Americans on when and how they can vote. In 2020, Mark was the Founder and Senior Strategist for Unite the Country, the pro-Joe Biden Super PAC. Unite the Country and Future Majority raised over $78 million to promote Joe Biden’s positive message, as well as research and communicate on issues confronting Americans. In 2018, DCCC Chairman Congressman (now U.S. Senator) Ben Ray Lujan said, “Future Majority’s research and messaging recommendations were very helpful as
we developed the narrative to win back the House.”

From 2011-2019, Mark was the President of the New Leaders Council, one of the nation’s premier progressive leadership training organizations for next generation political and business entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, NLC expanded to 50 chapters with nearly 9,000 alumni.

Zeb Smathers

Mayor | Canton, NC

Since 2013, Mayor Smathers has been a part of a great, cooperative, bipartisan team that has led a progressive and practical agenda that gave a rebirth to his rural hometown of Canton, North Carolina.

This agenda has included a focused push for sustainable economic development, living wages, environmental improvements, and increased outdoor recreational opportunities. Mayor Smathers has navigated through recent hardships, leading the city through deadly floods that destroyed half the town, and he is currently focused on creating new economic opportunities after the closure of the town’s papermill, where they lost 1,100 jobs in March 2023.

Though the agenda is forward looking, Mayor Smathers and his team have not lost the sense of tradition, history, and blue-collar swagger which makes his town special and enticing for both families and workers.

Harry Tannenbaum

Co-Founder and President | The Mill

Harry Tannenbaum is the President and co-founder of Mill, where he has built an entirely new system to prevent waste, starting with food. Mill is a practical and impactful way to take steps at home that are good for your kitchen and our planet. Mill’s approach recycles the food you can’t eat at home, conserves the nutrients, and sends it back to farms as food for chickens.

Prior to Mill, Harry led the centralized analytics group and ecommerce business at Nest, which launched the first learning thermostat and became the leading brand for the connected home. During his time at Nest, Harry helped to scale the business to more than $1B in annual revenue. Following Nest’s acquisition by Google, he was a director in Google’s hardware organization focused on ecommerce and subscription offerings. Before Nest, Harry briefly worked at an investment bank, before deciding he wanted to work in climate.  

He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCLA. Harry is a surfer, and was raised in San Francisco.

Matt Wilhelm

House Democratic Leader | Manchester, NH

Rep. Matt Wilhelm was first elected to the NH House of Representatives in 2018 and has served as House Democratic Leader since 2022. Matt began his career in public service as an AmeriCorps team leader, supporting diverse young Americans through a demanding year of full-time AmeriCorps service in under-resourced public schools. After spending more than a decade working in the music industry, helping touring bands leverage their platforms to create positive social and environmental impact, Matt earned his master’s of public administration from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. He lives in Manchester with his wife, Jody, and their two children, Ben and Rosie.

Thursday Breakout Sessions

Thursday, Nov. 16th, 2023 at 1:15 PM ET

Ben Allen

Senator | Los Angeles, CA

Senator Ben Allen was elected in 2014 (and reelected in 2018) to represent the 1 million residents of California’s 26th Senate District covering the Westside, Hollywood and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County. Senator Allen has thrown himself into the important work of state government, focusing on wise decision-making and pushing for reforms that address systemic inadequacies in our state. He has authored important laws in a variety of areas, from environmental protection to electoral reform, and chairs the Legislature’s Environmental Quality Committee, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts, and the Senate Select Committee on Aerospace and Defense.

Allen played a pivotal role in efforts to ensure that public transit construction would receive a substantial component of the recent statewide transportation gas tax funds and has been a leader in efforts to ensure that transit projects received expedited environmental reviews. He has championed the important Los Angeles industries of aerospace, tourism, arts, and entertainment, playing an important role in the state’s recent extension of the television and film production tax credit that has spurred economic growth around the state by encouraging production to come home to California.

Laura Capps

County Supervisor | Santa Barbara County, CA

Laura has devoted her career to public service, serving as a White House speechwriter for President Clinton, a communications director on John Kerry’s presidential campaign, an advisor in the United States Senate to Senator Edward Kennedy, part of Al Gore’s climate change campaign, and Senior Vice President at Ocean Conservancy.  In addition to her service with the Santa Barbara Unified Board of Education, Laura manages her own public affairs practice collaborating with non-profit organizations on issues of climate, poverty, immigration, and childhood hunger.  Active in the community, Laura has served as president of the Community Environmental Council, board member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Chair of the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women and for several terms on the Board of Trustees for her alma mater, University of California, Berkeley. She has taught college courses on Congress and politics at the University of California Washington Center and holds a Masters in History with Distinction from the London School of Economics.

Dan Carol

Senior Director, Center for Financial Markets | Milken Institute

Senior Director Dan Carol leads the Milken Institute’s programming and partnerships to accelerate deployment and financing of community-scale and resilient infrastructure. Prior to joining the Milken Institute, Carol worked for Governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom of California, serving on the Executive Committee of the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan alliance of 24 states implementing the Paris agreement.  Before that, Carol served the Obama Administration as a member of the US DOE’s State Energy Advisory Board, co-founded two clean energy acceleration groups (The Apollo Alliance and the Clean Economy Network) and served as a senior campaign advisor to the Clinton-Gore 1992 and Obama-Biden 2008 campaigns.

