Posted by Bridge Alliance on April 23, 2018
Michael Smerconish is one of the most influential independent political commentators in the nation. He is an accomplished author, hosts the daily Michael Smerconish Program on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel (124), and hosts Smerconish every Saturday on CNN. He also has 166k followers on Twitter.
Posted by Bridge Alliance on April 15, 2018
We only have ten days until the kickoff of the National Week of Conversation (NWOC) -- a project of Bridge Alliance Education Fund. Our NWOC partners and member organizations are hosting conversations (literally) across the country, and we’re still adding more events.
Posted by Bridge Alliance Education Fund on April 04, 2018
The National Week of Conversation (NWOC), a project of Bridge Alliance Education Fund, doesn’t start until April 20th, but we don’t feel like waiting. We want to get the conversation started! And what better way to do that then by listening to one of the leaders of civil conversation, Ms. Joan Blades of Living Room Conversations?
Posted by Bridge Alliance on March 28, 2018
If you didn’t know already, the National Week of Conversation (NWOC), a project of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, is a first-of-its-kind national event. It begins on April 20th with Listen First in Charlottesville, where dozens of local and national leaders (ranging from former Tea Party leader Matt Kibbe to Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome) will come together to heal and discuss their differences using the #ListenFirst framework. NWOC then continues until April 28th.
Posted by Bridge Alliance on March 23, 2018
The Bridge Alliance would not exist without Debilyn Molineaux. Her relentless commitment to collaboration is the lifeblood of our organization and keeps us focused on our shared goal -- to reintroduce civility to American politics and revitalize our democracy.
It’s that passion that brought her to the stage at the Unrig the System Summit (presented by member organization Represent.Us). There, she discussed how politics is sold to us through manipulation in the same way that we are sold consumer products, and why we need to band together to break free from that manipulation. It is her passion that inspired Debilyn to write an article for IVN.us on the need for dialogue and a mutually created positive vision for our nation’s future.
Posted by Bridge Alliance on March 16, 2018
One of our central missions at the Bridge Alliance is to raise the collective visibility of our member organizations. A clear majority of Americans are unhappy with the status quo and believe that our nation is headed in the wrong direction, yet many are not aware of the concrete actions and successes of the 83 members of the Bridge Alliance. At Bridge Alliance, we want to fix that and bridge (no pun intended) the information gap.
Posted by Bridge Alliance on March 09, 2018
We are excited to inform you of the release of American Creed -- an hour and a half long PBS Special about "the stories of a range of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise across deep divides." Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy are the stars of this film, which features two Bridge Alliance member organizations -- Citizen University and Living Room Conversations. You can read more about the film here, and you can watch the film here.
Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 28, 2018
On Friday, February 23rd, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) announced the finalists for the first ever Democracy Awards (the award ceremony will take place on July 12, 2018). In an era of partisan gridlock, the Bridge Alliance is proud to be the Founding Partner of the Democracy Awards, which recognize the incredible non-legislative achievements and performances of congressional offices and Members of Congress. The awards are divided into five categories:
Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 19, 2018
Bridge Alliance-supported legislation in New Mexico closes the door on unverifiable campaign contributions and foreign money
The "credit card loophole" is a gap in our campaign finance laws that allows individuals -- including foreign sources -- to make anonymous donations to political campaigns using untraceable prepaid credit cards. Individuals can use the loophole to mask their identity and evade contribution limits. You can read more about the loophole on Bridge Alliance member Take Back Our Republic's website.
This past Tuesday, the New Mexico State legislature unanimously passed a bill (SB 50) that closes the credit card loophole at the state level. Remarkably, that vote took place just five days after it was messaged by Governor Susana Martinez, passing through both the Senate and House. SB 50 now goes back to Governor Martinez for her signature to turn it into law.
SB 50 adds a necessary layer of security and integrity to the state’s campaign finance laws.
We are excited to report that the Bridge Alliance's Director of Development Doug Nickle played a key role in championing this bill and shepherding it through the New Mexico legislature. His account of the process is below:
"My role in SB 50 started when I testified in front of the Courts, Corrections and Justice interim committee last summer, in my capacity at Take Back our Republic. I spoke on a range of campaign finance related issues.
