Washington Post Features NewDEAL Mayors in EJ Dionne Column

The practical solutions proposed by NewDEAL Leaders offer “hope for our country in the long run. But they also inspired a longing,” writes the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne in his latest column.

Dionne, who highlights NewDEAL for helping local officials “swap ideas about how to make their cities grow economically in sustainable ways.” details his meeting with five NewDEALers and their focus on big issues. They talk about the impact of climate change, infrastructure investments, affordable housing strategies, and a shared desire for greater commitment to the economic needs of cities by the federal government.

As noted by the headline of the column (Trump’s selfishness harms you, too), their comments illuminate the Trump Administration’s missed opportunities to work with local leaders on the challenges affecting Americans every day. The article features observations from NewDEAL mayors, including:

Eric Johnson (Dallas, TX), who said voters “have gotten so tired of Washington not really doing a whole lot;”
Rick Kriseman (St. Petersburg, FL), who put climate change at the top of his list of problems needing more action from national politicians;
Leirion Gaylor Baird (Lincoln, NE), who added: “We really need to partner with the federal government to fix our well fields, to address our levies, to build more resilient communities;”
Lauren McLean (Boise, ID), who talked about innovations to address housing; and
Steven Reed (Montgomery, AL), who urged an expansion of the Community Development Block Grant program and infrastructure investment that includes “fiber.”

NewDEAL Applauds Passage of Renters Choice Legislation in Cincinnati

Working as Catalyst to Spread “Renter Choice Movement” across the Country 

Washington, D.C. – Less than two months after Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld announced the legislation at the NewDEAL Leaders Conference, the Cincinnati City Council passed his Renters Choice bill, which guarantees all Cincinnati renters a choice to forego traditional security deposits that can pose a significant barrier to housing affordability. Sittenfeld’s fellow NewDEAL Leader, Mayor John Cranley, supports the legislation and is expected to sign it into law.


In addition, members of NewDEAL – a selective network of the most innovative state and local officials from across the country – have taken the idea from the organization’s November conference and offered support for spreading the policy in at least eight other states.

The legislation aims to directly improve the lives of millions of Americans dealing with skyrocketing housing costs and the fact that the Federal Reserve reports 40 percent of Americans don’t have $400 to cover emergency expenses. All Cincinnati renters will have an option in lieu of a traditional security deposit, including low-cost insurance or a modified security deposit.

“State and local leadership is critical to solving the biggest challenges facing Americans in today’s economy and the NewDEAL is committed to being a catalyst for the development and spread of the best policies that expand opportunity,” said NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan. “At a time when Americans cannot count on Washington to solve their most pressing issues, Renters Choice represents the kind of innovative approach government must take to make big change.


“We are proud of the leadership of Councilmember Sittenfeld as the first legislator in the nation to introduce a renters choice bill, as well as the efforts by nearly a dozen other NewDEALers who are already looking to spread his work to their communities. Housing affordability is one of the most significant obstacles to economic security, and it is exciting to play a role in a policy idea that gives renters lower-cost alternatives to cash security deposits and puts that money back in their pockets.”

NewDEAL Leaders, who hold state and local offices below the level of Governor, have pledged support for bringing renters choice to counties, cities, and states from New Hampshire to California. These leaders include: 

Alabama: Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, Huntsville, AL

California: Candidate for Supervisor (current School Board Member) Laura Capps, Santa Barbara, CA

California: Supervisor Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz County, CA

Connecticut: Representative Caroline Simmons, Stamford, CT

Maryland: County Councilmember Will Jawando, Montgomery County, MD

New Hampshire: Vice Chairwoman Molly Cowan, Select Board of Exeter, NH

New Hampshire: Senator Jon Morgan, Brentwood, NH

North Carolina: Representative Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, Greensboro, NC 

Pennsylvania: At-Large Councilmember Derek Green, Philadelphia, PA

Virginia: Delegate Mark Keam, Vienna, VA


About NewDEAL 

NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), is a selective national network of state and local elected officials with Honorary Co-Chairs U.S. Senator Mark Warner and former Governor Jack Markell. Members of the 181-person network covering 47 states have been chosen from among more than 1500 nominations over its eight-year history, and are working to enact pro-growth progressive solutions in a diverse array of communities. The network of rising leaders has included more than 20 who have ascended to higher office since the fall of 2018, such as four members of Congress and seven mayors who won their office for the first time in 2019.


The NewDEAL brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable. Most importantly, the organization facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders. The leaders’ work is helping to spread and build on policy recommendations that NewDEAL Leaders help develop, including the release of a report from the NewDEAL Forum Future of Work Policy Group, and the upcoming release of work by the Climate Change Policy Group that launched earlier this


Learn more about the NewDEAL at https://newdealleaders.org/leaders.