Wil Del Pilar

Senior Vice Presient | Ed Trust

Wil Del Pilar, Ph.D., serves as Ed Trust’s Senior Vice President. In this role, Wil spearheads Ed Trust’s mission to highlight inequities and outline solutions in order to improve access, success, affordability, and completion in higher education for low-income students and students of color.

Prior to joining Ed Trust, Wil served in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s administration as deputy secretary of postsecondary and higher education, where he developed and implemented the state’s strategic vision for higher education. Before joining Governor Wolf’s team, Wil had experience in the Pennsylvania Department of Education, working as an executive assistant in the state’s higher education office. In this role, he managed an array of services for the state, including the College Access Challenge Grant and the Pennsylvania Information Management System.

Aside from working for Pennsylvania’s Department of Education in higher education policy roles, Wil has held senior development positions, as the director of development at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of Florida’s Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. In both positions, he fought to secure funding to support access and success initiatives for historically underrepresented students.

In addition to his policy and development experience, Wil has a wealth of institutional experience, working in admissions at Chapman University in Orange, California, and the University of California Santa Cruz, as a financial aid counselor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and as a research assistant at Penn State.

Wil holds a doctorate in higher education/higher education administration from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree from California State University-Dominguez Hills, and a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University.

David Eichenthal

Senior Advisor for Policy Implementation and Delivery | U.S Department of Treasury

David Eichenthal is a Senior Advisor for Policy Implementation and Delivery with U.S. Department of Treasury IRA Implementation Office.  He initially joined the Biden-Harris Administration in May 2023 with the Domestic Policy Council. Prior to joining the Federal government, David was a partner at the nation’s leading independent financial advisor for state and local governments where he helped to lead the firm’s management and budget consulting practice, directed engagements with some of the nation’s largest local governments and was Executive Director of the National Resource Network — an Obama-Biden Administration initiative to provide comprehensive technical assistance to the nation’s most economically challenged cities.  Previously, David led a Chattanooga-based policy research organization where he authored a series of studies on the economic benefits of investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy: he was also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Metro Program. David started his career spending a dozen years in state and local government, serving as Chief of Staff to a citywide elected official in New York and City Finance Officer and Director of Performance Review in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU School of Law.

Jenn Ellis

Director of State Government Relations | All4Ed

Jenn Ellis joined All4Ed in August 2021 as Director of State Government Relations and supports the organization’s state and local policy agenda to ensure all students graduate prepared to complete postsecondary education and achieve success in a rapidly changing world.

Ms. Ellis has spent her career in the unique intersection between research, substantive policy, law, and real-world outreach and impact and has significant experience leading education-based policy, advocacy, and legislative initiatives. She also has a passion for making policy and data accessible, interesting, and actionable for everyone.

Prior to joining All4Ed, Ms. Ellis served as Director of Policy Engagement for XQ Institute in Oakland, CA where she oversaw nationwide policy initiatives to rethink high school and ensure that all students graduate ready to succeed in life. Ms. Ellis also worked to increase educational opportunity at the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) and Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, where she served as both Head of Policy and Assistant General Counsel. Earlier in her career, Ms. Ellis worked in the Department of Justice with both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Housing and Civil Enforcement section of the Civil Rights Division. Her foundation in government relations was built through positions as a Legal Intern and Legislative Correspondent with Senator Maria Cantwell and through her time as a White House Intern with the Domestic Policy Council.

Ms. Ellis earned a bachelor of arts in political science, with a minor in German, from Washington State University and earned her law degree at Indiana University – Maurer School of Law.

Rebecca Perkins Kwoka

Senator | Rockingham, NH

Rebecca Perkins Kwoka currently serves in the NH State Senate, after making history last year as the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the legislative body. She previously served two terms on Portsmouth City Council and spent over a decade in affordable housing advocacy, resulting in successful, comprehensive zoning changes during her tenue as a City Councilor. As Senator, Kwoka has made supporting working families and small businesses her top priority. She led efforts to pass legislation that expands housing and rental assistance and provides COVID relief for independent live venues and newly-opened small businesses. Kwoka also pushed for bills to invest in offshore wind energy and mandate a sufficient space and break period for nursing mothers in the workplace.

In addition to her legislative work, Kwoka is also Senior Vice President and General Counsel at ReWild Renewables, a small solar company based in her home City of Portsmouth. She lives there with her wife, Katelyn, and their daughter, Logan.

Kenneth Megan

Director | Federal Policy at Results for America 

Kenneth is Director of Federal Policy at Results for America. Prior to joining RFA, he served as Manager of Policy at the Economic Innovation Group where he advanced an advocacy agenda centered on improving retirement security and economic dynamism. Previously, he was Associate Director of the Economic Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He was also an Economic Fellow at Third Way and worked on the 2012 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall Campaign as a finance assistant and digital media strategist.

James Murphy

Director, Higher Education Policy | Education Reform Now

James Murphy is the Deputy Director for Higher Education Policy at Education Reform Now, where he focuses on access, affordability, and completion as well as pathways from high school to college and careers. His work and writing have appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Vanity Fair, Slate, Washington Post, and other publications.

