Special interests often use their influence to gain an unfair advantage at the expense of taxpayers, competitors, and consumers. Experts from the right and the left discuss the forms this behavior takes — and the best solutions to end it.
• Moderator: John Cerasuolo, CEO, ADS Security
• Speaker 1: Mark Cunningham, Director of Communications, Beacon Center of Tennessee
• Speaker 2: Debra Nutall, Natural Hair Stylist, Dee-Nut-All Braid Academy
• Speaker 3: Janne Flisrand, co-Founder, Neighbors for More Neighbors
• Speaker 4: Jeff Clements, President, American Promise
Is business an enemy or ally in the fight for a truly representative democracy? Most businesspeople understand that our unstable, ineffective political system hinders economic progress and competitiveness, and distracts from other challenges facing our country. Our broken political system isn’t just failing American citizens—it’s bad for American business, too. The business community can be a powerful ally in protecting democratic institutions by making the economic case for reform. This episode highlights why business interests and the public interest align when it comes to democracy reform.
• Moderator: Sarah Bonk, Founder, Business for America
• Speaker 1: MaryAnne Howland, Founder and CEO, Global Diversity Leadership Exchange
• Speaker 2: Elizabeth Doty, National Program Leader, Business for American Promise
• Speaker 3: Matt Patsky, CEO, Trillium Asset Management
How do you reform a system that you’ve benefited from? Is it possible to push forward meaningful change across the sharpest partisan divide in decades? This episode of Unrig the System features current and former members of Congress from across the aisle discussing the importance of democratic institutions and policies that ensure that all Americans are represented in government. Listen in on a candid conversation between sitting and former representatives about the opportunities and obstacles involved with fixing a broken system from the inside.
• Moderator: Meredith McGehee, Executive Director, Issue One
• Speaker 1: Rep. Tim Burchett, U.S. House of Representatives (R-TN)
• Speaker 2: Rep. Jim Cooper, U.S. House of Representatives (D-TN)
• Speaker 3: Former Rep. Zach Wamp, U.S. House of Representatives (R-TN)
The United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world and faces an unprecedented opioid epidemic. But how did we get here? For starters, the healthcare industry spent $337 million lobbying politicians in 2018 alone. This episode discusses the impact of this outsized influence everywhere—from cancer drugs that cost $400,000 a year to the 115 people a day who die needlessly from opioid overdoses. Money in politics rigs the healthcare system, but these panelists discuss solutions that could bring down prices and save lives.
• Moderator: Wendell Potter, Founder & President, Tarbell.org; Author, Nation on the Take
• Speaker 1: Richard Master, CEO, MCS Industries; Founder, Business Initiative for Health Policy
• Speaker 2: Juliana Keeping, Communications Director, Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, drug pricing activist, mom to Eli, 6, who lives with cystic fibrosis
• Speaker 3: Dr. Jessie Fields, National Spokesperson, Open Primaries
• Speaker 4: Emily Walden, Coalition Executive Chairperson, FED UP!
Voter suppression is a battery of tactics that protect the interests of the wealthiest among us and prevent working-class communities and communities of color from participating and having confidence in our democracy. In this episode, leaders of grassroots organizations share what they have learned in recent campaigns about the impact of big money in local and state politics. Centering racial equity in the fight against money in politics will protect voters and strengthen our democracy.
• Moderator: Dr. Carol Lautier, Senior Partnerships Manager, Demos
• Delvone Michael, Senior Political Strategist, Working Families Party
• Liz Dupee, Director, Washington Democracy Hub
• Charly Carter, Founder & Executive Director, Step Up Maryland
• Dwight Bullard, Political Director, New Florida Majority
• Andrea Serrano, Executive Director, OLÉ New Mexico
A more representative, less divisive system is within our grasp. This episode analyzes the causes of dysfunction in our current voting structure and how ranked choice voting (RCV) opens up opportunities for a more diverse set of viewpoints in the political process. This powerful conversation features advocates and leaders discussing why reforming the way we vote is crucial to restoring power to voters of all political stripes—and how to bring Americans into the fight for ranked choice voting and better elections.
• Moderator: Grace Ramsey, Former Director of Outreach, RepresentUs
• Speaker 1: Maria Perez, Campaigns Manager, Common Cause New Mexico
• Speaker 2: Alan Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners
• Speaker 3: Mike Griffin, Field & Strategy Consultant, FairVote Minnesota
• Speaker 4: Evan McMullin, Executive Director, Stand Up Republic
In this episode, inspiring leaders from across the political spectrum share what you can do to protect our planet from the outsized influence of the fossil fuel industry, which is spending top dollar lobbying Congress and stymieing federal reform. Americans face unprecedented environmental crises—intensifying hurricanes and wildfires, contaminated drinking water and air pollution, heat waves and polar vortexes, rising sea levels and drought have all become the new normal. These leading advocates and activists are working from the community to the congressional level to protect and preserve our planet.
• Moderator: Jamie Henn, Strategic Communications Director, 350.org
• Speaker 1: Aru Shiney-Ajay,Trainings Director, Sunrise Movement
• Speaker 2: Debbie Dooley, President, Conservatives for Energy Freedom
• Speaker 3: Michael Leon Guerrero, Executive Director, Labor Network for Sustainability
• Speaker 4: Nancy Metayer, Climate Justice Program Manager, The New Florida Majority
With the 2020 presidential cycle already underway, our political system remains haunted by barriers to participation and representation that uniquely afflict some of America’s most marginalized communities. From voter restoration to fortifying the right to vote, this episode discusses obstacles and opportunities that lie ahead for the movement for full political representation. This all-star lineup also outlines inspiring new efforts to preserve and expand the right to vote as the cornerstone of our democracy.
