2018 Ideas Summit

2018 Ideas Summit Recap

NewDEAL Democrats are calling for an update to the social contract, as reported in GeekWire’s coverage of the 2018 Ideas Summit. The article outlines the NewDEAL approach to meet the demands of the 21st century economy, like the “shift from employment to contract work” and “the looming cloud of automation.”

Thank you to the 30 rising state and local leaders, as well as our public and private sector partners, who participated in two days of in-depth discussions about how Democrats should address the biggest public policy issues affecting Americans’ quality of life, including the future of work, trade, and climate change.

If you were unable to join us for the Summit, here are a few highlights:

NewDEAL Honorary Co-Chair U.S. Senator Mark Warner framed the challenges facing today’s policymakers and highlighted NewDEAL Leaders’ role in finding solutions that make the modern economy work for everyone. “The transformation that is sweeping through our world is not going to be solved by political leadership that looks back on 20th Century solutions,” he said while proposing policies like portable benefits and tax incentives for businesses to invest in skills training. “In an interconnected world, you shouldn’t have to leave your hometown to get a world class job.”

NewDEAL alumna Marilyn Strickland (left), the former Mayor of Tacoma and new head of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, highlighted why local communities have a major stake in smart trade policy to provide economic opportunity for as many people as possible. “We have to be able to express to folks what trade means locally,” she said as part of a panel on The Future of Trade amidst controversial policy decisions by the Trump Administration. “The vast majority of companies that benefit from trade are small and medium sized companies.”

She was joined by experts on the European Union and U.S.- China relations, as well as Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, who discussed the need to modernize NAFTA and called for certainty and stability, saying “speed shouldn’t be driving trade policy; substance should be driving trade policy.”

Successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, one of the first investors in Amazon, touted the success of sound economic policy in Seattle, which, he said, has been the home to more construction cranes in the past two years than any other city in the world. “Our city isn’t thriving in spite of progressive policies that we’ve enacted, but because of them. A thriving middle class isn’t a consequence of economic growth, a thriving middle class is the source and cause of economic growth.”

NewDEAL Leader and Washington Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib hosted the Summit at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and spoke about his pride in being a member of the organization. He offered a local example of a “NewDEALy kind of idea” to support access to education and training. “You take working adults and work with a university to recognize their prior learning and count it towards a bachelor degree (with the first program involving a bachelor of construction management). It’s those types of solutions that we’re working on at the statewide level.”

NewDEAL Leader Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker emphasized the connection between jobs and sound climate policy during a discussion about the importance of state and local leadership to battle climate change in the Trump era, noting the huge amount of jobs and economic activity impacted by global warming. “The more of those actual job connection discussions we can start… the more people we can bring to the table. These are jobs in rural districts. We’ve got to change our message, and if our message is powerful and robust, but also people relate to it, I think it makes a difference.”

The Summit concluded with extensive conversations and presentations about transforming the education and training systems that prepare people for high quality jobs. Former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Suzi Levine, who is the new commissioner of the Washington State Employment Security Department, joined her husband Eric LeVine in calling for an apprenticeship renaissance in the U.S. They reviewed the success of the Swiss system, and its applicability to states and municipalities, with its emphasis on multiple career pathways and the lessons it teaches about the vital roles of the business community.

Following a panel led by Greg Nelson from the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative, Broderick Johnson, a former senior staff member to President Obama, discussed his work with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and the Path Forward Coalition. The latter promotes opportunities for skill building and training in service industries. He emphasized the key role this sector plays in the start of so many careers.

“New innovations in technology are advancing the customer experience and changing the future of work. This is especially true in the service industry that plays a significant role in preparing and strengthening the American workforce,” including through educational offerings, training programs, and other opportunities to advance

The Future of Work: Portable Benefits (Microsoft A)

Security and prosperity for more Americans in today’s economy requires expanding access to basic benefits, like health care and retirement savings, for the increasing number of workers who don’t receive them through their jobs. Washington State has been at the forefront of this challenge with the introduction of portable benefits legislation and an effort by Uber and SEIU to find a solution for gig economy workers. Join NewDEAL Leader Maryland Delegate Andrew Platt, Caleb Weaver from Uber, and Lani Todd, Legislative and Public Policy Director for SEIU 775, to discuss the path forward to a safety net that meets the demands of the changing nature of work.