Alex Nichols-Vinueza

Program Manager, Food Loss & Waste | World Wildlife Foundation

Alex Nichols-Vinueza supports the US Food Waste team’s portfolio of projects at WWF, including work with policymakers and the agricultural, grocery retail, hospitality, and food service sectors. Alex is the team lead for the Food Waste Warrior program, which offers grants and a hands-on curriculum for schools to reduce their food waste and learn about the food system. He recently helped lead a coalition of environmental NGOs to develop a policy action plan for Congress and administration to reduce US food loss & waste by 50% by 2030. He also supports the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment, one of the largest public-private initiatives on food waste, which aims to accelerate progress on the region’s commitment to reduce food waste by half by 2030.

Professionally, Alex brings 12 years of project management and partnership experience across tech, government, and sustainability consulting. He is bilingual in Spanish and English, having worked internationally in Colombia and Central America. Alex holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MEM from Duke’s Nichols School of the Environment.

Alex hails from Traverse City in northern Michigan (“the cherry capital of the world”), where his appreciation for the environment began at a young age– camping and traipsing around its many parks and lakes, and later working summers on local farms. Alex lives in Washington, DC, where he enjoys playing soccer, hanging at the local community pool with his family, and hiking with his dogs in the many nearby parks.

Elena Parent

Senator | Atlanta, GA

Elena is a State Senator, attorney, and progressive champion. First elected in 2010 as one of 12 Democrats in the nation to unseat a Republican incumbent, Elena focused her efforts in her first term on government transparency and ethics, including independent redistricting. Elected to the State Senate in 2014, Elena has focused on improving access to early childhood education and health care, promoting common-sense gun safety measures, and defeating job-killing and discriminatory “religious freedom” legislation. She has also continued her work toward an independent redistricting commission for Georgia. Elena passed a bill that would close a loophole that allowed severely mentally ill Georgians to acquire guns and is also working toward keeping guns away from those committed of domestic violence. She played a key role in passing Georgia’s Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act in 2016. In 2019, she passed CJ’s Law to provide further justice for victims seriously injured in hit-and-run accidents. She continues to lead the state’s fight for portable benefits for gig and other non-traditional workers through a study committee and legislation. In 2018, Elena was elected Vice Chair of Campaigns and Fundraising to the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus, which allows her the opportunity to recruit and raise money for progressive candidates in Georgia. She is currently serving as NewDEAL’s Education Policy Co-Chair alongside Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

Clarke Tucker

Senator | Little Rock, AR

Clarke Tucker serves in the Arkansas State Senate. Previously, he served in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he represented District 35 from 2015 to 2019.

Representative Tucker focused on improving early childhood education in Arkansas, both in terms of improving support for Pre-K education and by working to establish Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) on a statewide basis. DPIL is a literacy program that provides age appropriate books for children between birth and age 5 on a monthly basis for just over $2 per book. Representative Tucker also worked hard on criminal justice reform, aiming to improve behavioral health services for the criminal justice population in an effort to reduce crime and prison populations. In that regard, he has served as Co-Chair of the Legislative Task Force on Behavioral Health Treatment Access.

Representative Tucker also led an effort to enact several pieces of ethics legislation to increase government transparency and accountability. For example, Representative Tucker is working to require disclosure of dark money sources in Arkansas campaigns, and he has enacted legislation to enhance the criminal penalties for elected officials who accept bribes. Representative Tucker is also working to pass paid maternity leave for state employees. Perhaps most important, in the spring of 2016, Representative Tucker helped shepherd the appropriation for Arkansas’s version of Medicaid expansion through a difficult legislative process.

Afternoon Plenary

Thursday, Nov. 16th, 2023 at 2:30 PM ET

Emily Cain

Founder & Owner | Cain Insights, LLC

Emily Cain is an accomplished public policy maker, organizational leader, and political strategist who has been leading at the state and national level for the past twenty years. First elected at the age of 24, Emily made her mark in Maine politics serving in both the state House and Senate over five terms, leading the Appropriations Committee as Chair and serving as the youngest woman House Minority Leader in state history. In 2012, Cain led House Democrats back into the majority by raising record funds, recruiting top candidates, electing more women, and winning tough seats in Maine’s challenging rural areas. In 2014 and 2016 Emily ran for U.S. Congress in two of the most competitive House races in the country.

From 2017-2023, Emily served as Executive Director of EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, during three historic election cycles helping to elect a record number of Democratic pro-choice women from all backgrounds across the country and up and down the ballot. Prior to joining EMILYs List, Emily was the Chief Strategy Officer at HistoryIT, a technology company dedicated to making historical collections more accessible and meaningful through digitization.

Emily is the founder/owner of Cain Insights, LLC, a consulting company based in Maine working with exciting clients at the state and national level, including the NewDEAL, NewDEAL Forum, Third Way, and more. Emily lives in Maine with her husband, Danny Williams, and their mini labradoodle, Sunny. Emily is a singer, cook, enthusiastic peloton rider, ardent NFL and F1 fan, and is currently earning her Ph.D. in higher education at The University of Maine.

