Join the NewDEAL on November 17 through 19 in DC for our marquee event, the Annual Leaders Conference!

The event will bring together a limited number of NewDEAL Leaders with public and private sector policy innovators for three days of sharing ideas that are working to build back better and address longstanding inequities. We’ll also announce the winners of this year’s Ideas Challenge policy competition!

Given public health conditions, this year’s event will have limited numbers for in-person attendance. In-person attendees will also be asked to provide proof of vaccination, and to wear a mask during indoor portions of the event. If you prefer to attend virtually a livestream of our plenary sessions will be also available.

Registration is limited — contact Kellee Wicker at kellee@newdealleaders.org or 202.660.1340 x3 to register.

Please contact us for details!

Thursday, November 18, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Session 1 descriptions:

Mental Health

co-led by NewDEAL Leaders Florida Representative Christine Hunschofsky, Kentucky Representative Nima Kulkarni, and Inseparable’s Bill Smith

While the pandemic exposed many gaps in our health care system, some of the most alarming statistics point to a significant rise in mental health concerns, especially among our children and the elderly. This session will explore the barriers preventing people from accessing resources and the tools at the disposal of state and local leaders to address those obstacles.

Urban Wealth Funds

co-led by NewDEAL Alum former Congressman Ben McAdams and Urban Three’s Joe Minicozzi

Cities across the country are allowing billions of dollars of assets to sit idle without taking advantage of huge opportunities for revenue. This session will explore a way to tap into these assets through Urban Wealth Funds (UWF), dealing with government assets with commercial value that can be managed for the betterment of the community. UWFs have been used by governments in Europe and East Asia to generate billions of dollars to fund local infrastructure projects. A few local governments in North America have also begun to explore UWFs, as a complement to taxes as a source of revenues. Participants in this session will discuss public asset management as a tool to generate opportunities and revenue for local governments to address challenges like affordable housing, transportation, climate resiliency and other priorities.

Housing

co-led by Jenny Schuetz from the Brookings Institution and NewDEAL Leader Boise Mayor Lauren McLean

There is an affordable housing crisis in this country and homelessness is on the rise in American cities. The American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden has given state and local leaders the opportunity to fundamentally reimagine housing policy, pursue innovative solutions, and ultimately find ways to significantly increase quality housing options for people currently getting left behind. This session will examine what we know about the impact of the expiration of eviction moratoriums, as well as best practices from around the country to address supply and affordability issues.

Friday, November 19, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Session 2 descriptions:

Climate Policy Group: Financing Projects

co-led by NewDEAL Leader Lincoln, NE Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Trenton Allen, CEO of Sustainable Capital Advisors

While the necessity of climate action is clearer than ever, funding ambitious climate projects can be a daunting task for state and local governments. This session will highlight initiatives from NewDEAL Leaders and explore the tools at the disposal of states, counties, and cities to execute on their ideas for adaptation and mitigation.

Anti-Poverty Strategies

co-led by NewDEAL Leader Philadelphia Councilmember Derek Green, Monique Garcia Rizer from Freedman Consulting, and Amy Everitt and Sabrina De Santiago of Golden State Opportunity

President Biden has often discussed America’s “K-shaped” COVID recovery, where the rich recover robustly and the less fortunate take years to regain pre-pandemic wealth levels, if they ever do. This session will tackle the persistent barriers to inclusive economic growth and how state and local leaders can take steps to spur widespread wealth creation. We will hear about key opportunities like state earned income tax credits and other policies, that can put us on a path to the ambitious goal of eradicating poverty.

Addressing Student Debt and the Cost of Higher Ed

co-led by NewDEAL Leaders Connecticut Senator Will Haskell and Massachusetts Senator Eric Lesser

The student debt crisis is a multi-trillion drag on our economy that is actively preventing members of the workforce from building long-term wealth. This session will examine key factors driving the massive increases in tuition, levers that policymakers from all levels of government have to address the issue, and what to do in response to massive student debt.

Elected State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida, in November 2012 and re-elected in 2016 and 2020 without opposition, Dave Aronberg leads an office of 120 prosecutors and 200 professional staff that reviews more than 66,000 criminal cases each year. As State Attorney, Dave has overseen a dramatic improvement in conviction rates; a reduction in the “direct filing” of juveniles into adult court; an expansion of drug court and veterans court, which emphasize rehabilitation over incarceration; and the creation of innovative diversion programs for first-time domestic violence and DUI offenders that have reduced recidivism rates and saved taxpayer dollars.  To combat fraud and abuse in the drug treatment industry, Dave created a first-of-its-kind “Sober Homes Task Force” in July 2016 that has made more than 100 arrests and led to a 40% drop in opioid overdose deaths in Palm Beach County in 2018.

Before his current office, Dave served as a Florida State Senator (2002-10) and a White House Fellow (2000-01) in the U.S. Treasury Department.

From leading the effort to create Whole Child Leon to her current leadership to bring Purpose Built Communities to Tallahassee, Loranne has always been focused on solutions to real problems that directly help children and families. And she has been a leader on the big issues facing our state, guarding and supporting traditional public education and our public-school teachers and support personnel, investing in early learning, making health care more affordable and accessible, particularly for our rural communities, and protecting our land and water.

She is a nationally recognized public policy leader who has been able to bring the best ideas from around the state and nation and make them work for North Florida. Whether it is the future of work, opportunity zones, helping the disabled enter the workforce or saving the forestry industry, she never stops thinking about what is next and what can make our community in North Florida stronger for every family.

Mandela Barnes serves as Wisconsin’s 45th Lieutenant Governor. He was elected on November 8, 2018.  He is the first African-American to serve as a Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin, and the second African-American to ever hold statewide office.  In 2012, at the age of 25, Lt. Gov. Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two terms.  His tenure in the State Assembly included serving as Chair of the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and becoming a recognized leader on progressive economic policies and gun violence prevention legislation. 

                

Within his current role, Lt. Gov. Barnes serves as the Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change while also serving as co-Chair of the New DEAL Climate Change Policy Group. The New DEAL is a national network of rising state and local elected leaders. The lieutenant governor uses a platform of sustainability and equity to fight for solutions that invest in opportunities and fairness for every child, person, and family in Wisconsin, regardless of zip code.

Councilor Beaty began her service on the Beaverton City Council in 2015. When she was elected at age 29 she became the youngest city councilor ever and only the 13th woman elected in Beaverton’s city government. Councilor Beaty worked early in her career to relocate a community Vietnam Veteran Memorial after the land it sat upon was sold. It now resides in Beaverton’s Veterans Memorial Park, where advocates have always wanted it to be. She also added a preference status in the city’s procurement code for veterans who own small businesses, as well as advocating for and influencing local leaders to make Beaverton a Purple Heart City. For these actions, Councilor Beaty was named Woman Veteran of the Year in 2016 by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Councilor Beaty’s real impact came from the work to create a job academy for students who were not college bound right away. She worked with school districts so this class could be used as credit recovery for students who fell behind. She championed a policy change across all school districts to allow contraceptive access to students. For this innovative work, Portland Business Journal named her one of the “top 5 under 40” who have made a significant impact to the improvement of health care delivery. After the army, Councilor Beaty attended college using the Montgomery GI bill, and completed an associate’s degree in history, a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in management and organizational leadership.

Steve Benjamin was elected Mayor of Columbia in April of 2010. He has worked actively in community initiatives with numerous public and private organizations dating back to his years at the University of South Carolina where he served as President of the Student Government and as Student Bar Association President at the USC School of Law.

Mayor Benjamin has continued that service through the present, serving on numerous boards for nonprofit organizations such as the Columbia Urban League, Benedict College, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and as a Founding Board Member of the Eau Claire Promise Zone. He also served as a founding member of Choose Children First. In 1999, at age 29 Steve was appointed to Governor Jim Hodges’ Cabinet as director of the state’s second largest law enforcement agency, the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services. In addition to his work as Mayor, Steve practices law with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart.

