Grant Reeher

Host, The Campbell Conversations

Grant Reeher is Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and a professor of political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is also creator, host and program director of “The Campbell Conversations” on WRVO, a weekly regional public affairs program featuring extended in-depth interviews with regional and national writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals.

Grant’s research and teaching interests are primarily in American politics and political theory, with an emphasis on legislative politics, democratic representation, and active citizenship. Among other books, he is the author of “First Person Political: Legislative Life and the Meaning of Public Service,” “Narratives of Justice: Legislators’ Beliefs about Distributive Fairness,” co-author of “Click on Democracy: The Internet's Power to Change Political Apathy into Civic Action,” and co-editor of “The Trusted Leader: Building the Relationships that Make Government Work.” His academic journal publications include pieces in Health Affairs; Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law; The Responsive Community; Polity; and PS: Political Science and Politics. He has also published many editorial essays on various political topics, including pieces in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Ottawa Citizen, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and pieces that have been distributed through Knight-Ridder.

At various points he has been a regular columnist for The Syracuse Post-Standard. He has also been quoted in many newspaper stories, including pieces appearing in The New York Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, Salon, Newsday, and Roll Call. Grant is a 1982 graduate of Dartmouth College, and earned his Ph.D. in 1992 from Yale University.

Ways to Connect

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The Medicaid program was at the center of Obamacare's expansion of health insurance coverage, and the political and legal controversy that followed its passage. It's now seen by many to be at risk in an era of potential social welfare cutbacks. This week, we're joined Jamila Michener, an expert on Medicaid, who has written a book on the subject.

Interview highlights

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum in northern New York, is gearing up for a deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Fort Drum's Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, about the Division's upcoming mission to Iraq, and his own experiences there.

Interview highlights

Tax Policy Center

The new tax law is the single biggest accomplishment of the Trump Administration thus far, and it has significant ramifications for our economy and our personal finances. In a two part series, Grant Reeher talks with tax policy expert Len Burman, co-founder of the Tax Policy Center in Washington D.C. 

What role does the arts play in economic development? is it a second priority behind tech and brick and mortar, or does it need to be a first priority? How can art help bring different communities together and lift economically depressed areas? This week on the Campbell Conversations, we talk with two Syracuse-area arts advocates, Steve Butler and Rita Paniagua, about those questions.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The new tax law is the most significant piece of legislation to come out of the Trump Administration so far, but the Republican congressional delegation from New York was split on it. North Country Republican Elise Stefanik (R-Wilsboro) voted against the plan, saying it didn't do enough to preserve state and local tax deductions, which the final bill capped at $10,000.

WRVO News

The Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight Democratic state senators who operate in a coalition with Republicans in the state Senate, has come under increasing criticism by Democrats in the Senate, and across the state. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with state Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida), a member of the IDC.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

On November 7, voters in the city of Syracuse did something they hadn't done since 1913: elect an independent mayor. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh. They discuss Walsh's transition, his priorities for the new administration, the relationship between national and local politics, and what he learned on the campaign trail. 

The nation's politics seem to be seem to be at some kind of crossroads. Both parties are engaged in internal strife and self-examination. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Matt Bennett, from the Washington think tank Third Way. They discuss what's driving these internal party conflicts, and how they might be resolved. 

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The question of just what happened in the 2016 presidential election continues to absorb political pundits and haunt the Democratic Party. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Jonathan Allen and Amy Parnes, co-authors of the bestselling book "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." We'll take a look back at the election and what it might mean going forward.  

August 6, 1945 will never be forgotten. But Keiko Ogura, who survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan that day, wants to make sure the lessons it teaches us about nuclear war remain as vivid as possible. Ogura has devoted her life to that mission. This week on the Campbell Conversations, a conversation with Keiko Ogura.

On November 7th, voters in Syracuse will choose a new mayor. Stephanie Miner has served in that role for the last 8 years and ends her final term at the end of this year. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Miner about her time as mayor, her accomplishments, what she would do differently if given the chance, and more.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The race for mayor and the choice of whether or not to hold a constitutional convention have dominated the political headlines in Syracuse, but there are other important decisions facing voters in this November's election. Among them, are two at-large seats that are up for grabs on the Syracuse Common Council. This week, Grant Reeher talks with the four candidates vying for those two spots, Democrat Tim Rudd, Democrat Khalid Bey, Republican Norm Snyder and Green Party candidate Frank Cetera. 

WRVO News

When a national tragedy occurs, we often head for the nearest radio or television to get the latest news. That happened this week, when a gunman shot and killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others during a country music concert in Las Vegas. 

Earlier this month, Juanita Perez Williams defeated two other candidates to become the Democratic nominee in the race for mayor of Syracuse, picking up more than 50 percent of the vote. She now moves on to the general election in November, where she faces three other candidates. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Perez Williams about her campaign and some of the issues facing city residents.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

On the ballot in New York this Election Day, is a referendum on whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention. If approved, the entire state government structure could be up for reform, or even up for grabs. 