Ian Kahn

Media and Communication Coach

Ian is a media and communication coach specializing in virtual communications. Ian was a professional actor for 25 years who has been on sabbatical since 2019 when he was hired by Debbie Cox Bultan for NewDEAL to work with their amazing Leaders. He now is working with The New Democrat Coalition in the House of Representatives, GlobalWIN, and other political leaders and business leaders as private clients, while continuing his work with the NewDEAL.

Lis Smith

Public Affairs and Communications Strategist

Hailed as a “next-gen gunslinger,” “not your grandfather’s political consultant,” and “the hard-charging New York operative [who] helped turn an obscure Indiana mayor into a national name,” Lis Smith is one of the most in-demand strategists in today’s Democratic Party. She’s worked on over 20 campaigns at every level of electoral politics for everyone from former President Barack Obama to Senator Claire McCaskill and Governors Andrew Cuomo, Terry McAuliffe, Ted Strickland, Jon Corzine and Martin O’Malley. She’s most well-known for her work as a senior
advisor to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign and has been called the “quiet hero” of his out-of-nowhere rise to the top of the 2020 field.

Named to Fortune’s “40 under 40 in Government” and Crain’s “50 Most Powerful Women in New York,” Smith continues to work as Democratic strategist and regularly contributes opinion pieces to publications like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Vanity Fair, in addition to appearing as a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

In 2022, her memoir “Any Given Tuesday” became an instant New York Times bestseller that was praised for its potential to “rewrite the template for what a political memoir can be.” CNN called it “stylish and acerbic” and The Guardian described it as “breezy and informative,” writing that Smith’s description of politics is both “blunt and brutal.”

Karen Finney

Political Strategist 

A leading Democratic strategist and Political Commentator for CNN, Karen Finney is an independent consultant working with political and corporate clients on crisis communications, branding, public affairs, polling and strategy. She was a Senior  Advisor to Stacey Abrams’ Gubernatorial campaign, the Democratic National Committee and AL Media in the 2018 election cycle. Finney served as Senior Advisor for Communications and Political Outreach and Senior Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

From her experience working in media, national politics, political and communications strategy in both the public and private sectors, Finney brings a unique perspective to her work. She was a political analyst and hosted her own show on MSNBC, “Disrupt with Karen Finney,”. Her experience includes work on four presidential campaigns, both the President and First Lady during the Clinton Administration, and she was the Democratic National Committee’s first African American spokeswoman, helping to lead the DNC’s communications strategy for the “50 State Strategy,” successful 2006 Congressional elections and 2008 presidential campaign. A former Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, Finney current serves as Board Vice Chair for NARAL pro-choice America, Board Chair at Ultraviolet and a co-founder Power Rising. Finney is also a Terker Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Journalism and Public Affairs.

Tara McGowan

Founder & Publisher | Courier Newsroom

Tara McGowan is the founder and Publisher of Courier Newsroom and CEO of Good Information Inc, a civic incubator that invests in immediate solutions to counter disinformation online.

A former political strategist with an early career in journalism, Tara has seen firsthand how America’s information crisis has contributed to the rising threat of authoritarianism and the deterioration of social trust. In 2017, Tara founded a nonprofit, ACRONYM, to build online infrastructure for the progressive movement. Recognizing the need for new media infrastructure that deliberately reaches and informs the increasing population of passive news consumers across the country who are most susceptible to being targeted with disinformation online, Tara founded Courier Newsroom in 2019. Courier is a network of state and local newsrooms that deliver factual, cultural and relevant news through a pro-democracy lens to communities who have been left behind by traditional media, directly to their social newsfeeds and inboxes. She departed ACRONYM in 2021 to devote her full focus to scaling Courier and tackling the nation’s information divide.

Earlier in her career, Tara led multi-million dollar digital advertising and marketing programs for dozens of nonprofits and political groups, including Priorities USA, NextGen Climate, and President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. She studied journalism and political science at NYU and began her career reporting and producing long-form journalism for both 60 Minutes and PBS Frontline.

Morning Plenary

Friday, Nov. 17th, 2023 at 9 AM ET

Alex Bores

Assemblymember | New York, NY

Alex Bores is a fifth-generation New Yorker who was born, raised, and lived his whole life in Manhattan. When he was elected as the representative for the​ 73rd District in 2022, he became the first Democrat elected in New York at any level with a degree in Computer Science.

Assemblymember Bores is an engineer, whose career has included helping the Department of Justice solve violent crimes in New York City, working with three Manhattan District Attorneys, and building software for local governments’ COVID relief programs to help 50,000 families keep their homes warm and their water running. He has championed bills encouraging innovation, protecting democracy, implementing licensure reform, promoting public safety, and more. ​

Alex and his wife, Darya, live on the Upper East Side.

Zach Conine

Treasurer | Nevada

Zach Conine currently serves as Nevada’s 23rd State Treasurer. As an entrepreneur and business leader, Zach knows that responsible financial management is the key to ensuring long-term growth for the State. Zach has worked to increase the role of the Treasurer’s Office, advocating for sound fiscal policies that will empower workers, diversify the economy, and increase access to higher education for all Nevadans.

