Campbell Conversations

Saturday at 6 a.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.

Every week Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University, leads a conversation with a notable guest. Guests include people from central New York - writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals whose work affects the public life of the community - as well as nationally-prominent figures visiting the region to talk about their work.

The Campbell Conversations are longer interviews which encourage the character of the interviewee to be exposed. This allows you to learn more about the person, how they got to where they are, and where they plan to go. Grant attempts to go beyond the usual press conference questions and sound bites, which usually accompany a discussion about his guests.

Podcasts of the show are available via iTunes.

If you have any questions about an episode or any comments for Grant, feel free to contact him by email at gdreeher@maxwell.syr.edu at your convenience.

See also:  The Campbell Debates

WRVO Public Media

Despite the rapid progress in the public acceptance of marriage equality, at least when compared with past civil rights struggles, same-sex marriage remains controversial, and some worry that it will weaken the institution of marriage itself.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher speaks with Princeton University Professor Stephen Macedo, author of a new book on marriage equality which argues that same-sex marriage not only strengthens the institution of marriage, it also strengthens the norm of monogamy and even bolsters the foundational values of democracy.

WRVO Public Media

This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher speaks with two researchers who believe they have discovered a productive way to talk to citizens about same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights issues.

WRVO Public Media

Last week on the program, we heard an argument supporting the Consensus Commission on Government Modernization's final report for Onondaga County, which among other things, recommends the merging of governments for the county and city of Syracuse. This week, we hear from two critics of the report, Rob Bick from the town of Clay and Howie Hawkins from the city of Syracuse.

WRVO News / File Photo

The final report of the Commission on Local Government Modernization, better known as Consensus, has generated controversy, in particular the recommendation to establish a new form of metropolitan government that would include both the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher is joined by CenterState CEO president Rob Simpson, who is an advocate of consolidation and was involved in the report.  They discuss the report’s main findings and to address the political challenges they face.

The Trump presidency has created some tensions within, and difficult moments for, the Republican Party, and raises questions about the party's political future. Joining Grant Reeher this week on the Campbell Conversations is John "Mac" Stipanovich, a longtime Republican strategist and a leader in the "Never Trump" movement.

WRVO News

President Trump’s pushback against sanctuary cities and the public reaction to his executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries are two national issues that have deeply touched the city of Syracuse. At the center of both of them has been the city’s mayor, Stephanie Miner, and this week on the Campbell Conversations she joins host Grant Reeher to discuss the issues, including the potential funding risks for the city and the role of refugees in the city’s history. She also discusses her own political future.

WRVO News

The decision on the replacement of I-81 will be one of the most important public policy junctures for the Syracuse region in a generation.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher is joined by two local public officials who see in this moment the opportunity for a wholesale renewal of the housing and real estate landscape surrounding the old highway, which could lead to a city-wide regeneration.  Andrew Maxwell is Director of policy and innovation for the city of Syracuse, and Bill Simmons is the Director of the Syracuse Housing Authority. 

WRVO News File Photo

As a first-term Member of Congress, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who represents New York's 24th Congressional District, often distanced himself from his more conservative Republican colleagues. And during his reelection campaign he disavowed Donald Trump.  Those positions will now be tested in a Republican House majority making major legislative changes under a Trump administration.  

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Republicans in Congress have been trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, since its inception. Now they have a president intent on doing the same.  But what has the ACA actually accomplished for the nation’s health, and what are the challenges involved in making significant changes to it? 

Maxwell School at Syracuse University

For many voters, one of the most eagerly anticipated changes from the new Trump administration is a significant tax cut.  What are the contours of the likely cuts, and how will they will affect the politics of other significant social policies, like Medicare and Social Security?  Could the cuts stimulate enough economic growth to pay for themselves?  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher is joined by a leading expert on tax policy, Len Burman, the director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban and Brookings Institutes.

Syracuse University

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many think we are suffering a crisis regarding our ability to converse publicly and remain civil, from the airwaves to the dinner table.

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In a Campbell Conversation recorded a couple weeks before the November election, host Grant Reeher sat down with Stanford professor Aliya Saperstein to talk about race and ethnicity in America.  Saperstein has written about how we perceive race and ethnicity in others, and how we view our own race and ethnicity.  The two also discuss inclusion and equality from a longer-term perspective.

WRVO Public Media

This week on the Campbell Conversations, Oswego County Clerk Michael Backus and Syracuse University professor Chris Faricy return to the program to discuss the November elections.  They were last on the program in February following the Iowa Caucuses.  They discuss the long, strange political trip since then, and the implications of a Trump presidency for a variety of policies and other national political institutions.  

WRVO Public Media

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is leaving Congress at the end of the year. This week on the Campbell Conversations, the three-term Congressman reflects on his time in Washington with host Grant Reeher. 