Elizabeth Bennett-Parker was elected to the Alexandria City Council in November 2018 and is the youngest woman elected to Council in Alexandria’s history. Prior to her election, she was appointed by Council to serve on the Community Criminal Justice Board and the Commission on Employment.

In her day job, Elizabeth co-leads Together We Bake, a nonprofit job training and personal development program for women in need. She is the founder of Fruitcycle, a social enterprise that produced healthy snacks from locally-sourced produce that would otherwise go to waste, while also providing jobs for women who had been homeless or formerly incarcerated. Recognizing a similarity in missions, Elizabeth merged Fruitcycle with Together We Bake in 2016.

Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti has been an advocate for good government and transparency throughout her career. Mayor Cognetti served in the Obama Biden administration from 2009-2012 as a senior advisor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department. Cognetti previously served as a director on the Scranton School Board, overseeing a $160M budget and helping navigate the district’s dual crises of financial distress and public mistrust. She advised the Pennsylvania Auditor General, the Commonwealth’s chief fiscal watchdog, on oversight of school districts, care for older adults, criminal justice reform and student debt.

With her federal and Commonwealth experience, she has organized major intergovernmental initiatives for Scranton including the Covid-19 emergency response, protecting our small businesses and families through the economic crisis, and replacing old street signs throughout the city. She donates 5% of her salary back to the city, refuses a government car and gas card, and buys her own stamps and stationary to communicate with constituents. Fiscal reforms like these allowed Scranton to finish 2020 with a surplus.

Supervisors and the two-time former Mayor of the City of Santa Cruz.  He is also an entrepreneur, author, and educator. He is the host of the NewDEAL’s “An Honorable Profession” podcast. He was the cofounder of NextSpace Coworking + Innovation (now owned by Pacific Workplaces), a lecturer on law and government at UC Santa Cruz, and co-author of The Rise of the Naked Economy – How to Benefit from the Changing Workplace and wrote Etched in Stone – Enduring Words from our National Monuments. Ryan was selected by the Aspen Institute to be a Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership as one of “the nation’s most promising young elected officials.”

On the Board of Supervisors, Ryan has created incentives to support affordable workforce housing, led the expansion of the public safety and treatment programs, successfully advocated suing oil and gas companies for carbon emissions, and established a Thrive by Three Fund to support families’ health and educational outcomes.

Kerry Donovan was elected to the Colorado State Senate in November 2014 to represent Senate District 5, which includes seven counties on the Western Slope, the upper Arkansas Valley of Colorado, and her hometown of Vail. As Senator, Kerry has tackled a wide variety of issues to help build a Colorado that works for everyone — including economic development in rural areas, access to quality public education, renewable energy, conservation of Colorado’s wildlife and landscape, and access to public lands. Kerry currently serves on the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and the Senate Local Government Committee.

Prior to being elected Senator, Kerry served on the Vail Town Council for four years, and served on a number of other town commissions. She also worked for several community-focused nonprofits, and served as the Director of Academics for the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. When she’s not at the Capitol or meeting with constituents in her district, Kerry runs her small family ranch where she raises cattle and grows vegetables for local restaurants.

Senator Barry Finegold was elected in 2018 to represent the 2nd Essex and Middlesex District that includes Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury, a seat he previously held from 2011 to 2015. Finegold is currently the Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws, Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service, and is a member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Barry ran for the Board of Selectmen, taking on longtime incumbents to win and become the youngest Selectman in the town’s history at age 24. A year later, he won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Democrat representing the 17th Essex District consisting of parts of Andover, Tewksbury and Lawrence. He was the youngest member of his freshman class. Finegold served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was named Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. In this position, he championed renewable energy policies that have helped make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy. 

During his time in the Senate, Finegold has been a champion of legislative reform, passing the most significant election reform bill in decades and fighting for education reform efforts to close the achievement gap. He was deeply involved with the Lawrence Turnaround Plan following the state receivership of the Lawrence Public Schools. Since the plan was implemented, graduation rates have increased from 47% to 72%, and MCAS scores have significantly improved.

Leirion Gaylor Baird is the mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska. Mayor Gaylor Baird previously served for six years as a member of the City Council and one term as a Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commissioner. Her career includes experience as a management consultant, fiscal and policy analyst, and Boys and Girls Club Director. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Mayors and Metro Universities Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is a participant in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. 

The mayor earned her B.A. from Yale College and a M.Sc. from the University of Oxford. She and her husband, Scott, have three children – who, upon their mother’s election as mayor, were deeply disappointed to learn that she does not get to tell the School Superintendent when to call snow days.

Jeremy Gray is currently the Alabama State Representative of the 83rd District, where he serves on the Commerce and Small Business, Health, and Public Safety and Homeland Security committees. He was voted in by his peers as Minority-Whip, and he was appointed to the Alabama Statewide Health Coordinating Council and Innovate Alabama by Governor Ivey.

Rep. Gray is the founder of a nonprofit organization that acts as a resource incubation hub and a haven for a poverty-stricken community in Opelika, AL. He has sponsored legislation that would allow yoga into public schools, attract electric bike companies into Alabama, make the expungement process easier for those who are seeking a second chance in life, and require schools to provide water stations as well as clean filtered water. Obtaining his Executive MBA from Auburn University, Rep. Gray is committed to making Alabama a state inclusive for everyone. He knows attracting new-age businesses and retaining the brightest is key to the growth of the state.

On January 7th, 2021 Molly Gray was sworn in as Vermont’s 82nd Lieutenant Governor. Following her graduation from the University of Vermont, she moved to Washington to serve as a Congressional aide to Representative Peter Welch.

Her commitment to service led her to the International Committee of the Red Cross, where she managed relations with the U.S. Congress and led field missions into conflict zones around the world. She later returned home to attend Vermont Law School and served as a law clerk to Vermont’s judge to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the late Honorable Peter W. Hall. Molly went on to support the U.S. Government and international partners in launching the International Code of Conduct Association, working to launch the Association’s human rights monitoring program and lead human rights monitoring missions in East Africa, Nigeria, and Iraq.

Before taking office, Molly served Vermont as an Assistant Attorney General in Vermont’s criminal division and taught night classes on human rights law at Vermont Law School. Molly is only the fourth woman in Vermont’s history to serve as Lieutenant Governor

In 2015, Councilmember Derek S. Green, Esquire won the Democratic primary for City Council At-Large in Philadelphia by receiving the highest number of votes cast in the election, and, later that year, he was elected as a member of the City Council of Philadelphia. In 2019, he was elected for another term. 

Before his election, Councilmember Green was the Special Counsel to Councilmember Marian B. Tasco. In this capacity, he proposed and drafted legislation as well as reviewed and monitored local, state, and federal legislation. He also served as counsel to the Philadelphia Gas Commission Chair and the Committees on Finance and Public Health and Human Services and managed various Council hearings and meetings with constituents and executives. 

In August 2018, Lee Harris was elected as the 6th Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee. Prior to his election, Mayor Harris served in the Tennessee Senate and the Memphis City Council. Throughout his political career, Mayor Harris has been an unwavering voice for neighborhoods, public safety, environmental protection, and a strong middle class. He has won numerous awards because of his work in politics and government, including selection to the prestigious Aspen-Rodel Fellows program and as a New Deal Leader.

Mayor Lee Harris is a proud product of the public schools in Memphis (Alcy Elem., John P. Freeman Middle, and Overton High). He was a top student at Morehouse College and worked his way through law school at Yale. After law school, Mayor Harris practiced law and later joined the faculty of the University of Memphis Law School. He is believed to be the first African American tenured full professor of law at the University of Memphis.

Sheleah Harris is a native Memphian and servant leader in relentless pursuit to create environments that cultivate an attitude of excellence within communities and neighborhoods throughout Memphis. She serves as the Local and State Government Affairs Manager with Verizon in Tennessee, where she leads the charge for innovation by collaborating with community stakeholders and legislatures to drive equity by addressing the digital divide and implementing a sustainable philanthropic footprint in Memphis and Nashville. Sheleah is also the Founder and Executive Director of Living Grace, Inc. a non-profit organization that advocates and provides resources for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in Memphis. In August of 2020, she became the first woman and African-American to represent Shelby County Schools District 5 as a School Board Commissioner.