Prior to serving as State Treasurer, Zach built a successful business career in the gaming, finance and consulting sectors. Over the course of his career, he has helped dozens of small and medium sized businesses expand, assisting in the creation and preservation of more than 3,000 good paying jobs in Nevada.

Since being elected in 2018, Zach has worked to establish himself and his Office as a trusted source of innovation in government. In his first year as Treasurer, Nevada received two bond rating increases, the first since 2006; generated the highest investment returns for the State since the recession of 2008; and returned the largest amount of unclaimed property back to Nevadans since the inception of the program. Zach is currently launching a first-in-the-nation pilot program to help bank the State’s legal marijuana industry. As the federal prohibition over marijuana has left small businesses and their employees under banked, Zach has stepped up to find innovative ways to promote public safety, while allowing the industry to grow and thrive.

Zach has also worked to establish College Savings Navigator Initiative, modeled after the Affordable Care Act, to assist underserved communities navigate and understand their options for pursuing higher education affordably.

Zach graduated with a B.A. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and holds a J.D. from the from UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law. He and his wife Layke are happily raising their six-year-old daughter Ruby, two-year old twin sons Rutherford and Theodore, and two dogs, Democracy and Liberty.

Kumar Garg

Vice President, Partnerships | Schmidt Futures

Kumar Garg is Vice President of Partnerships at Schmidt Futures. In this role, Kumar works to help all major Schmidt Futures programs find successful leverage, as well as helping to run the Technology and Society portfolio.

He previously helped shape science and technology policy for the Obama Administration for nearly eight years, serving in a variety of roles in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Garg led the Obama Administration’s efforts to bolster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, including the Educate to Innovate campaign, with more than $1 billion in in-kind and philanthropic investment; development of major State of the Union initiatives to train 100,000 excellent STEM teachers and bring computer science to all K–12 students; and creation of iconic events such as the White House Science Fair.

Lily Goldstein

Vice President, Social Impact Investing | JBG SMITH

Lily Goldstein is Vice President of Social Impact Investing at JBG SMITH, where she leads investor relations, portfolio management, and external affairs & public policy for the firm’s impact investing platform. In that role, Lily manages the relationships for both internal and external stakeholders, as well as public policies that affect the affordable housing industry. Prior to joining the Impact Investing team, she was the head of JBG’s Opportunity Fund Investor Relations and continues part-time in that role today as the Opportunity Funds wind down. Prior to JBG, Lily was an analyst at The Carlyle Group focused on fund management for the real asset funds and she started her career with Crowell & Moring LLP in the financial planning & analysis group. Lily is on the Executive Board of DC Real Estate Group, serves on the ULI Washington Housing Local Product Council and WLI Steering Committee, and is on the Board of Directors of Yachad DC, an affordable housing non-profit. Lily received her B.B.A. with high distinction in Finance and Economics from The George Washington University.

Beth Huang

Program Officer, Civic Engagement & Democracy| Tides

Beth Huang is the program officer of civic engagement & democracy at Tides. In this role, she leads the Healthy Democracy Fund, a pooled fund that seeks to close racial voter turnout gaps and has granted over $17 million to over 100 organizations since its inception in 2020. In addition, Beth oversees a portfolio of partners focused on civic engagement, democracy, and organizing.

Maggie Toulouse Oliver

Secretary of State | New Mexico

Maggie Toulouse OIiver has called New Mexico home since the age of 3 and is New Mexico’s 26th Secretary of State. She has served the people of New Mexico in this role since first being elected in 2016.

She was first appointed to public office in 2007 when she became County Clerk in New Mexico’s largest county, Bernalillo County. Elected to her first full term in 2008, Secretary Toulouse Oliver served 2 1/2 terms as County Clerk until she was elected as Secretary of State in 2016. Overseeing elections in the state’s largest county gave Secretary Toulouse Oliver detailed, on-the-ground expertise in election administration that has helped to guide her current work overseeing elections statewide.

Secretary Toulouse Oliver has been involved in politics and public policy for over two decades and has made public service the focus of her career. Her work has focused on increasing voter access, running efficient, secure, and fair elections, and bringing more transparency and increased ethical standards to government.

Secretary Toulouse Oliver worked her way through college and graduate school.  While earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science from the University of New Mexico, Secretary Toulouse Oliver worked for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman in his DC Office and on his re-election campaign in 2000. She also gained activism and organizing experience working with Native American tribes in New Mexico, fighting for reproductive justice, and protecting the Environment as the NM State Director for the League of Conservation Voters.

Since becoming Secretary of State she has implemented increased transparency rules for financial disclosure and campaign finance reporting, modernized the online campaign finance system, helped craft and pass good government legislation like same-day voter registration, automated voter registration, and the state’s newly-formed Ethics Commission.

In addition to her elected position, Secretary Toulouse Oliver is the immediate Past President of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and has previously served NASS as President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and chair of the elections committee. She serves as a board member of New Mexico’s Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), the New Mexico Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, and the state Commission on Records and Archives. She is currently a member of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center’s Voter Communication task force, and an advisory board member for the Election Official Legal Defense Network co-founded by national election law experts Benjamin Ginsburg and Bob Bauer. She is also a Ph.D. Student in Political Science at the University of New Mexico and is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship alumna. Most importantly, she is the proud mother of two sons, Christian and Max.