• Moderator: The Honorable Senator Nina Turner
• Speaker 1: Desmond Meade, Executive Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
• Speaker 2: Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director of Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
• Speaker 3: Caroline Fredrickson, President, American Constitution Society
• Speaker 4: Rosalind Gold, Chief Public Policy Officer, NALEO Educational Fund
Big money plagues our politics—and its impact on candidates is not equal. In this episode, top women leaders describe how money corrupts our election cycle, makes it more difficult for people at the intersection of one or more marginalized identities to run and win, and how fighting against money in politics will bring us closer to equal representation for all.
• Moderator: Cynthia Richie Terrell, Founder and Executive Director of RepresentWomen
• Speaker 1: Andrea Serrano, Executive Director, OLÉ New Mexico
• Speaker 2: The Honorable Kerry Healey, President, Babson College; Former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
• Speaker 3: Charly Carter, Founder, Step Up Maryland
• Speaker 4: The Honorable Ruth Buffalo, State Representative, North Dakota House of Representatives
In this episode, legal, policy, and grassroots advocates discuss why redistricting is so important, and where the fight to end gerrymandering is headed. In 2018, five states—Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah—all won historic gerrymandering reform with bipartisan support. With the recent Supreme Court ruling that partisan gerrymandering is an inherently political fight, and “beyond the reach” of any federal court, the strategy to fix gerrymandering starts and ends with the states
Facebook post that started a movement. A “People’s Veto” campaign that fought back against a legislature meddling with the will of the people. So many incredible stories of people power fighting back against rigged voting lines. With new congressional districts to be drawn in 2021—this episode will discuss this unprecedented year of reforms—and how we can “slay the gerrymander” once and for all.
• Moderator: Kathay Feng, National Redistricting Director, Common Cause
• Speaker 1: The Honorable Tim Burchett, U.S. House of Representatives (R-TN)
• Speaker 2: Paul Smith, Vice President, Litigation and Strategy, Campaign Legal Center
• Speaker 3: Katie Fahey, Executive Director, Voters Not Politicians (MI)
• Speaker 4: Kareem Crayton, Executive Director, Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Episode Three of Unrig the System Podcast discusses the impacts of the prison industrial complex—and bipartisan solutions for unrigging our criminal justice system.
Special interests exploit our corrupt political system to pad their bottom lines, maligning our criminal justice system and keeping Americans behind bars in the process. Now, an unresponsive Congress and a hardened Department of Justice have pushed the issue of criminal justice reform to the state and local levels. But exciting new bipartisan coalitions are pushing back, coming together on two particular high-impact reforms—overhauling our lobbying laws and changing how we choose state court judges—that can help redefine what’s possible for both the democracy and criminal justice communities.
• Moderator: DeRay Mckesson, Civil Rights Activist, Author, and Host of Pod Save the People; Campaign Zero
• Speaker 1: The Honorable Penny White, Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law; Former Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court
• Speaker 2: Julie Warren, Tennessee State Director, Right on Crime; Fellow, Beacon Center
• Speaker 3: Rev. Jeannie Alexander, Director, No Exceptions Prison Collective
• Speaker 4: Keshia Morris, Mass Incarceration & Census Project Manager, Common Cause
Episode Two of Unrig the System Podcast kicks off with a robust conversation about breaking big money’s grip on power amidst a crisis in confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court.
These panelists are an unrivaled group of experts and activists showing how new strategies—from candidate pledges to forego corporate cash or Super PAC support, to the full launch of the breakthrough “democracy vouchers” program—give us plenty of reasons to keep pushing the limits of what’s possible. We also hear first hand from the Chair of the FEC and explore the most important campaign finance legislation in congressional history. This is a panel about opportunity, about hope, and about you as the future of our movement.
• Moderator: Scott Greytak, Senior Counsel, RepresentUs
• Speaker 1: The Honorable Ellen Weintraub, Chair, Federal Election Commission
• Speaker 2: The Honorable Zach Wamp, former member of Congress (R-TN) and Co-Chair, Issue One ReFormers Caucus
• Speaker 3: Dan Tokaji, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
• Speaker 4: Liz Dupee, Director, Washington Democracy Hub
In this inaugural episode, we introduce Unrig Summit 2019 and give a sneak peek of what the podcast is all about. In our first panel—moderated by Academy Award-winning Actress and RepresentUs Board Member Jennifer Lawrence—you’ll be able to hear directly from the leaders of historic 2018 reform victories, why these policies change the game, and learn how you can become a part of the next wave of Unrigging the system.
• Moderator: Jennifer Lawrence, Academy Award-winning Actress; Board Member, RepresentUs
• Speaker 1: Katie Fahey, Executive Director, Voters Not Politicians
• Speaker 2: Desmond Meade, President, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
• Speaker 3: Catherine Kanter, Campaign Manager, Yes on Prop 4
• Speaker 4: Kyle Bailey, Committee for Ranked Choice Voting
• Speaker 5: Sean Nicholson, Campaign Director, Clean Missouri
• Speaker 6: Dina Butcher, Campaign Director & President, North Dakotans for Public Integrity