As a strong advocate for building wealth in the Black community, Sheleah has created a scholarship program, Legacy Leaders, to support and promote young Black entrepreneurs in Memphis. In 2018, she launched the InventHER STEM Conference that provides a space for minority high school girls to connect and promote interests in careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In addition, she consistently serves as a philanthropist, supporting programs throughout Memphis that directly impact minority children and focus on growth for underserved communities through education.

Senator Haskell is the youngest member of Connecticut’s General Assembly. He represents the 26th District, comprising seven suburbs in Fairfield County. Haskell is the first Democrat to represent the district in over four decades. In 2019, he was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

As the Senate Chairman of the Transportation Committee, he has focused on expanding and improving public transit options across the state. During his time as Senate Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, he prioritized increasing enrollment at community colleges and providing local businesses with the highly-skilled workforce. Haskell fought to create a debt-free community college program that has helped thousands of students pursue higher education.

Christine Hunschofsky was elected to the City of Parkland Commission in 2013 and elected Mayor in 2016. She led her city through the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland in 2018.

During her time as Mayor, Christine was appointed to co-chair the United States Conference of Mayors Small Cities Forum and testified before the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force of the 116th Congress regarding the need for universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders. Additionally, she worked with the Broward County School Board and local developers to build additional elementary school space and promoted a Buy Local program to help small businesses. She also worked with managing entities, state, and federal agencies to bring new mental health resources to the community. In 2019, she joined the American Food Coalition and advocated for flood mitigation legislation in Washington DC.

Christine was elected to the Florida House of Representatives as the State Representative for District 96 in November 2020 and in her first term has passed bi-partisan legislation renaming a Coral Reef Conservation Area and establishing a Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse to improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services in Florida.

Will was elected and sworn-in as an at-large Montgomery County councilmember in December 2018 with the support of a diverse coalition from across the county. He is an attorney, activist, and community leader with a lifelong dedication to public service. Described as “the progressive leader we need” by revered civil rights activist and Congressman, John Lewis, Will has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Senator Barack Obama. During the 8-year Obama Administration, Will had the honor of serving as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education. He has worked tirelessly to ensure a quality education, opportunities for prosperity and guaranteed civil rights are available to every American.

Tishaura Jones was sworn-in as the 47th mayor and the first Black female mayor in the City’s history on April 20th, 2021. Transparency, Integrity, and Service define who she is and how she did it. Since 2012, Tishaura O. Jones has helped the City of St. Louis earn and save over $30 million and counting.

Jones started her career as a public servant in 2002 when she was appointed as Democratic Committeewoman of the 8th Ward in the City of St. Louis. A history-maker on a mission, she served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, and was selected as the first African American woman in Missouri history to hold the position of Assistant Minority Floor Leader. She also is the first African American woman to serve as Treasurer of St. Louis.

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In her tenure as Treasurer, she launched the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) to help St. Louisans make better financial choices, as OFE’s College Kids Program has helped over 18,000 public school students start saving through educational savings accounts. With over a million and a half dollars saved to date, these college saving accounts will help more city children get a higher education, using parking revenue, family contributions and community support.

Mark Keam serves as a Virginia State Delegate.  He began his career in public service as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission and later served as a policy counsel at the Small Business Administration, where he worked to create a level playing field for women-owned businesses and minority enterprises.

After the Clinton Administration, Mark moved to Capitol Hill to serve as Chief Counsel to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2001 to 2007, when he left to become a senior advisor for strategic affairs at Verizon, where he helps the company develop ideas that promote the use of technology to solve societal problems.

Zach Klein was sworn in as Columbus City Attorney on January 1, 2018 after serving the previous seven years as a member of Columbus City Council, including as Council President from 2016-2017.

Zach is committed to finding bold and creative ways to use the full breadth of the City Attorney’s office to better serve Columbus residents. In office, Zach has implemented policies to comprehensively address fundamental inefficiencies and inequalities in the criminal justice system. He has spearheaded efforts intended to prioritize jail space for violent offenders awaiting trial, save taxpayer money, and reduce the amount of time individuals spend in jail while awaiting trial for non-violent misdemeanor offenses. That includes eliminating cash bail, ending the prosecution of low-level marijuana cases and implementing a first-of-its-kind theft diversion program that identifies and treats the root reasons of crime.

In 2018, Nima Kulkarni became the first Indian immigrant to be elected in the history of the Kentucky Legislature. She has managed her own immigration law practice since 2010, helping others achieve the American Dream.

Nima has dedicated her time as a public servant to helping the most vulnerable Kentuckians. In the 2020 session, she was able to stop harmful anti-immigrant legislation, as well as gain bipartisan support for Kentucky’s first anti-SLAPP bill, to ensure a fair and equitable judicial process for all Kentuckians. She was the primary sponsor of legislation to reinstate the prevailing wage, and is a strong supporter of our working families.

Most recently, Nima has been named as one of a handful of Louisville leaders to serve on the Mayor’s Civilian Review Board Working Group, to achieve greater transparency, accountability, and trust between the community and law enforcement in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death. She is currently working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft comprehensive policing reform legislation for Kentucky.

Ken Lawrence is the first African American Commissioner in Montgomery County, PA history. He was first appointed in 2017 to fill out the term of newly elected Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He was elected to a four year term in 2019. He serves as Chair of County Board of Elections and has led the purchase and implementation of a new voting system and “no-excuse” mail-in balloting in his county.

Transportation and infrastructure have been key focuses. of his tenure. Ken has served as a county appointee to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) where he is Vice Chairman. He has been a leading proponent of repairing the county’s 133 bridges and keeping 75 miles of road in good repair. He is an avid user and promoter of the county’s parks and trails.

Eric P. Lesser was elected to the Massachusetts Senate on November 4, 2014. He represents nine communities in the First Hampden & Hampshire District, proudly serving Western Massachusetts as one of the youngest members of the State Senate. Lesser’s legislative agenda focuses on the fight for greater economic opportunity and quality of life for Western Massachusetts, with initiatives around high-speed rail, a high-tech economy, job training, and innovation in government. Elected at the age of 29, Senator Lesser also spearheads the Senate’s agenda on millennial issues, including technology policy, student debt, and greater youth engagement in public affairs.

Prior to becoming a state Senator, Lesser worked in the Obama White House, first as Special Assistant to Senior Adviser David Axelrod, and later as Director of Strategic Planning for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Lesser began as a young aide on President Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign, traveling to 47 states and six countries with then-Senator Obama and his senior team. Lesser has been described as “the face of the promised Obama political generation” by the New York Times.

Natalia D. Macker is Chairwoman of the Teton County Board of County Commissioners. She was appointed to the commission in 2015 and won re-election in 2016. Her record demonstrates a commitment to rural healthcare solutions, support for women and working families, and a commitment to balancing economic development with ecosystem stewardship. While she has been in office, the county has developed its first affordable housing supply plan, won approval from voters for extending the lodging tax, adopted an integrated transportation plan, developed a county sustainability plan, and began implementation of a road-to-zero-waste initiative. In addition to an ongoing focus on affordable housing, current efforts include implementing a health-in-all-policies framework, completing a human services funding plan, a county-wide water quality plan, and an early childhood education initiative spearheaded by Commissioner Macker.

Macker’s service extends beyond the borders of Teton County, and she was recognized by her peers from around the state as Commissioner of the Year by the Wyoming County Commissioners Association (WCCA) for her outstanding service to counties and the state. Macker serves as statewide chair of the Health, Safety, and Social Services committee for the WCCA, mentors new commissioners, and is on the steering committee for Wyoming’s first statewide health needs assessment. She was appointed by the governor to serve on the Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues and the Land Quality Advisory Board (DEQ). As the youngest member and only woman on the commission, Macker collaborates with several Wyoming-based organizations to secure the economic future of Wyoming women and families.