Miriam Vogel

President & CEO | EqualAI

Miriam Vogel has extensive experience working with C-suite, board of directors and other key stakeholders to establish best practices for legal and regulatory compliance, as well as establishing responsible AI governance practices within Fortune 100 companies across multiple industry sectors. Miram is the President and CEO of EqualAI, a non-profit created to reduce bias and other harms in artificial intelligence (AI) and promote responsible AI governance. She also serves as Chair of the National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC), mandated by Congress to advise the President and White House on AI policy. Miriam cohosts a podcast, In AI we Trust, with the World Economic Forum. Miriam has taught Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where she currently serves as chair of the alumni board. Miriam also serves as a senior advisor to the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). 

Miriam has served in a variety of leadership positions across the U.S. government. Most recently, she served as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where she advised the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) on a broad range of legal, 

policy and operational issues. Under the direction of DAG Sally Yates, Miriam led the creation and development of the Implicit Bias Training for Federal Law Enforcement. Miriam also spearheaded the DOJ’s Intellectual Property (IP) efforts to identify and dismantle IP theft domestically and internationally and worked with the DAG to manage DOJ divisions’ multibillion-dollar budgets, resolve high-level challenges, and represented DOJ in meetings with the White House, Congress and other officials on high level policy initiatives and oversight matters. 

Miriam served in the White House in two Administrations, including as the Acting Director of Justice and Regulatory Affairs. She led the President’s Equal Pay Task Force to promote equality in the workplace. She also advised White House leadership on initiatives ranging from women, LGBT, economic, regulatory and food safety policy to criminal justice matters. 

When practicing law, Miriam served as General Counsel to West Exec Advisors and Associate General Counsel at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Prior to that, she practiced entertainment/ corporate transactional law at Sheppard Mullin in Los Angeles, CA. Miriam began her legal career as a federal clerk in Denver, Colorado after graduating from Georgetown University Law Center and is a third generation alumna from the University of Michigan.

Friday Breakout Sessions

Friday, Nov. 17th, 2023 at 11 AM ET

Arturo Alonso-Sandoval

Representative | Oklahoma City, OK

Arturo Alonso-Sandoval is a recent college graduate, attaining a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. With the help and trust of this community, Arturo has also managed to win his seat in the State House of Representatives representing District 89 in south Oklahoma City as one of the youngest elected officials in the legislature.

Growing up on the south side of Oklahoma City, Arturo knows what it’s like to face structural injustices. From his experiences, Arturo developed values such as learning, resilience, and service, immersing himself in academic and extracurricular activities while always striving to leave a lasting contribution to his community. Arturo is a first-generation American, bilingual, and the son of immigrant parents from Mexico so he is committed to working hard and fighting for progress.

Kellee Wicker

Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program

Kellee Wicker leads the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) at the Wilson Center, a Congressionally chartered think tank that provides nonpartisan counsel and insights on global affairs to policymakers through deep research, impartial analysis, and independent scholarship. The STIP team provides research and insight to Congress, global policymakers, and the general public on a number of emerging technologies and scientific advances, with special emphasis on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, space in the commercial age, and more. Through games, experiential learning, and educational opportunities, STIP also works beyond traditional research to directly provide policymakers and their staff with the foundational knowledge they need to devise smart legislation and regulation that protects individuals and workers while continuing to bolster flourishing technological innovation. Before joining the Wilson Center, Kellee served as the Chief Operating Officer of the NewDEAL, supporting policy innovation around the country at the state and local levels of elected office.

Dana Barrett

Commissioner | Fulton County, GA

Elected to the Fulton County Commission in 2022, Dana Barrett is committed to strategic pro-growth community investments that are sustainable, equitable and focused on improving lives. In her first month in office, Commissioner Barrett initiated a $5 Million healthcare reserve and a $5 Million capital projects reserve which were both passed as part of the 2023 Budget. She also represents the county on the Invest Atlanta board, the city’s development authority.

Throughout her career, Dana has been an advocate for women and minorities in business. For many years, she was the host of a daily award-winning business and technology talk radio show that included regular weekly segments that focused on women and minority led businesses, technology start-ups, and business ethics. She was a repeat guest on Headline News on the topic of the gender pay gap, and sexual harassment in the workplace, and has written for Forbes and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Dana has been recognized by the SBA as an advocate for small business, and by the Technology Association of Georgia as a Diversity Game Changer. She is also proud to have been honored by Georgia Tech’s Women Out Front initiative and the Atlanta DREAM’s Inspiring Women program.

Jay Chaudhuri

Senator | Raleigh, NC

Since taking office in 2015, Democrat Jay Chaudhuri has quickly earned a reputation as a progressive problem solver. This 2019-2020 session, Senate Democrats elected Jay as Minority Whip, the second-highest ranking position in the State Senate. Jay believes we need an agenda that grows our economy that works for all North Carolinians, one that invests in education and training, growing small businesses, revitalizing our film industry and creating green jobs, and spurring innovation.

