2019 Conference Breakouts

Session One

Thursday, November 21, 10:45-11:45 am


NewDEAL Forum Education Working Group Launch: Expanding Access to Quality Career & Technical Education

Room assignment: Ashlawn North, Ashlawn Level

The NewDEAL Forum is launching an Education Policy Group to make recommendations for state and local officials to address some of the major challenges facing K-12 public schools. Elected officials will work with policy experts and education community leaders to develop an agenda of practical steps that state and local governments can take, including with a focus on creating high-quality career pathway programs that ensure students graduate high school with the skills needed to succeed in post-secondary education and the workplace. 

During this session, NewDEAL Leaders and other partners will offer input into the recommendations the group should make regarding career pathway programs, and follow up on the discussion at this spring’s NewDEAL Ideas Summit about the other policy areas, including solutions and model programs, that the group should explore. The group will aim to produce an agenda of steps state and local policymakers can take to improve opportunities for students.

The discussion will be led by the co-chairs of the Education Policy Group, Mayor Chris Cabaldon (West Sacramento, CA) and Senator Elena Parent (Atlanta, GA), as well as Phillip Lovell, VP at the Alliance for Excellent Education, an organization with a long record of advocating for equity in education and that is partnering with the Forum on the Policy Group.


Expanding Access to Secure Voting

Room assignment: Ashlawn South, Ashlawn Level

One year from the 2020 general election, a story in Wired reported that “researchers and election integrity advocates continue to sound the alarm” that some of the most needed election security efforts cannot currently happen, while a lack of federal funding is hampering hopes for a secure vote. Meanwhile, concerns remain about the challenges that too many voters face in exercising the franchise. What are some of the most effective steps that leaders outside Washington can take to support a secure election and make voting as accessible as possible for all eligible citizens? Join this session for a conversation with Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and Sheila Nix, who leads Tusk Philanthropies’ efforts to dramatically increase voter turnout and participation in U.S. elections. 


Talking about Immigration

Room assignment: East Room, Ballroom Level

The last presidential election, and the subsequent controversies over the Trump Administration’s policies, have elevated immigration as a prominent and divisive issue in our politics. Meanwhile, questions around the DACA program and a president’s immigration powers are before the Supreme Court. As the next election approaches with the promise that President Trump will continue to try to exploit divisions over immigration, this session will explore ways Democrats can most effectively talk about this issue to appeal to the broadest possible range of Americans while adhering to their principals and opposing the President. Join former Michigan State Representative Steve Tobocman and Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council to address challenges and solutions around immigration messaging.


The Future of Recycling

Room assignment: West Room, Ballroom Level

The rise in opportunities for and technological innovations in recycling have produced proven environmental benefits, while creating many more jobs than landfilling. However, with China’s decision to stop accepting much of the world’s recyclable waste, along with increases in natural resource consumption, policymakers face major challenges in dealing with waste. Join Jules Bailey, a former state representative who now serves as Chief Stewardship Officer at the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative to discuss challenges and opportunities for leaders to maximize recycling’s impact and build more sustainable communities.


Session Two

Thursday, November 21, 2:15-3:15 pm


The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan: A Case Study in Making Progress on Water Policy

Room assignment: East Room, Ballroom Level

The rapidly growing effects of climate change mean increasing challenges dealing with water sources, from flood mitigation to drought management. This session will address options to adapt to and shape new realities through efforts like reversing groundwater depletion and promoting agricultural practices that conservation. Sue Brown from the Walton Conservation Coalition will lead this session. Co-leaders include Kevin Moran, an expert on these issues at the Environmental Defense Fund, who will specifically examine lessons from the drought contingency plan agreed to this year by seven Colorado River basin states and Mexico, and U.S. Representative Greg Stanton, a NewDEAL alum who was part of developing the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan as Mayor of Phoenix and led the effort for Congress and the Department of Interior to approve the plan.


Fostering Entrepreneurship

Room assignment: Ashlawn North, Ashlawn Level

While a minority of communities have experienced high levels of business growth since 2005, most counties have seen a reduction in firms. A recent report from the Kauffman Foundation notes that entrepreneurship levels remained effectively flat for 20 years, in part because women, people of color, and rural residents lack equal access to the tools needed to start new businesses. Kauffman’s Jason Wiens will lead a discussion on policy options to reverse these trends, joined by two NewDEAL Leaders -- Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Connecticut Representative Caroline Simmons -- who have pioneered effective programs to support small businesses and new entrepreneurs.


The Changing Nature of Employment

Room assignment: Ashlawn South, Ashlawn Level

The prominence of Americans working outside of traditional full-time employment to make ends meet, including for many gig economy companies, has put pressure on governments to adjust employee classification laws and has created debates about whether workers like app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors. A California Supreme Court decision, and subsequent state law (AB5), has created stricter requirements for employee classification and promises to have an impact far beyond the state’s borders.  This session will be led by Vikrum Aiyer of Postmates, and the founder of the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), Jim Conigliaro Jr., whose organization represents app-based drivers and fights for a fair for-hire vehicle industry. Over the last three years, the IDG became the first drivers’ group to successfully advocate for the country's first minimum wage  and basic worker protections within the rideshare industry.


Criminal Justice Reform

Room assignment: West Room, Ballroom Level

Momentum continues to build behind criminal justice reform, with states acting to ease sentencing requirements and support economic opportunity for ex-offenders, while the just-enacted federal First Step Act includes provisions to reduce penalties for non-violent drug offenses. However, the system remains both inequitable and extremely expensive. This session will be led by NewDEALers working on the next frontier of reforms for states and cities, including Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, Kansas District Attorney Charles Branson, and Shelby County, TN Mayor Lee Harris.

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