State Rep. Mari Manoogian is serving her first term representing Michigan’s 40th District, which includes four communities in Oakland County, a suburb of Detroit. At 27, she is the youngest woman serving in the 100th Legislature and the first Armenian-American woman in Michigan history to be elected to the statehouse. Currently, Rep. Manoogian serves as the Assistant Minority Whip, and is a member of the Committees on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security, Commerce and Tourism, and Energy.

Rep. Manoogian earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Prior to being elected to the Legislature, she worked at the United States Department of State and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. She is proud to advocate for Michigan’s environment and public health, specifically on the issue of clean drinking water for all communities. As the daughter of a retired proud Utility Workers Union of America local union president, Rep. Manoogian is known for being a champion for working families across Michigan and for policies that give all working people the freedom to organize in a union.

Josh Maxwell is a lifelong Chester County resident whose priorities are to ensure that all of our communities thrive, to create opportunities for working families, and to affirm and safeguard the equality of all people. Josh began his term as Chester County Commissioner in January 2020.

During his time as Mayor of Downingtown, Josh was a proven driver of economic change and job growth, an ally in causes of social justice and equality, and he supported seven straight no-tax-increase budgets.  Also during his time as Mayor, Downingtown Borough reduced its debt by 60 percent, and Josh was instrumental in negotiating the largest public and private investment in Downingtown’s history in the form of a transit-oriented and train station development. 

In addition to serving in his previous mayoral position, Josh has worked as a USAID contractor, developing international development programs around the world, including Nigeria and Mozambique.

Cristin McCarthy Vahey was elected to her first term in Connecticut’s General Assembly in 2014, following three years as a Fairfield Selectman. Trained as a social worker, Cristin has found these skills critical in building coalitions to support integrated, multi-modal transportation options.

Cristin was instrumental in Fairfield’s efforts to create a bike and pedestrian master plan and establish a permanent standing committee for the town. Her new role as a member of both the Transportation Committee as well as the Transportation sub-committee for Appropriations provides her with an opportunity to continue to advocate for effective and future oriented transportation solutions.

Unseating a 16-year incumbent, McClellan has served as a member of Norfolk City Council representing Superward 6 since 2016. Throughout her tenure on the council, she has served her 125,000 constituents by focusing on a pro-growth, innovative platform that includes improving broadband access, diversifying the economy around the largest naval base in the world, finding solutions and funding to address sea level rise and climate mitigation, and creating a more engaged, accessible, and transparent city government.

McClellan also serves as the Vice Chair of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, the Regional Broadband Ring Subcommittee, and chairs the HRPDC Coastal Resilience Subcommittee. She is also a board member of Hampton Roads Transit and chairs its Smart Cities and Innovation committee. From 2018-2019, Andria co-chaired the Norfolk Mayor’s Commission on Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation, creating the region’s first ever Climate Action Plan. She was also recently appointed to the National League of Cities 2020 Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources federal advocacy committee. McClellan serves as the national co-chair of the Climate Working Group for The NewDEAL, along with Wisconsin Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes. She also served as the Vice Chair for Finance for the Democratic Party of Virginia from 2014-2015 and is a founding board member of the Democratic Business Alliance of South Hampton Roads.

In 2011, Lauren was appointed to Boise’s City Council, was twice re-elected, and selected by her peers to serve as Council President in 2017. After conversations with thousands of Boise residents, Mayor McLean’s priorities for the coming years are increasing commitment to transparency, accountability, and accessibility as residents seek to engage with City Hall, establishing a renewed sense of urgency in addressing our city’s growing affordability crisis, housing shortages, and homelessness, and building new regional relationships at every level of government and business to work towards an actionable plan for valley transportation.

Demonstrating that a city truly thrives when we chart a shared future with our entire community, embrace the unique opportunities of a 21st century economy, and place conservation front and center in every policy we make and every goal we set.

Jon Mitchell, now in his fifth term, is Mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the top commercial fishing port in the United States for nearly two decades. Under his leadership, the historic city has moved aggressively to reform its schools, modernize its port, and solidify its downtown’s status as the cultural and economic hub of the region. New Bedford has emerged on the national stage as a leader in solar energy and the emerging hub of the nascent offshore wind energy industry in America. It has seen the local unemployment rate fall faster than any metropolitan area in America twice in the past two years. And the City currently enjoys the highest bond rating in its history. For these accomplishments the New Bedford Standard-Times named Jon the “2015 SouthCoast Man of the Year.” He currently serves as president of the Massachusetts Mayors Association and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Committee on Energy.

Prior to his service as Mayor, Jon served as an Assistant U. S. Attorney in Boston where he prosecuted cases in the areas of white collar crime, firearms, narcotics, environmental crime, and public corruption. Many of his cases were of national importance, including his work as the prosecutor on the task force searching for Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger. Jon hails from a local fishing family. He attended Harvard College and George Washington University Law School, and is married to Ann Partridge, a breast cancer doctor and researcher at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. They have three daughters.

Adrian Perkins is the Mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana. In the wake of 9/11, Adrian Perkins accepted a nomination to the United States Military Academy. There, he was the captain of the track team and the first African-American graduate elected Class President in West Point’s history. Perkins deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan after graduating from West Point. He achieved the rank of Captain and Company Commander in the United States Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. After three tours of duty, the Tillman Foundation accepted Perkins into their Tillman Scholar Program, enabling him to attend Harvard Law School, where he was again elected Student Body President.

In 2020, Mayor Perkins instructed the City Engineer and Chief Technology Officer to geo-locate COVID cases to track viral spread in Shreveport during the pandemic. This information was used to direct resources and target messaging—an approach that saved lives. Work is currently underway to establish citywide surveillance cameras and a Real-Time Crime Center. Mayor Perkins serves on several boards, including the Southern Rail Commission; the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee; the United States Conference of Mayors Advisory Committee; and Northwest Louisiana’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.

State Representative Quentin “Q” Phipps is honored to serve the 100th District in the Connecticut General Assembly. Representative Phipps is the first African-American to represent the City of Middletown in Connecticut’s legislature. Rep Q’s serves as Chair of the Aging Committee and founded the Connecticut Downtown Main Street Caucus. Quentin is a graduate of Middletown Public Schools and Bryant University, and he earned his Master’s of Public Administration from Villanova University.

Quentin serves Excellence Community Schools as their Director of Advocacy and Policy, co-founder and co-director of EquityCT, a non-for-profit building actionable understanding of equity, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford. As a member of the legislature, Rep Q has championed strengthening connectivity and visitation for seniors in nursing care, retirement for all, elimination of daylight savings time, and expanding solar panel and battery adoption.

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman was elected in November 2017. As Comptroller, Jack has brought a new energy to his position as the County’s Chief Financial Officer. He has increased transparency through innovative approaches such as Open Checkbook and the Comptroller’s Scorecard on the Open Nassau Transparency Hub, launched audits that have achieved results, and strengthened oversight of the County’s finances and contracting processes. 

His administration launched a Policy and Research Unit focused on data-driven reports, fact sheets, and analysis to help inform the policy-making process, highlighting critical demographic trends, Black Economic Equity, veterans data, women entrepreneurship, food insecurity, the 2020 Census, and how the County can retain and meet the demands of the next generation. The Comptroller’s office has forged new partnerships with leaders in the nonprofit, MWBE, and tech communities, advocating for local businesses and pushing to grow our economy.

Lorenzo Sierra is among a new class of Latino leaders in Arizona – proud of his deep roots in the state and focused on building a brighter future for those he serves in the communities of Avondale, Tolleson, and southwest Phoenix. A member of Arizona’s House of Representatives, Lorenzo is a recognized problem solver and innovative thinker, dedicated to strengthening a diverse, educated, economically robust, and vibrant state. His was a key Ways and Means committee vote leading to a more than $10 billion expansion of Arizona’s tech economy. Lorenzo championed efforts leading to a $45 million investment into high-quality preschool programming for low-income families.