As General Counsel to State Treasurer Cowell, Jay helped develop the first-ever Innovation Fund. After meeting with entrepreneurs and innovators, Jay helped create the first-ever Innovation Fund, a $230 million fund dedicated to investing in and supporting businesses with significant operations in North Carolina. Today, the Innovation Fund is responsible for supporting more than 6,000 jobs across the State. As part of his dedication to building an innovative economy in North Carolina, Jay helped put together the first-ever Innovation Council with then Governor Beverly Perdue. This council works to recommend policies and solutions that would help foster North Carolina’s innovation economy.

Roddy Flynn

Executive Director | Delaware Broadband Office

Roddy is the first Executive Director of the Delaware Broadband Office, which manages Delaware’s implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law high-speed internet deployment and digital equity programs. The DBO will administer over $120 million of federal funding, with the mission of closing the digital divide in Delaware. 

Previously, Roddy was a member of the Biden/Harris Administration, appointed by the White House to the Internet for All initiative, which is tasked with implementing the $48 billion high-speed internet expansion portions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  Before that, he served as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), the then-Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.  In 2021, he was awarded the Best Workplace Environment Award from the Congressional Management Foundation.

Roddy began his work on the Hill as the Executive Director of the bipartisan Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus, where he worked with 119 members of Congress to advance equality for LGBTQ people in the United States and around the world.  In this role, Roddy managed the first introduction of the Equality Act, the centerpiece legislation of the LGBTQ equality movement.  While with the Caucus, Roddy also served as the Executive Director of Equality PAC, where he raised $2.98 million to support openly LGBTQ candidates and strong allies for election to federal office.

Roddy has also worked at the White House, the Human Rights Campaign, and as a litigator at Richards, Layton, and Finger, P.A.  He received his B.A. from American University and his J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law, cum laude, where he was a Burks Research Scholar and the recipient of the Calhoun-Bond Award.

Joanna McClinton

Speaker of the House | Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton was first elected in 2015 to serve communities in west and southwest Philadelphia, as well as Yeadon and Darby in Delaware County.

As a state lawmaker she has made history three times! First in 2018 when she became the first woman and first African American to be elected as House Democratic Caucus Chair, and again in 2020, when she was the first woman elected House Democratic Leader in the institution’s 244-year history. In 2023, McClinton was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House – the first woman to serve in that position in the nation’s oldest legislature.

A lifelong resident of southwest Philadelphia and graduate of Grace Temple Christian Academy, she became active in her community while completing an internship with radio station WDAS. Later, she studied Political Science and Leadership in Global Understanding at La Salle University. After earning her degree, she enrolled at Villanova University School of Law, interning at Regional Housing Legal Services, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

She was an assistant public defender for seven years and became assistant chief of the East Zone during her last year, helping attorneys with case preparation.

In 2013, Speaker McClinton combined her passion for public service and law by becoming chief counsel to state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, where she worked behind the scenes to develop policy and legislation; organize expungement fairs and public policy forums; and assist constituents.

Speaker McClinton has earned several distinctions for her commitment to public service including City and State PA’s 40 Under 40, Power of Diversity: Black 100, and Above & Beyond lists, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia’s Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award, Fun Time Magazine’s Women of Influence Award, the PRE-K for PA Champion award, the Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Light Community award, the Black Gala Women of Excellence; and Politico Recast’s Power List 2022.

Kevin Ring

Vice President of Criminal Justice Advocacy | Arnold Ventures

Kevin directs the state and federal advocacy portfolio for criminal justice reform at Arnold Ventures. In this role, Kevin works with the criminal justice team and all of Arnold Ventures to develop and implement the most effective advocacy strategies to achieve meaningful, lasting reforms.

Before joining Arnold Ventures, Kevin served as president of FAMM (formerly Families Against Mandatory Minimums). In that capacity, he testified before Congress and state legislatures across the country regarding sentencing and prison reform. He has been profiled in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, National Journal, Bloomberg News, and The Hill. He has appeared as a justice reform expert on FOX News, CBS News, MSNBC, Headline News, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, and many other television and radio outlets. He has spoken at major conferences and events, including TribFest, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference, Conservative Political Action Conference, and the Variety/Rolling Stone Criminal Justice Summit. His writings have been published in numerous outlets, including USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Hill, and Washington Examiner.

Kevin began his career in Washington, D.C. as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill. During his tenure, he served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary’s Constitution, Federalism, and Property Rights Subcommittee under the leadership of future U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. He also served as executive director for the Republican Study Committee, the largest member organization in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2004, Kevin’s first book, Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court’s Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice, was published by Regnery. In 2016, Kevin updated and revised the book, which was published as Scalia’s Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents.

Kevin is a graduate of Syracuse University and The Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He lives in Maryland with his two daughters.

Closing Plenary

Friday, Nov. 17th, 2023 at 12 PM ET

Adar Cohen

Mediator & Consultant | Adar Cohen & Associates

Adar helps people have big conversations. He has worked as a mediator, educator, and adviser in conflict zones, political campaigns, and healthcare systems. His private sector clients include Charles Schwab, the NBA, and Capital One. His nonprofit clients include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, and MacDowell. Adar holds a PhD in conflict resolution from the University of Dublin and has taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and — at the invitation of the King of Bhutan — at Sherubtse College, the Himalayan Kingdom’s first institution for higher education. His work has been featured by the New York Times, MSNBC, and on the TED stage. Adar lives in an 1850 farmhouse in New Hampshire where he and his wife are raising two tough little negotiators.