WRVO News File Photo

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) has been publicly considering a challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018. Could an upstate Republican stand a chance against a downstate Democrat in a state with a 2-to-1 Democratic advantage? DeFransisco joins host Grant Reeher this week to consider how it could be done and what it could mean for New York.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

On September 12, Democrats in Syracuse will vote in a primary and will choose who they want to be their candidate in the race to be Syracuse's next mayor. Juanita Perez Williams, Joe Nicoletti and Marty Masterpole are running in that primary. The winner will be on the Democratic Party line in an already crowded election field, which includes Republican Laura Lavine, Howie Hawkins from the Green Party, and Ben Walsh on the Upstate Jobs Party line. This week, the three Democrats sat down with host Grant Reeher for a debate that covers a number of issues facing the city. 

WRVO News

Can local governments in New York better share the services they provide in order to improve quality and to save taxpayer dollars? A provision in this year's state budget calls for counties to develop proposals for greater sharing of services. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, about the process of sharing services across municipalities.

WRVO News

One of the bright spots in the recent history of the city of Syracuse has been the redevelopment of parts of the city's downtown area. One of the primary movers of that revitalization has been Robert Doucette. This week, Doucette joins Grant Reeher to discuss the city, economic development, and the replacement of Interstate 81 through downtown.

WRVO News File Photo

This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with State Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse). They discuss how this year's legislative session worked out, the tendency for governors to wrap legislation into the annual budget, ethics and public confidence in government, as well as the Syracuse mayoral race. 

WRVO News

Syracuse has some of the most concentrated poverty in the nation. It has also experienced a long term decline of its economic base: manufacturing. What is the city's work climate? This week on the Campbell Conversations, we're joined by the two co-chairs of a recent report by the Onondaga Citizens League, titled "How CNY Works," Melissa Menon and Craig French. Menon is the Talent/Community Engagement Manager at DARCO Manufacturing.

WRVO News

Last Month, NPR and PBS aired reports on two federal programs for low income housing, the low income housing tax credit program and Section 8 housing vouchers. The reports uncovered many shortcomings. This week, we explore how these programs are working in the Syracuse area. We're joined by Paul Driscoll, commissioner of Syracuse's Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, and Stephanie Pasquale, the department's deputy commissioner.  

WRVO News

Can a Republican candidate still be competitive in the heavily Democratic city of Syracuse? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Laura Lavine, the Republican candidate for mayor. Lavine has never run for political office, and most recently served superintendent of the LaFayette School District. They discuss her approach to leadership, and some of her more specific policy ideas  for the city, as well as the politics of running from the minority party.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Howie Hawkins has run for many local, regional, and statewide offices. This year he has thrown his hat in the ring again, as Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor. Many of the ideas he has championed in the past have ultimately been taken up by Democrats, and some have been turned into law—but could this be the election where he will have a more direct say on future policy? Hawkins joins host Grant Reeher on this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations.

WRVO News

If there was ever a year that an independent candidate might stand a chance of election in a local race, this is it.  Dissatisfaction with the two parties and with politics as usual is at a high-water mark.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher speaks with independent Syracuse mayoral candidate Ben Walsh.  The two discuss the issues facing the city, where leadership of the city has gone right and wrong in recent years, and why Walsh is an independent rather than a Republican, like his father and grandfather.

WRVO News (file photo)

In recent years, a number of police shootings of African-American citizens has prompted protests and sharpened the political divide. Could these shootings be a product of newer trends and the way police are trained in a post-9/11 world? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with journalist Steve Featherstone, whose recent article on the topic appeared in the New Republic.

The Campbell Conversations / WRVO News File Photo

The principal recommendation of the final report of the Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization is to establish a new municipal form of government for Onondaga County, with a single executive and a 33-seat legislature. There has been much debate on the issue, including a recent debate on the issue at Syracuse University's Maxwell School. 

Seamus Kirst has written a raw and revealing new memoir about his struggles with addiction, sexual identity, and mental health.  The book, Sh*tfaced: Musings of a Former Drunk, also contains an equally unvarnished foreword by his father, the writer Sean Kirst.  

The principal recommendation of the final report of the Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization is to establish a new municipal form of government for Onondaga County, with a single executive and a 33-seat legislature. While public forums and town hall meetings have been held to discuss the report, and the proposal has been both criticized and defended in the media, missing is a direct exchange between opposing views, with opportunities for challenge and rebuttal.

WRVO Public Media

Richard Hanna spent six years in Congress, representing New York's 22nd Congressional District. He did not run for reelection in 2016, and was replaced by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford). He often voted against his Republican colleagues in the House, and even supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. This week, he talks with Grant Reeher about the state of politics today, his own political future, and more. 

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