Governor Markell Announces Winners of the NewDeal ‘New Ideas Challenge’

News Category: News Posts


National Judges Choose Winning Policy Solutions from Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Oregon State Rep Tobias Read, and Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld

For Immediate Release
December 3, 2014

Washington, D.C. Today at an awards ceremony in Washington DC, Governor Jack Markell, an honorary chair of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), announced the winners of the group’s New Ideas Challenge. NewDEAL is a national network of pro-growth progressive state and local elected officials working to expand opportunity in the changing economy. The winners --- whose policy solutions were chosen out of a competitive field of 60 submissions --are Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Oregon State Rep Tobias Read, and Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld.

The first ever New Ideas Challenge gives recognition to smart, pro-growth progressive solutions that are being developed and tested by state and local leaders all across the country. At a time of national gridlock, this network of leaders is offering innovative solutions from the front lines of government. All of the idea submissions are viewable at a new website unveiled today,

“Everyday, the pro-growth progressive leaders who are a part of the NewDEAL network are championing ideas to modernize government for the 21st century. These exceptional winners of the New Ideas Challenge have impressed us with innovative solutions to grow the economy and expand opportunity for all. I congratulate these results-oriented state and local leaders not only for the ideas they’re working on locally but also for the ripple effect they’ll create in communities across the country,” said Governor Jack Markell, Honorary Co-Chair of the New Ideas Challenge.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams won in the category of ‘Top Public Private Partnership.’ Knowing the impact that quality pre-kindergarten programs have, particularly in lower-income communities, Mayor McAdams is using Pay for Success Bonds, where private investors pay for the upfront costs of pre-school and get paid back if the programs succeed in saving taxpayers money from fewer at-risk kids using more expensive programs like special ed. This pay for success model gives government the tools to fund an ounce of evidence-based prevention on the front end out of cost savings on the back end—and can be applied to a variety of social services. “At a time of national gridlock, I’m proud that Salt Lake County is showing how—in a bipartisan way— we can solve problems, providing families with a game-changing opportunity for their children. Another important result is that we’re saving taxpayer dollars by partnering with both the private and the nonprofit sectors to fund this innovative initiative,” said Mayor McAdams.

In the category of ‘Expanding Opportunity for All’, St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones is recognized for her winning College Savings Program which would provide each child entering a public school kindergarten with a seed account of $50 for families to build on via financial incentives for good grades, attendance, and family participation in a financial wellness program. "We are thrilled to be selected as a winner of the NewDEAL New Ideas Challenge for our college savings account plan," said Treasurer Jones. "Studies show that children with college savings accounts are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college. I am determined to do whatever I can to help the children of St. Louis have access to post secondary education."

Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld won in the ‘Making Government Work Better’ category for his Town-Square Schools program which seeks to transform school facilities--which too often sit un-used--into round-the-clock neighborhood hubs that offer after-school programming, health resources, adult education, and recreational opportunities for students, their families, and the surrounding community. “Being part of NewDEAL has exposed me to some of the sharpest policy minds and most talented leaders from around the country, motivating me to elevate my own ideas for making government work and growing our economy,” Councilman Sittenfeld said. “It's a genuine honor to win NewDEAL's 'New Ideas Challenge', and further proof that pro-growth progressives are the right kind of leaders to get our country moving again.”

Oregon State Representative Tobias Read won in the category of ‘Growing the Economy for the Future.’ He is being recognized for his work with the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX), a partnership between Oregon, Washington, California, and British Columbia to help address their collective infrastructure gap. WCX is working to unlock private investment for public projects, share best practices, partner on smaller projects, and incorporate climate resilience. "There is no challenge so large that it can't be tackled through innovation, collaboration, and investment,” said Representative Read. “That's exactly what the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange and the New Ideas Challenge are all about. Infrastructure fuels our economy now and in the future, but every region in the country is struggling to finance necessary projects. I'm proud to join Governor Kitzhaber, Treasurer Wheeler and the other leaders of the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange in recognizing that by seeking innovative approaches and the involvement of the private sector in public infrastructure, we can stretch taxpayer dollars further and deliver better projects.”

"As a Governor and former Mayor, I know that the best ideas about moving our country forward often come from innovators on the front lines of state and local governments. I’m thrilled by the New Ideas Challenge and know it will stimulate the kind of fresh thinking we need. I’m impressed by these finalists, and am excited to see their ideas put into action,” said Governor O’Malley, Honorary NewDEAL Co-Chair.

These winners were chosen out of sixty submissions by an esteemed panel of judges who are thought leaders in the policy arena: Diana Carew, Senior Economist, Progressive Policy Institute; Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; Suzanne Nora Johnson, Vice Chair, Brookings Institution; Jim Kessler, Vice President, Third Way; Sonal Shah, Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation; and Andy Stern, former President Emeritus of SEIU.

More info about the NewDEAL can be found at