David McCullough III

Co-Founder & CEO | American Exchange Project

David McCullough III is the Co-Founder and CEO of the American Exchange Project. The program he started in his parents attic in 2018 now works with over sixty partner high schools in thirty-five states across the country to send their seniors on life-changing summer exchanges. Before AEP, David worked as a substitute teacher and high school baseball coach. He has a BA in American Studies from Yale–where he pitched on the varsity baseball team–and an MPhil in Economic and Social History from the University of Cambridge. In the summer of 2016, on a research project to study education in America’s most impoverished communities, David drove 7000 miles across the country and spent two months in Cotulla, TX, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and Cleveland, OH. The lessons he learned and friends he made inspired AEP. In 2022, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Education, and his work with AEP has been featured on the CBS Sunday Morning Show, Michael Smerconish’s POTUS SiriusXM Radio Show, and in the BBC, the New York Times, and in over seventy local media outlets throughout the country.

Climate Change

Understanding and Making the Most of Resources Available for Your State and Community

The Biden Administration approved historic investments to combat climate change, including funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. And federal dollars are in addition to state and local funding to address the climate crisis. This session will focus on maximizing the impact of all these funding streams, so that programs can have the greatest possible impact. The discussion will be led by Dan Carol, Senior Director at the Milken Institute, David Eichenthal, U.S. Department of Treasury, and Kenneth Megan, Associate Director of the Federal Practice at Results for America, as well as NewDEALers New Hampshire Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka and California Senator Ben Allen, both co-chairs of the NewDEAL Forum Climate Group. 

Food Insecurity

Expanding Access to Nutritious Food through Universal School Meals and Other Solutions

When roughly 9 million children face hunger and food insecurity (according to the Children’s Defense Fund), policymakers have a responsibility to expand access to nutritious meals, including in schools. Congress made school meals free during the COVID pandemic, but did not renew the program for the 2022-23 school year. This  discussion will center on ways to fight food insecurity, both through free school meals and other means. Join NewDEAL Leaders Santa Barbara County, CA Supervisor Laura Capps and Arkansas Senator Clarke Tucker and Alex Nichols-Vinueza, Program Manager of Food Loss & Waste


Improving College Access for All

As studies continue to emphasize the importance of postsecondary education for access to good jobs and higher lifetime income, policymakers and leaders in the education system are looking for policies, programs, and initiatives that support the opportunity for students to attend and complete college. In this context, our partners at All4Ed and The Education Trust, national nonprofits committed to equity in education, will discuss ways state and local leaders can ensure students in every ZIP code and socio-economic class have the best shot at succeeding in college, including in the context of the Supreme Court decision to strike down affirmative action policies. Joined by Georgia Senator Elana Parent, co-chair of the NewDEAL Forum Education Policy Group, Jenn Ellis, Director of State Government Relations at All4Ed and Wil Del Pilar, Senior Vice President at Ed Trust, who will focus on practical steps to prepare students for college and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence

Governments’ Policy Options

From ChatGPT to AI-aided online searches, artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a mainstay in our society. The rapid rise of this technology creates both extraordinary opportunities as well as challenges for policymakers who are put in the position to enact regulations to mitigate risks and protect privacy while also encouraging innovation. AI comes with amazing potential to change our lives for the better, but also raises significant questions and challenges about a host of issues and this session will consider policy options for state and local officials to address its proliferation.The discussion will be led by Kellee Wicker, Director of the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center, along with Connecticut state Sen. James Maroney and Oklahoma state Rep. Arturo Alonso Sandoval, both leaders in their legislatures’ efforts around AI.


Lessons from State Plans on Implementing Federal Infrastructure Funding

Expanding access to broadband is one of the Biden Administration’s top domestic priorities, as shown by the billions of dollars in federal funding approved through various new laws, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. While many states are still submitting plans to the Administration for their funds, there are lessons offered by plans already approved and other work underway across the country, both for how to build hard infrastructure as well as address affordability and digital literacy. Join Amina Fazlullah and Drew Garner with CommonSense Media, Delaware Broadband Office Executive Director Roddy Flynn, and NewDEALers at the forefront of state and local broadband policy — North Carolina Sen. Jay Chaudhuri and Fulton County, GA Commissioner Dana Barrett, both co-chairs of the NewDEAL Forum Broadband Task Force — for a discussion about how to make the most of the infrastructure law.

Public Safety

Balancing Enforcement Improvements and Justice Reform to Build Safer Communities

Everyone wants to live in a safe community. And the idea of “liberty and justice for all” is embedded in our Pledge of Allegiance. This discussion will focus on recognizing the need to directly address public safety and law enforcement policies for reducing crime in tandem with criminal justice reforms to make the system fair for all residents. Join NewDEAL Leader Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton and Kevin Ring, Vice President of Criminal Justice Advocacy at Arnold Ventures to talk about approaches that have successfully balanced these goals, and how communities can achieve both safety and justice.

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