The eventual sponsors of the bill, Senator Cisco McSorley (D), and Representatives Bill Rehm (R) and Jim Dines (R) focused on the online credit card campaign contribution loophole and requested more information. Over the next couple of months, I worked with Dare To Be United’s National Programs Director, Joe Livoti, to draft proposed legislation.
Senator McSorley took the lead and filed what ended up becoming SB 50. Leading up to the short legislative session, Common Cause New Mexico was extremely diligent in promoting SB 50 as the common sense, nonpartisan campaign finance reform that it is. Additionally, we received tremendous support and guidance from New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver and her staff, who are keenly focused on election transparency and disclosure issues.
Here is the fiscal impact report on SB 50, which is a concise summary of the intent and scope of the bill.
The week before the Unrig Summit, I contacted Governor Susana Martinez's office to see if she planned to send SB 50 to the legislature. I didn’t hear anything back, so on Feb. 6th, I reached out to her office and connected with her Director of Policy, Brad Galbraith. Brad was very engaging; he listened and asked a lot of insightful questions about the credit card loophole and how SB 50 would address it.
Two days later, on Feb. 8th, Governor Martinez messaged the bill! On Friday the 9th, I testified in front of the Senate Judiciary committee- with supporting commentary from Common Cause New Mexico and Secretary of State Toulouse-Oliver- where SB 50 passed unanimously. It was voted on and passed on the Senate floor on Monday the 12th (I was the “expert witness”), and then assigned to the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs committee on Tuesday morning the 13th, where it passed unanimously (additional supportive commentary from Common Cause New Mexico and SOS Chief of Staff John Blair).
SB 50 was added to the House supplemental calendar, and on Tuesday night it passed on the House floor. I was again the “expert witness,” but as was the case with Senator McSorley in the Senate, Reps. Rehm and Dines provided their own expertise and intelligent command of this issue.
This process was an astoundingly successful collaborative effort. Fundamental, rainmaking contributions came from my colleague Joe Livoti of Dare To Be United, Heather Ferguson of Common Cause New Mexico, and the team at Take Back Our Republic.
Further- and proof that our representative democracy can work efficiently if we engage as citizens- we owe gratitude to the bipartisan spirit and leadership of Senator McSorley, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Representative Rehm and Representative Dines, and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver and her staff. It was a hugely successful bipartisan collaboration, linking the commitment and good will of reformers and elected officials."
We would like to congratulate Doug on this success and take a moment to note the significant results that can be achieved through collaboration. The Bridge Alliance was founded on the principle that we can achieve much more together than any one of us can achieve on our own, and SB 50 is a great example of that philosophy in action. We look forward to working with all of our member organizations to achieve many more successes in all areas of political reform throughout 2018 and beyond.
Bridge Alliance Members in the News:
Issue One - Newsweek
POGO - The Daily Caller
Democracy Works - JHU Newsletter
Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 16, 2018
Bridge Alliance member Represent.US hosted the Unrig the System Summit in New Orleans from February 2-4. Many Bridge Alliance members were at the summit -- and we wanted to share a little of our experience. If you were there, please share your story (and pictures!) with us, too.
David Nevins (President & Co-Director)
What I remember most from the Unrig Summit is the growing recognition amongst the many reform leader participants, representing all types of reform organizations, that if they are to have the impact that we all desire, we must move out of our silos and work together for common good, even when we have different policy solutions in mind.
The common theme expressed repeatedly was the need to take solutions-oriented action now because of and despite a political environment that is deteriorating with every passing day. The feeling that our work is essential was combined with a deep desire to to develop a message or narrative that will resonate deeply with ordinary citizens, academics, and journalists alike.
I also heard many people expressing their desire for a solid network to build a shared identity, raise visibility, and strengthen and expand America’s dedication to collaborative civic problem solving and collaborative public policy innovation. I left with a sense of confidence and renewed determination that Bridge Alliance will fill an important role in saving our democratic republic by providing the leadership, the shared identity, the shared narrative, and the support to enable our membership to strengthen our democracy by restoring Citizens to their proper role in making government more responsive to them.