Civic Tech: Bringing Government into the 21st Century (Microsoft B)

As policymakers wrestle with the challenges caused by an economy transformed by innovation and new technology, they must also take advantage of these forces to adapt government to meet the evolving needs of citizens. This session will explore ways government leaders can maximize the impact of new technology and big data to save money, make more-informed decisions, and improve the lives of the people they serve. For a conversation on innovative approaches, join NewDEAL Leader Nassau County, NY Comptroller Jack Schnirman, former CTO of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Marina Martin, and Vivian Graubard, Director of Strategy for Public Interest Technology at New America and former chief of staff to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer in the White House.

Opportunity Zones (Microsoft C)

The recently created federal Opportunity Zone program provides a new avenue for state and local governments to incentivize long-term private investment in low-income communities. Join one of the architects of this program, NewDEAL board member Steve Glickman from the Economic Innovation Group, as well as NewDEAL Leader Boise City Councilmember Lauren McLean, who is one of many NewDEAL Leaders pursuing the benefits of this program in their communities, for a discussion of how to spur investments that reduce poverty and inequality.

Resiliency of Critical Infrastructure (Boardroom)

From increasing extreme weather events to the constant news of cyberattacks, our critical infrastructure must be more resilient, and resilient in more ways, than ever. These threats mean the key systems upon which all Americans rely, from health providers and the power grid to transportation infrastructure, continuously face new and dangerous challenges. Join an official from the port of Seattle and NewDEAL Leader Norfolk City Councilmember Andria McClellan for a session that will examine steps policymakers can take to strengthen and secure vital assets in their communities.

Government’s Role in the Sharing Economy (Microsoft A)

As we have seen repeatedly in the digital age, new technology has the potential to vastly improve our quality of life and create countless new jobs. Government has the opportunity to encourage these improvements, but also a responsibility to ensure the public’s safety and security as the way they buy and receive services changes dramatically. In this session, NewDEAL Leader Phoenix Councilmember Kate Gallego and CALinnovates Executive Director Kish Rajan will join Vikrum Aiyer of Postmates to lead a conversation about how different states and localities are approaching a new regulatory framework for emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, ridesharing and Airbnb.

Expanding the Political Map (Microsoft B)

Over the course of nearly a decade lasting through the 2016 election. Democrats lost nearly 1000 seats in state legislatures — a sign of the Party’s struggles up and down the ballot and inability to attract a wide range of voters. NewDEAL Leaders Arkansas Representative Warwick Sabin and Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels will share their observations from states that have shifted heavily to the GOP. Join them to discuss the agenda and tactics required for Democrats to broaden their appeal to regions that are traditionally more conservative, not only in the Heartland and the South, but also in red areas in all states.

Reimagining Education for the New Economy (Microsoft C)

It has been said that there has never been a better time to enter the workforce with the right skills, but also never a worse time to be without those skills in an era when so many old jobs have been lost to automation and outsourcing, replaced by jobs that require a higher level of education and training. How can we transform an education system that was built for an agrarian society and modified for the industrial age to one that best prepares our youth to thrive in this both exciting and challenging world? Join Scott Nine, Deputy Director for Strategy and Program for the National Public Education Support Fund, NewDEAL Leader West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon, and Lindsay Dworkin, Director of Policy Development and State Government Relations at the Alliance for Excellent Education, to tackle this critical question.

Financial Empowerment to Increase Economic Security (Boardroom)

In an era of rising inequality and an outdated social safety net, huge numbers of people across the country lack financial stability. Nearly half of Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency expense and relatively few are saving significantly for retirement. Finding everyone a well-paying job and stable career is an ideal goal, but not an immediate solution. What other options do policymakers have to address economic insecurity for workers and retirees? To discuss this question and a range of answers to financial instability, join NewDEAL Leader Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs and Adam Ruben, campaigns director for the Economic Security Project, which is advancing cash-based policies, including a modernized and expanded Earned-Income Tax Credit, to end poverty and rebuild the middle class.