Lorenzo draws from his personal story in identifying with the needs of those he serves. The son of a Vietnam veteran and copper miner, he was the first of his family to make it to – and through – college. He worked his way into corporate communications, earning an award-winning career in Fortune 100 companies before becoming elected to the Avondale City Council. As a council member, he led the efforts culminating in Avondale being named an “All America City” and also being named the top economic development city by the Maricopa Association of Governments.

In 2020, Lorenzo almost died from COVID-19, requiring four days on a ventilator and a week in the ICU. This only strengthened his resolve to improve access to healthcare for all. He fought to bring the first COVID-19 testing site into his district, and vaccines into local neighborhoods.

Since 2013, Mayor Smathers has been a part of a great, cooperative, bipartisan team that has lead a progressive and practical agenda which has given a rebirth to his rural hometown of Canton, North Carolina. His agenda has included a focused push for sustainable economic development, living wages, environmental improvements, and increased outdoor recreational opportunities.

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 mill town special and enticing for both families and workers.

In November 2020, Anna was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission and is the first Latina to hold statewide office. She approaches this job with the same passion and energy as she has in every other endeavor.

Commissioner Tovar served on the Tolleson City Council for seven and a half years, and was Vice Mayor for two years until she joined the House of Representatives and served as Minority Whip. In 2013, she entered the Senate where she served as the District 19 representative advocating for Avondale, Tolleson, West Phoenix and the entire state. In 2016, Anna was elected as Mayor of Tolleson, Arizona. She is the first female to hold this prestigious office.

During her time as Mayor, Anna has worked to ensure all citizens of Tolleson have an opportunity for a quality education and good paying jobs. She has supported local businesses and sustainable economic development as a principal cornerstone of her governance and focused on developing regional partnerships and collaborating with local and state elected officials to advocate for all residents.

Since his election in March 2012, Miro has been working to put Burlington’s finances in order. Before being elected Mayor, Miro focused his career on developing affordable and market rate homes in Vermont and New Hampshire while also promoting smart growth and environmental sustainability. As an active member of the Burlington community, he has served on the Burlington Airport Commission, as board president of the Turning Point Center for Chittenden County, and on the board of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.

Rob Werner is the New Hampshire State Director for the League of Conservation Voters, a national advocacy organization that works to turn environmental values into national, state, and local priorities. Rob formerly served as the National Field Director of Americans for Campaign Reform.

A public policy analyst and advocate, Rob has organized successful advocacy and legislative campaigns for the American Heart Association, Smoke-Free NH Alliance, and the American Cancer Society. Rob has extensive experience in the health care sector, working in the private, government, and non-profit areas.

Rob is serving his sixth term on the Concord City Council, chairing the Energy and Environment Advisory Committee. Active in the Greater Concord, NH Chamber of Commerce, Rob serves on the State Government Affairs Committee. Rob serves on the board of the Harvard Club of New Hampshire and Chairs the Harvard Kennedy School New Hampshire Network. Rob is a graduate of Leadership New Hampshire and a member of the Bow, NH Rotary Club.

Brandon Whipple was elected mayor of Wichita in 2019. He previously served in the Kansas House of Representatives since 2013, representing the south side of Wichita. Prior to serving in the legislature, Brandon served in multiple positions within the local Democratic Party and has taught at the college level since 2008. He currently teaches both Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

As the first person in his family to graduate college, Brandon believes that a robust education system is crucial to building a strong workforce in Kansas. Brandon has advocated for legislation that increases opportunity and job growth for all Kansans and has worked with the South Wichita Business Association to lower property taxes for local businesses.

Wednesday 

Reception – 5:10 pm

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland

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. 

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.

Senator Chris Coons

Chris has spent his career in the Senate focused on working across the aisle to get things done for the people of Delaware. In recent years, the Bipartisan Policy Center recognized Chris for his commitment to bipartisanship and awarded him its Legislative Action Award and the independent congressional tracking website GovTrack ranked Chris in the top three most productive Senators of both parties.

Putting pragmatism ahead of politics, Chris has partnered with Republicans and Democrats alike to address key issues facing Delaware and the country. Chris has worked relentlessly with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide resources for those struggling with drug addiction and to curb the impact of the opioid crisis. As a result of Chris and his colleagues’ efforts, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill in 2018 that improves prevention, treatment, and recovery to combat the epidemic. Earlier that same year, legislation based on Chris’s American Dream Accounts Act, which expands access to technical training and higher education to students in Delaware and across the country, was signed into law. In 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bill Chris introduced with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to better protect American invention and innovation.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene represents Washington’s 1st Congressional District, which spans from northeast King County to the Canadian border and includes parts of King, Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties. First sworn into the House of Representatives in November 2012, Suzan brings a unique voice to the nation’s capital with more than two decades of experience as a successful technology entrepreneur and business leader. Suzan takes on a wide range of challenges both in Congress and in the 1st District. She is a leader on issues of technology, health care, trade, taxes, environmental conservation, and agriculture, and is a champion for working families.

She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is at the forefront of the debate on a fairer tax code, health care reform, trade deals, and lasting retirement security. She serves on the Select Revenue Measures and Trade Subcommittees. Suzan also serves as Chair of the forward-thinking New Democrat Coalition, the largest ideological caucus among House Democrats, and is co-chair of the Women’s High-Tech Coalition, Internet of Things Caucus, and Dairy Caucus. She is also a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes

Mandela Barnes currently serves as Wisconsin’s 45th Lt. Governor. He is the first African-American Lt. Governor of Wisconsin and only the second African-American to be elected statewide. As Lt. Governor, Mandela has worked closely with Governor Evers to help Wisconsin recover from the pandemic. Mandela has been central to the campaign to encourage communities across the state to get vaccinated, traveling to urban and rural areas to energize Wisconsin’s recovery.

Thursday

Opening Remarks – 9:00 AM

Debbie Cox Bultan

Debbie Cox Bultan has twenty-five 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.

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.

Presentation of Ideas Challenge Winners – 9:00-9:45 AM

Cathilea Robinett

Cathilea is president of e.Republic, where she oversees sales and operations for the company’s award-winning media platforms; Governing and Government Technology. Cathilea also oversees e.Republic’s websites, conferences and events, and its national research and advisory groups: the Center for Digital Government, the Center for Digital Education and the Governing Institute. 

Cathilea is a frequent speaker for government and education organizations worldwide, including the United Nations, Harvard University, the State Legislative Leaders’ Foundation, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, and the World Congress on Information Technology. She has been quoted frequently in publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes and others.

Cathilea is a recipient of NASCIO’s National Technology Champion Award for her outstanding contributions in advancing public sector information technology innovation as well as the Gertrude Crain award for women’s leadership in the media. 

In 2014 she launched her legacy project, the Women in Government Leadership Program, an initiative to increase the number of women elected officials in the state and local government market.  In 2018 she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation.  

Her expertise in government, education, technology and business has made her a trusted advisor for both government and industry leaders throughout the United States.

Building Back Better: Conversations on Innovative Policy Solutions and Harnessing American Rescue Plan Funds

9:45 – 11:15 am

Child Care

Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray

Molly has lived and worked in communities across Vermont, worked in the halls of Congress, and around the globe in humanitarian response and human rights. Rooted in rural Vermont with a career spent bringing people together to get things done, Molly is an unfaltering voice for the needs of Vermonters.

Molly was recruited to support the U.S. Government and international partners in launching the International Code of Conduct Association; the first global initiative mandated to oversee the compliance of private security contractors with human rights. In that capacity, she worked to successfully launch the Association’s human rights monitoring program and led human rights monitoring missions in East Africa, Nigeria and Iraq. 

Sam Abbott

Sam Abbott is a family economic security policy analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Before joining Equitable Growth, Abbott was child welfare and juvenile justice researcher and consultant at Child Trends and Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform. He received an M.P.P. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Bard College.