WRVO Public Media

American cities have been under great pressure, the city of Syracuse is 'exhibit A' of how poverty and infrastructure challenges can threaten their future. Earlier this year, Michael Nutter stepped down from the mayor’s office in Philadelphia, after serving two terms.  He managed to leave as one of the most respected mayors, and respected politicians of any kind, in the nation.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

With less than three weeks to go until Election Day, candidates for office around central and northern New York have been holding debates. The candidates running for the 24th Congressional District, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Democrat Colleen Deacon, sat down with WRVO for their first debate of the campaign.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

By now, most central New Yorkers have seen several political ads from both candidates running for the 24th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has criticized his Democratic opponent Colleen Deacon for what he calls a lack of knowledge of national and international security. Deacon has tried to tie Katko to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

In contrast to the hotly contested presidential and congressional contests, state level races in central New York are, for the most part, not races at all. There are few challengers.  One race where there is a challenger is the 127th State Assembly District, which pits incumbent Democrat Al Stirpe against Republican Vincent Giordano.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher moderates a debate between them, as they discuss education, government consolidation, economic development, and other issues.

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Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston has been following Donald Trump’s business career for decades.  So when Trump launched his campaign for president, he collected all his files and wrote The Making of Donald Trump.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher discusses the book with Johnston, and explores how his past business experiences might inform his behavi

This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher continues his conversation with Dean Strang, one of the defense attorneys for Steven Avery profiled in the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer.”  This week the two discuss the financials of criminal defense, and in particular the defense of the indigent.  They then turn to Strang’s book about a century-old case involving Italian anarchists and the famed criminal defense lawyer Clarence Darrow.

The Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer" made the Steven Avery murder case a cause célèbre and made public celebrities of his two defense attorneys. this week, Grant Reeher speaks with one of those attorneys, Dean Strang. They discuss the Avery case, and the broader lessons about the criminal justice system that it points to, as well as Strang's experiences taking part in the film. 

As Syracuse Stage prepares to open its new season, it’s also welcoming new leadership. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Jill Anderson, Syracuse Stage’s new Managing Director, and Bob Hupp, the new Artistic Director. They discuss the stage, and what place theater has in the community.

On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his conversations with candidates for New York's 22nd Congressional District seat, a seat made open by Rep. Richard Hanna's retirement.  This week he talks with Kim Myers, the Democratic candidate.  On a previous program, he spoke with Republican Claudia Tenney.  Analysts have rated the race a toss-up, and it offers a contrast of positions and styles. 

The New York State Fair takes place in Syracuse from August 25-September 5. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with the fair's acting director, Troy Waffner. They discuss the history of the fair, why it's located in Syracuse, the renovations that have taken place over the past year, and some of the things fairgoers can expect to see at this year's fair. 

WRVO News File Photo

Central New York promises to provide some competitive elections this fall. One of them is in the 22nd Congressional District, which covers parts of 8 counties across central New York, the Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier. That seat is open due to the retirement of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld).

We've heard a lot about infrastructure during this campaign season, and it's a perennial issue in central New York. This week on the Campbell Conversations, we're joined by Jack Kelly, who has written an intriguing new book on one of the biggest infrastructure projects in American history, and the biggest in upstate New York; the Erie Canal. Kelly’s book is called Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal. 

Poetry in America, and around the world, has undergone a lot of change in recent years.  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher provides a break from politics to speak with the Syracuse-based poet Christopher Citro, the author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy.  They discuss poetry’s recent history, new developments in poetry, Citro’s own approach toward writing, and poetry’s appreciation and fun.

In an instant, the Fukushima nuclear disaster changed the landscape and prospects for nuclear energy around the world.  But what’s happened since—how has the Fukushima area been rehabilitated, and how have returning residents dealt with the aftermath?  How lasting will Fukushima’s effects on nuclear power be, given concerns about global warming?  Joining host Grant Reeher this week on the Campbell Conversations is Steve Featherstone, a journalist who’s written recently for The New Republic on Fukushima a

Last November, the Great Law of Peace Center opened on Onondaga Lake, replacing the Ste. Marie Among the Iroquois exhibit.  The new center is focused on and driven by the history and culture of the Haudenosaunee and more specifically, the Onondaga Nation.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher is joined by Onondaga Nation Faith-keeper Oren Lyons, and Onondaga Historical Association executive director Gregg Tripoli to discuss the new center, the politics and negotiations involved in making the change, and the history of the Haudenosaunee and the Law of Peace.

Tom Fazzio

New York's 24th congressional district has changed party hands four times in the last four elections. The Democratic Party has targeted first-term Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) as someone it can beat this November in its quest to retake control of the House of Representatives.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues with a debate begun last week among the three Democratic candidates hoping to run against Katko under the Democratic banner.  The focus in this segment is on specific policy issues. 

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