Leading Policymakers Launch Education Group to Address School/Jobs Mismatch

Top state and local officials joining Alliance for Excellent Education to identify solutions to better prepare young people for successful careers

Washington, DC – Innovative state and local officials from across the country are coming together Thursday, November 21, to launch an education initiative that will develop and implement a state and local policy agenda that better prepares students for college and careers. In the wake of evidence, like recent scores on the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP), which show too many students falling behind, the NewDEAL Forum Education Policy Group will leverage the expertise of public and non-profit thought leaders to identify the most effective, actionable solutions to graduate more students on track for success in the workplace.

A report of policy recommendations produced next year will be followed by support from the group to implement those solutions across the country. The group will consider topics at the intersection of education and workforce, including access to career pathways, reimagining career and technical education, and better linking K-12 and higher education systems, as well as a range of other key issues affecting the quality of education available to all young people.

The group will be co-chaired by West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Georgia State Senator Elena Parent, who are members of the NewDEAL network of 180 carefully-selected state and local officials below the level of Governor, from 47 states, who are chosen for their innovative and forward-thinking approaches to governing. (The NewDEAL Forum is the NewDEAL’s sister organization.) They will announce the initiative in Washington, DC at this week’s annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference, which focuses on solutions for the future of work, climate change, education, housing, and more.

“Our economy is changing at an accelerating rate,” said Mayor Cabaldon. “Good jobs require more skills than ever before, yet the NAEP results show that our young people – particularly low-income students and students of color – are not making the progress they need to succeed.  We must do better, and we cannot wait for the federal government to lead. State and local governments must find new and better ways to expand high quality college and career pathways, and to link workforce and education systems.”

“We have much work to do to prepare more of our young people for the future, but the good news is that many of our colleagues are finding innovative ways to make progress,” said Senator Parent. “We must break down the silos of our current systems and get K-12 and higher education, employers, labor organizations, and economic development to come together around a common plan to better prepare young people so that they can succeed and so that our economy can thrive. We need a shared vision and a set of proven, actionable solutions that we can use to advance the vision in our home communities.”

Support for the group will be provided by the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national nonprofit policy and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC whose mission is to ensure that every young person graduates from high school prepared for success in careers and in life. Funding from the Joyce Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will support the group’s work.

“We are thrilled to be supporting this group of innovative state and local elected officials committed to improving outcomes for students,” said Deb Delisle, President and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education. “We must do better at preparing our young people for the future, particularly historically underserved students who need our help the most. We cannot think of a better way to make concrete change than by working directly with policymakers to develop an agenda of evidence-based, actionable recommendations, and then working with those same policymakers to implement them.Too often policy recommendations sit on shelves; in this partnership with the NewDEAL Forum, we are confident that real change for students will result from our work.”

The group will build on recommendations produced by the NewDEAL Forum Future of Work Policy Group.

About the NewDEAL Forum

The NewDEAL Forum is a Washington-DC based non-profit organization which identifies and promotes innovative, future-oriented state and local pro-growth progressive policies that can improve the lives of all Americans. By facilitating the identification and spread of policy ideas, the NewDEAL Forum seeks to foster economic growth, reduce barriers to opportunity, and promote good government in communities, cities and states throughout the country.

About the Alliance for Excellent Education

The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization committed to improving educational outcomes—and lives—of students, with a focus on those in middle and high school. We embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion and specifically advocate on behalf of all students who are historically underserved or marginalized. all4ed.org

Five National Ideas Challenge Winners Announced


State and local leaders recognized for best of more than fifty proposals to expand opportunity and make government work better

Washington, DC – Today NewDEAL announced the winners of the 2019 New Ideas Challenge – a competition among rising and innovative state and local policymakers to propose the most effective solutions on an array of issues. Policy experts vote for the proposals that best improve Americans’ economic well-being and overall quality of life, and that make government work more effectively to meet communities’ needs. Of over fifty proposals submitted, an esteemed and diverse panel of judges selected the following five winners in their respective categories:

Adapting to the Future of Work: Creating Portable BenefitsSenator Eric Lesser, Longmeadow, MA

Expanding Access to Education: ACCESS (Affordable College and Career Education Starts with Saving)Councilmember Elizabeth Brown, Columbus, OH

Securing our Communities and our Planet: Resilient Zoning Code for a Coastal CommunityCouncilmember Andria McClellan, Norfolk, VA

Empowering Disadvantaged Populations: West Sacramento On-Demand: Mobility for AllMayor Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento, CA

Rebuilding Community: Transit Corridor Opportunity Program (TCOP)Councilmember Nirva LaFortune, Providence, RI

More information on the winning ideas is below. A full list of finalists and their ideas can be found here.

“NewDEAL Leaders are charting a course for communities across the country with forward-looking solutions to our challenges, while embracing the keys to prosperity in the 21st century, rather than trying to turn back the clock to a different era,” said NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan. “Our winners have developed some of the most innovative ideas for making the new economy and government work for everyone. These ideas should inform policymakers in Washington and across the country who want to rise above the partisan fray to move the nation in the right direction.”

In its fourth edition, the Challenge was open to the more than 165 members of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), an organization that supports state and local pro-growth progressive elected officials through the exchange of ideas and engagement with other top public, private, and non-profit sector officials. U.S. Senator Mark Warner (VA) and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the group.