Amanda Szekely

Amanda Szekely is a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist at zero to three, where her work is focused on advancing state policies that support the wellbeing of infants and toddlers, including early care and education, health and mental health, and family support services. Through a range of zero to three initiatives, Ms. Szekely provides technical assistance to state decision-makers and advocacy organizations on their infant-toddler policy priorities, facilitates the work of state-level planning groups, and develops research-based state policy resources. Ms. Szekely also serves as Senior Advocacy Partnership Manager at zero to three and coordinates the national partnership strategy for the Think Babies advocacy initiative. Prior to joining zero to three, Ms. Szekely worked at the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, where she designed and carried out policy consultation projects to inform governors’ early childhood policy agendas. Ms. Szekely was also a Senior Program Associate at The Finance Project, where she consulted with states, communities, and nonprofits on strategies to finance and sustain services for children and families. Ms. Szekely has a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Broadband

Senator Loranne Ausley

Throughout her career, Loranne has become known across the state of Florida as a Champion for all of Florida’s children. She has been their advocate both in the Florida legislature and nationwide because Loranne believes that every child deserves the best chance of success regardless of their zip code. And she is the voice for the disability community in the legislature; passing legislation that makes a real positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

From leading the effort to create Whole Child Leon to her current leadership to bring Purpose Built Communities to Tallahassee, Loranne has always been focused on solutions to real problems that directly help children and families. And she has been a leader on the big issues facing our state, guarding and supporting traditional public education and our public-school teachers and support personnel, investing in early learning, making health care more affordable and accessible, particularly for our rural communities, and protecting our land and water.

Senator Kerry Donovan

Kerry Donovan was first elected to the Colorado State Senate in November 2014 and re-elected in 2018 to represent Senate District 5, which includes seven counties on the Western Slope, the upper Arkansas Valley of Colorado, and her hometown of Vail. 

In 2018, Senator Donovan was elected by her colleagues to serve as Caucus Whip. She currently serves as the President Pro Tempore, the Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee as well as a member of the Transportation and Energy Committee and the Legislative Council Committee. As Senator, Kerry has tackled a wide variety of issues to help build a Colorado that works for everyone — including economic development in rural areas, access to quality public education, renewable energy, conservation of Colorado’s wildlife and landscape, and access to public lands. Prior to being elected Senator, Kerry served on the Vail Town Council for four years and served on a number of other town commissions. 

Donna Rattley Washington

Donna serves as Vice President of Business Development for the Beltway region for Comcast. The Beltway region is a high growth market on the east coast, encompassing the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC. Donna identifies and secures strategic business opportunities for Comcast, leveraging Comcast’s unique mix of technology, media assets, and innovation pipeline. Further, Donna serves as a thought leader with external industry and governmental entities to advance the discussion and consideration of innovative technology solutions.

Economic Recovery & Entrepreneurship

Mayor Steve Benjamin

Since being elected mayor in a record turnout election in April 2010, Mayor Steve Benjamin has made it his mission to create in Columbia the most talented, educated, and entrepreneurial city in the Southeast. 

Reelected by a 30 percent margin in November 2013, Mayor Benjamin’s administration has been characterized by his firm belief in Columbia’s potential and intense focus on job creation. In his first term alone, his leadership helped cut unemployment in the metro by roughly half and secured billions of dollars in new regional capital investment in the midst of a national recession.

Mayor Paige Cognetti

Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti took office as Mayor of Scranton on January 6, 2020. Prior to becoming Mayor, she advised the Pennsylvania Auditor General, the chief fiscal watchdog of the commonwealth, on oversight of public school districts, care for older adults, criminal justice reform, and student debt. Mayor Cognetti previously served as a director on the Scranton School Board, overseeing a $160M budget and helping navigate the district’s dual crises of financial distress and public mistrust. She has a background in government oversight, investment management, economic policy, international relations, and political campaigns, with broad experience in budget oversight, business development, coalition building, and strategic communications.

Scott Shewcraft

Scott is Vice President of Policy at the Economic Innovation Group. Scott has over a decade of government service, most recently as Chief of Staff to Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), where he managed an active office as the Congressman’s primary advisor on political and legislative strategy. Prior to that, he was Congressman Foster’s Legislative Director, crafting several major bipartisan compromises in the House Financial Services Committee. Scott began his career at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a Presidential Management Fellow. He represented the Department in the White House Interagency Rental Policy Alignment Initiative and developed congressional budget justifications. Scott also served as Housing Fellow to then-Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI). Scott received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Albion College; Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law; and Master of Laws in Financial and Securities Regulation from the Georgetown University Law Center. Scott lives with his wife and children in Alexandria, VA.

Breakout Session #1

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Housing

Mayor Lauren McLean

In 2011, McLean was appointed to Boise’s City Council, was twice re-elected, and voted Council President in 2017. Last year, she led the effort to pass Boise’s 100% Clean Energy Plan, and continue to push for sustainable communities, smart growth, and parks and open spaces.

In addition to my City Council position, McLean is a small business owner and currently serves on the Dean’s Council for the new School of Public Service at Boise State University and on the Board of Governors at the Andrus Center at Boise State. She’s also served on the steering committee to develop the Boise Metro Chamber Leadership Boise Alumni Association, was a board member of my neighborhood association, member of the Boise City Planning and Zoning Association, and President of the Boise Parks Commission.

Jenny Schuetz

Jenny Schuetz is a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro and is an expert in urban economics and housing policy. Dr. Schuetz has written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on land use regulation, housing prices, urban amenities, and neighborhood change. Dr. Schuetz has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the PBS NewsHour, The Indicator podcast, Vox, and Slate.

Mental Health

Representative Christine Hunschofsky

Christine Hunschofsky was elected to the City of Parkland Commission in 2013 and elected Mayor in 2016. She led her city through the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland in 2018.

During her time as Mayor, Christine was appointed to co-chair the United States Conference of Mayors Small Cities Forum and testified before the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force of the 116th Congress regarding the need for universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders. Additionally, she worked with the Broward County School Board and local developers to build additional elementary school space and promoted a Buy Local program to help small businesses. She also worked with managing entities, state, and federal agencies to bring new mental health resources to the community. In 2019, she joined the American Food Coalition and advocated for flood mitigation legislation in Washington DC.

Representative Nima Kulkarni

In 2018, Nima Kulkarni became the first Indian immigrant to be elected in the history of the Kentucky Legislature. She has managed her own immigration law practice since 2010, helping others achieve the American Dream.

Nima has dedicated her time as a public servant to helping the most vulnerable Kentuckians. In the 2020 session, she was able to stop harmful anti-immigrant legislation, as well as gain bipartisan support for Kentucky’s first anti-SLAPP bill, to ensure a fair and equitable judicial process for all Kentuckians. She was the primary sponsor of legislation to reinstate the prevailing wage and is a strong supporter of our working families.

Bill Smith

Bill Smith is a Founder of Inseparable, a national mental health advocacy organization, and founding partner of Civitas Public Affairs Group, a values-based firm working on some of the most pressing societal challenges of our day. Bill has built his career advancing significant public policy initiatives and winning elections. He has over 20 years of experience in campaign management, research and communications, and movement building, including 10 years as a strategist for the marriage equality movement. 

After losing his brother to mental illness, Bill helped found Inseparable with a bold vision: an America where mental health, no longer an afterthought, helps our country to heal and thrive. Inseparable is bringing people together from all around the country to build the political power needed to increase access to care, affordability, and parity through mental health reforms at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2021, Inseparable is focused on increasing access to lifesaving care by closing the treatment gap, investing in prevention and early intervention in schools, and ending the criminalization of mental illness and addiction.