Submissions to the New Ideas Challenge were evaluated by eight judges:

Andrei Cherny, CEO, Aspiration

Micaela Fernandez Allen, Director of Global Public Policy, Walmart

Alastair Fitzpayne, Executive Director, Aspen Future of Work Initiative

Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy, Center for American Progress

Dan’l Lewin, President & CEO, Computer History Museum

Amy Liu, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings

Steven Olikara, Founder & President, Millennial Action Project

2019 New Ideas Challenge Winners:

Massachusetts Senator Eric Lesser’s Creating Portable Benefits program won in the Adapting to the Future of Work category, which includes ideas that ensure everyone has opportunities to earn good jobs and pursue entrepreneurial ventures, while having access to a safety net that provides security and stability. His idea establishes the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Innovation Fund and competitive grant program to encourage employers and organizations to innovate and experiment with benefits systems that are especially designed to serve workers who are outside of traditional full-time employment positions. These efforts would attempt to address barriers to health care, retirement, workers compensation and other benefits that Americans are less likely to receive through their employer in the new economy.

Columbus Councilmember Elizabeth Brown’s ACCESS (Affordable College and Career Education Starts with Saving) program won in the Expanding Access to Education category, which emphasizes opportunities at every level — from early childhood to post-secondary — to prepare students to make the most of their abilities. ACCESS addresses barriers that prevent lower-income youth from achieving a post-secondary education. Participants in the program are placed in a job and receive professional development, financial education, and mentoring. Eligible youth also have access to an Individual Development Account (IDA) where up to $500 in savings will be matched 8:1 with a combination of city, private and federal dollars, for a total of $4,500. Participants can use the funds for any eligible educational expenses.

Norfolk Councilmember Andria McClellan’s Resilient Zoning Code for a Coastal Community idea won in the Securing our Communities and our Planet category, which includes ideas for states, cities, and regions to address climate change. Her city’s project created the most resilient zoning code in the nation to reduce future risks to the built environment. The new zoning code includes elevated building requirements, additional landscaping and open space, and a Resilient Quotient — a point-based system for new development to mitigate risk and support sustainable practices.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon’s West Sacramento On-Demand: Mobility for All program won in the Empowering Disadvantaged Populations category, which includes ideas that ensure people facing systemic obstacles have a fair shot to contribute and thrive. His initiative is a first-of-its-kind microtransit service that fills the gap between ride-sharing and traditional busses to serve all members of his community, including youth, seniors, and the disabled, at a low, flat rate. The city has used local Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds to partner with Via and deploy rideshare as a public transportation option. Ridership now exceeds 10,000 monthly.

Providence Councilmember Nirva LaFortune’s Transit Corridor Opportunity Program (TCOP) won in the Rebuilding Community category, which includes ideas that effectively and efficiently solve problems and engage people in civic society. Her program promotes arts and culture, workforce development, productivity, economic opportunity, accessibility, and access to affordable housing in key corridors around public transportation. TCOP recognizes the need for systemic solutions to revitalizing neighborhoods by addressing access to reliable transportation, affordable housing production, employment opportunity, and a ready workforce.

NewDEAL Welcomes Fall 2019 Class

The NewDEAL is proud to introduce you to the Fall 2019 Class of NewDEAL Leaders, and to congratulate them on being selected to join the NewDEAL network of exceptional, rising, pro-growth progressive state and local leaders — 181 state and local elected leaders in 47 states.

“While much of the political world is focused on the balance of power in D.C., we must also remember the tremendous impact that innovative state and local officials have on enacting policies that meet the demands of a changing world and expand opportunity for all,” said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Honorary Co-Chairs of NewDEAL. “Supporting the rising leaders in the NewDEAL has never been more important.”

We hope you’ll take a moment today to welcome the NewDEAL Fall Class to the network on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

Thank you for your continued support and engagement as we work together to promote leaders and ideas to grow the economy and expand opportunity for all!

Raumesh Akbari

Raumesh Akbari

(Memphis, TN)

Stacie Anderson

Stacie Anderson

(Missoula, MT)

Lacey Beaty

Lacey Beaty

Council President
(Beaverton, OR)

Taylor Berlin

Taylor Berlin

ANC Commissioner
(Washington, DC)

Ashton Wheeler Clemmons

Ashton Wheeler Clemmons

(Guilford, NC)

Hollie Cost

Hollie Cost

(Montevallo, AL)

Molly Cowan

Molly Cowan

Vice Chair of the Select Board
(Exeter, NH)

Luke Fuszard

Luke Fuszard

(Middleton, WI)

Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

(Denver, CO)

Francisco Heredia

Francisco Heredia

(Mesa, AZ)

Nima Kulkarni

Nima Kulkarni

(Louisville, KY)

Natalia Macker

Natalia Macker

County Commission Chair
(Teton County, WY)

Mari Manoogian

Mari Manoogian

(Birmingham, MI)

Jennifer McClellan

Jennifer McClellan

(Richmond, VA)

Keith Powers

Keith Powers

(New York, NY)

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