Urban Wealth Funds

Former Congressman Ben McAdams

Former Congressman Ben McAdams is a Senior Fellow at the Sorenson Impact Center at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. McAdams served previously as a Utah State Senator and as Mayor of Utah’s largest county, representing 1.1 million constituents and balanced a budget of $1.2 billion while also securing and maintaining the county’s coveted AAA bond rating. As Mayor, McAdams performed a public asset map of all government-owned assets in the county illuminating public commercial assets totaling $45 billion. 

In his public service, McAdams brought Republicans and Democrats together to find solutions to address homelessness, improve education and health outcomes and promote evidence-based decision-making at all levels of government using innovations including the first social impact bonds to achieve measurable outcomes for the public good.

Joe Minicozzi

Joe Minicozzi is an urban planner imagining new ways to think about and visualize land use, urban design, and economics. Joe founded Urban3 to explain and visualize market dynamics created by tax and land use policies. Urban3’s work establishes new conversations across multiple professional sectors, policymakers, and the public to creatively address the challenges of urbanization. Urban3’s extensive studies range geographically from over 30 states, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami and a Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard University. In 2017, Joe was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all time.

Building Effective College & Career Pathways

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Christopher Cabaldon

Christopher Cabaldon was first elected Mayor of West Sacramento in 1998 and is serving his eleventh term.  He is the first mayor elected directly by the voters of the city, after serving four terms as Mayor on the city council.  The Sacramento Bee says that “under his leadership, the city has become one of the municipal stars of the region.”

Cabaldon acts in a leadership role at the United States Conference of Mayors, where he is Chair of the Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Committee.  He is also a member of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments Board, has served on a variety of regional transportation and air quality agency boards, and is California’s commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.

Mayor Libby Schaaf

Mayor Libby Schaaf was born and raised in Oakland, which she proudly describes as, “The most unapologetic Sanctuary City in America.” During her tenure, Oakland has undergone an economic revitalization and building boom, as well as cut gun violence in half.

Her “17K/17K Housing Plan” has helped increase Oakland’s affordable housing production, stabilize rents, and decrease evictions. Her innovative public-private partnerships Keep Oakland Housed and Cabin Communities are credited with preventing 1,800 families a year from losing their housing while resolving some of Oakland’s most unsafe street encampments. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Mayor Schaaf to California’s first Council of Regional Homeless Advisors.

David Silver

As Director of Education to the Mayor of Oakland, David works in partnership with students, families, educators, partners, the City, OUSD, and Mayor Schaaf to realize a vision of educational equity for all students in Oakland.

He helped to create the Oakland Promise, a cradle to career initiative with the goal of dramatically increasing the number of college graduates from Oakland within a decade by ensuring every Oakland public school student graduates with the expectations, resources, and skills to complete college and succeed in the career of their choice.

David now leads the Northern California College Promise Coalition, a coalition of 25+ mayors, cities, college promises, and college access programs serving over 50,000 students and #OaklandUndivided, a citywide effort to ensure every Oakland public school student has a computer, reliable internet connection, and culturally-competent tech support in their home.

Cheryl C. De Vonish, J.D.

Cheryl De Vonish was appointed as NCC’s Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2019.  Since 2015 Cheryl has served in a variety of leadership roles at NCC and as an adjunct faculty member.  Prior to her appointment as CEO, Cheryl served in the role of Chief Operating Officer, which included the portfolio of Dean of Administration and Director of Human Resources.   Cheryl also served as NCCs Chief Diversity & Equity Officer, Special Advisor to the President’s Office

Phillip Lovell

Phillip Lovell serves as All4Ed’s Associate Executive Director. He is a passionate advocate for the nation’s underserved children and youth, having spent the past two decades advocating on Capitol Hill in areas such as juvenile justice, homelessness, and education.

Lovell joined All4Ed in 2010 and leads the organization’s policy development and government relations efforts on Capitol Hill, with the White House, and with the U.S. Department of Education to advocate for federal policy that will prepare the nation’s students to graduate high school ready for college and the workforce. He also leads All4Ed’s effort at the state level to ensure that high schools with low graduation rates receive comprehensive support and that all students have access to rigorous college and career pathways. Additionally, he has led All4Ed’s effort to close the Homework Gap and increase federal funding for internet access among the nation’s schools and libraries. Lovell serves as a frequent spokesperson for All4Ed, including on Federal Flash, All4Ed’s video series that provides education stakeholders with regular updates on federal education policy.

Interactive Climate Workshop

Dr. John Sterman

John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. Prof. Sterman has published over 200 works spanning corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, and climate change. Author of award-winning books and papers, he pioneered the development of interactive “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems, which are now used by governments, corporations, and universities around the world. These include the C-ROADS and En-ROADS energy and climate policy simulations, developed in partnership with the non-profit, Climate Interactive, which have been used by policymakers, negotiators, business and civil society leaders, educators, and the public around the world.

Bethany Patten

Lecturer & Senior Associate Director of the Sustainability Initiative at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Bethany’s interests lay at the intersection of corporate and public policy, with a focus on environmental and social issues. She focuses on applying business practice theory to solve real-world challenges. As an experienced operational leader, Bethany develops relationships with public and private sector organizations, identifying the sustainability-related challenges they face. Through those engagements, she develops a learning curriculum for masters-level students and teaches course sessions focused on problem formulation, continuous improvement, and change management for sustainability.

She is responsible for the growth and quality of MIT Sloan’s Sustainability Certificate and another programming for students pursuing careers of environmental and social impact. She leads the Sustainability Initiative’s efforts to accelerate the move toward evidence-based climate policy. Bethany has been an active contributor across MIT, where she served on the Vice President for Research’s Climate Action Advisory Committee, co-authored the MIT report providing guidance on climate-related financial disclosures, and as a student at MIT, led the MIT Sustainability Summit and several projects on campus aimed at reducing waste.

Friday

Opening Remarks – 9:00 AM

Debbie Cox Bultan

Debbie Cox Bultan has twenty-five 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.

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.

A Shared Health Care Agenda  9:00 – 9:30 AM

Natalie Davis

Natalie Davis has worked for nearly two decades shaping and implementing American health care policies to improve the lives of all people. In 2018, she and fellow national health care leader Andy Slavitt launched United States of Care to ensure that everyone in the country has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of health status, social need, or income. She is relentless in her person-centered approach to building healthcare solutions and has a history of building partnerships – with organizations, patient advocacy groups, and everyday people – that work to create positive change in our country’s health care system.

Natalie believes that it has never been more important to make our healthcare system work better for everyone. She is dedicated to bringing together leaders and advocates from across the country who can help create meaningful change in our nation’s inequitable health care system. She brings all her personal and professional experiences to the fight for better health care, working to expand access to quality, affordable health care to help people right now while working towards durable federal policies centered on the needs of people to provide real and lasting solutions for everybody.

Reimagining Public Safety

9:30 AM – 10:15 AM

Marcus Ellis

Marcus Ellis serves as the Chief of Staff for the Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.  In this position, he is responsible for leading a portion of the Mayor of Washington DC’s overall approach to violence within the Nation’s Capital. His office works to foster a community-oriented model for violence prevention and public safety. The strategy is rooted in a public health approach recognizing that reducing crime is not accomplished solely through law enforcement. In doing this work, Mr. Ellis aims to decrease the likelihood of criminal justice involvement and improve the outcomes of employment, education, workforce development, health and wellness, and housing stability of those that are most likely to be harmed, or cause harm.

Prior to accepting the aforementioned position, Mr. Ellis was a key member of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Management Team serving as Superintendent of the New Beginnings Youth Development Center.  In this role, he oversaw the District of Columbia’s long-term juvenile detention facility where he implemented a model that focused on a strengths-based approach and provided therapeutic rehabilitation. 

Mayor Tishaura Jones

Tishaura Jones was sworn-in as the 47th mayor and the first Black female mayor in the City’s history on April 20th, 2021. Transparency, Integrity, and Service define who she is and how she did it. Since 2012, Tishaura O. Jones has helped the City of St. Louis earn and save over $30 million and counting.

With a deep personal commitment, a wealth of experience, and a proven record of leadership, Jones started her career as a public servant in 2002 when she was appointed as Democratic Committeewoman of the 8th Ward in the City of St. Louis. A history-maker on a mission, she served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and was selected as the first African American woman in Missouri history to hold the position of Assistant Minority Floor Leader. She also is the first African American woman to serve as Treasurer of St. Louis.

City Attorney Zach Klein

Zach Klein was sworn in as Columbus City Attorney on January 1, 2018 after serving the previous seven years as a member of Columbus City Council, including as Council President from 2016-2017.

Zach is committed to finding bold and creative ways to use the full breadth of the City Attorney’s office to better serve Columbus residents. Zach has focused on how the law can be applied most effectively to promote public safety, encourage economic progress for all, and protect the most vulnerable among us. His office is combatting human trafficking in city hotels and massage parlors, using civil litigation to shut down nuisance properties and illegal businesses, protecting civil rights, promoting social justice reform, and encouraging private sector investment to turn blighted properties into neighborhood assets.

County Councilmember Will Jawando

Will Jawando is an attorney, activist, and community leader with a lifelong dedication to public service. Described as “the progressive leader we need” by revered civil rights activist and Congressman, John Lewis, Will has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Senator Barack Obama. During the 8-year Obama Administration, Will had the honor of serving as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education. He has worked tirelessly to ensure quality education, opportunities for prosperity and guaranteed civil rights are available to every American.

Breakout Session #2

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Climate Policy Group: Financing Projects

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird

Leirion Gaylor Baird is the mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska. Mayor Gaylor Baird previously served for six years as a member of the City Council and one term as a Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commissioner. Her career includes experience as a management consultant, fiscal and policy analyst, and Boys and Girls Club Director. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Mayors and Metro Universities Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is a participant in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

Trenton Allen

Mr. Allen is an experienced energy and banking professional with nearly 20 years and $18 Billion in transaction experience. Mr. Allen has financed a wide range of infrastructure projects including, water, wastewater, energy efficiency, fossil and renewable energy for utility, business and governmental clients. Mr. Allen is a frequent speaker at major energy conferences and is widely regarded as a thought leader in the financing of clean energy projects. Mr. Allen is passionate about energy security and creating solutions that provide energy access to underserved communities around the world.

Anti-Poverty Strategies

Councilmember Derek Green

In 2015, Councilmember Derek S. Green, Esquire won the Democratic primary for City Council At-Large in Philadelphia by receiving the highest number of votes cast in the election, and, later that year, he was elected as a member of the City Council of Philadelphia. In 2019, he was elected for another term.

As a member of the City Council, Councilmember Green chairs the Committee on Finance and Disabilities and serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committees on Aging and Law and Government. Additionally, he serves as the Chair of the Philadelphia Gas Commission, Board Director for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Board Director for the Democratic Municipal Officials, Board Director for the National League of Cities, Regional Director for the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and 1st Vice President for the Pennsylvania Municipal League.

Monique Garcia Rizer

Monique Garcia Rizer is a Vice President at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she uses her significant experience in the nonprofit space to advise clients on innovative and proven strategies for success.

Most recently, Monique was the Executive Director of Urban Alliance’s Greater D.C. region, which provides workforce readiness skill development, evidence-based programming, and rigorous work-based learning experiences to nearly 800 youth and young adults in six school districts. She previously served as executive director of the national coalition, Opportunity Nation, where the team developed and relaunched the Opportunity Index with an equity framework and secured partnerships with social science researchers and the media to tell the story of opportunity in America.  She has also created and scaled an award-winning career program for military spouses and worked as a freelance writer and communications director. Monique’s lived experiences and professional work on economic opportunity have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, and the Washington Business Journal, as well as at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Biden Institute, among others.

Amy Everitt

Amy Everitt, whose service at the helm of NARAL Pro-Choice California and as Vice President of Special Projects for NARAL Pro-Choice America distinguished her as a leading women’s advocate, will soon assume a new role as President of Golden State Opportunity (GSO). Joe Sanberg, GSO’s founder, announced the appointment today, saying Everitt’s passion and unparalleled experience will be key to the nonprofit’s continued success in its mission to end poverty. 

​​Golden State Opportunity is already a leader in expanding access to the California Earned Income Tax Credit. Everitt says the organization will continue to build upon that legacy as they work to broaden their reach across the state, and leverage their outreach expertise to connect low-income communities to other public benefit programs and services such as CalFresh, as well as ensuring an accurate count in the 2020 census.

Sabrina De Santiago

Sabrina De Santiago serves as the Policy and Research Director for Golden State Opportunity. For more than 15 years, Sabrina has worked to build stronger and more prosperous communities through policy, advocacy, and government affairs.

During her time in Washington, D.C., Sabrina was an advisor on economic policy, housing policy, and appropriations to several Members of Congress, including former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (NY), U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM), and U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA). She was also a Director of Government Affairs for the Center for American Progress focusing on economic and security issues.

Addressing Student Debt:

Senator Will Haskell

Senator Haskell is the youngest member of Connecticut’s General Assembly. He represents the 26th District, comprising seven suburbs in Fairfield County. Haskell is the first Democrat to represent the district in over four decades. In 2019, he was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

As the Senate Chairman of the Transportation Committee, he has focused on expanding and improving public transit options across the state. During his time as Senate Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, he prioritized increasing enrollment at community colleges and providing local businesses with a highly-skilled workforce. Haskell fought to create a debt-free community college program that has helped thousands of students pursue higher education.

Senator Eric Lesser

Eric P. Lesser was elected to the Massachusetts Senate on November 4, 2014. He represents nine communities in the First Hampden & Hampshire District, proudly serving Western Massachusetts as one of the youngest members of the State Senate. Senator Lesser has quickly earned a reputation as one of the hardest working public servants in the Commonwealth. During his first term in office, Senator Lesser helped pass significant new laws related to substance abuse treatment and prevention, job training, and the promotion of tourism and the arts.

Tamara Hiler

Tamara leads Third Way’s efforts to create demand for a comprehensive college quality agenda by helping change the national conversation about higher education from cost to value. This includes forging strong relationships with Hill staff and other advocacy groups dedicated to improving student outcomes through increased transparency and the inclusion of new accountability mechanisms in higher education. Since joining Third Way in 2013, she has laid out a comprehensive policy platform to modernize the teaching profession, pushed Congress to maintain strong testing and accountability provisions in the rewrite of No Child Left Behind, and amplified the college quality crisis through a series of reports, videos, and infographics

Closing Session:

The State of Our Democracy

11:45 – 12:30

Diane Hessan

Diane Hessan is an award-winning entrepreneur and innovator in the market research field and a nationally recognized expert on the American voter. Since 2016, she has been engaged in an in-depth longitudinal study of the electorate, culminating in the June 2021 publication of Our Common Ground:  Insights from Four Years of Listening to American Voters.

She is the founder and Chairman of C Space, formerly Communispace, which was the first company to leverage social media to help companies get insight and inspiration from their consumers. Diane was CEO of the company during 14 years of exponential growth, as C Space worked with hundreds of global brands across 12 countries.  She was honored as a disruptor and innovator in the market research industry because of her work in conducting breakthrough longitudinal research via the internet. Communispace was sold to Omnicom in 2011, and as Chairman, Diane remains an advisor to the company, its clients, and many other Omnicom CEOs. A serial entrepreneur, Diane has consolidated all of her investment and advisory work into a new company called Salient Ventures, which is helping to accelerate the next generation of growth companies in tech.

Ryan Enos

Ryan D. Enos is a political scientist at Harvard University, where he is a Professor of Government and director of the Center for American Political Studies, and the founder and director of the Harvard Digital Lab for the Social Sciences.  He researches at the intersection of politics, psychology, and geography to study behavior and attitudes in the United States and other countries.  His research has appeared in leading scholarly journals and he is frequently cited in major media outlets.  His 2017 book The Space Between Us was called “among the most important and fascinating books about the uniquely psychological consequences of political geography ever written.