Campbell Conversations

Sundays at 6:00 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

Almost every November, voters are asked to make choices about judges, but they have almost no relevant information about how those judges will approach their jobs. Beyond knowing the candidates' party, citizens end up casting votes largely in the dark. And Family Court is perhaps the murkiest of all judicial positions.

Running in her first race for public office, Ursula Rozum is the Green Party candidate for Congress in New York's 24th district.  She's going up against the incumbent Republican Ann Marie Buerkle and Democratic challenger Dan Maffei.

Evolution has been at the front lines of some of our most heated political and cultural conflicts. Speaking with Grant Reeher, Reverend Michael Dowd, the author of "Thank God for Evolution," has staked his claim on the proposition that evolution and science need to be married to our religion- and he's an evangelist about that idea.

Last week on the Campbell Conversations, we heard Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner talk about the city's deep financial challenges, and also reflect on the Destiny USA saga.

In this week's continuation of the conversation, she discusses suburban and rural views of the city, the Say Yes program, and her relations with the city council. She also talks about her recent experiences as co-chair of the State Democratic Party, and the political futures of Andrew Cuomo, as well as herself.

In recent months Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has been an evangelist for fiscal sustainability and a clear-eyed look at the financial challenges facing the city. Before that she was a town crier regarding the Destiny project.

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A lecture on public responsibility by former senator, presidential candidate, and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley.

This lecture, hosted by Grant Reeher of the Campbell Conversations, took place on April 10, 2012 in the Maxwell Auditorium on the Syracuse University campus. The lecture series is presented by the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Feel free to visit their website for more information on this lecture and future lectures in the series.

Former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch has been called a Renaissance Man, and Mr. Fix-It.

He was intimately involved in the fiscal turnaround for New York City during the 1970s and 1980s, and in 2009 Governor Paterson named him as Lieutenant Governor in the hopes that he could improve the state’s budget process.

Now, he’s chairing Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s Municipal Financial Advisory Board, to advise the mayor on dealing with the city’s fiscal problems.

In New York, arguments over fairness in the funding of public education have been heated for a while. In the current age of austerity, the issue is even more complex—and pressing.

In this week’s Campbell Conversation, Michael Rebell, the executive director of Columbia University’s Campaign for Educational Equity, and a co-counsel in the state’s Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, discusses educational equity—and all that it requires from the educational and social welfare systems.

When the Manlius Swans had their eggs destroyed, there were numerous calls and letters demanding justice.

When 20-month-old Rashad Walker, Jr. was shot and killed in an apparent gang-related attack, there was silence.

What does this say about the state of gang violence in the Syracuse area, and the community's numbness - or fear - regarding it? Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick wrestles with this question, and also comments on some of the recent conflicts his office has had with other local public officials.

Bob Dougherty is new to politics, but in his first year on the Syracuse Common Council, he's been drinking from a fire hose.

Given the current political climate- both national and local- why did he choose now to become involved?

This material was created by the Center for American Progress (www.americanprogress.org)

Susan Thistlethwaite is a professor at the Chicago Theological Seminary, and an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. She's the author of "Dreaming of Eden" and the forthcoming "Occupy the Bible." In this conversation with Grant Reeher, she talks about her books, as well as the way that religion and politics intertwine.

Paul Roberts is an environmental journalist and the author of the widely acclaimed books "The End of Oil" and "The End of Food." In this conversation he relates the importance of a concept known as 'peak oil,' and considers possible bridge fuels to a new energy economy, including natural gas and nuclear power.

Jill Stein is the Green Party's nominee-apparent for President of the United States. In this conversations she outlines the party's main goals and message in its run for the White House.

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Michel Martin is host of NPR's Tell Me More program, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary on the air.  In this conversation, she tells how the show has evolved in its approach toward race, ethnicity, and diversity; what areas she'd like to see the show expand into in the future; the difference that radio can make in reporting a story and talking with people; and how the experience of doing the show has affected her.

Pittsburgh school teacher Phyllis Scherrer is the Vice Presidential nominee of the Socialist Equality Party.

Arther Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, a leading Washington-based conservative think tank, argues that conservatives need to reinvigorate their ethical and moral arguments in defense of free enterprise.

Grant Reeher at the Campbell Debate
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State lawmakers have passed their second straight on time budget. Speaking with Grant Reeher just before the budget passed, Syracuse area State Senator John DeFrancisco describes the budget process and discusses whether or not it has improved in recent years.

In their so-called retirement, Tom and Liz Brackett founded and now run an education non-profit, the Brackett Refugee Education Fund. In this conversation, they relate the story of how they decided to start this, how they approach and structure the work of their organization, and what inspires them to keep up the effort.

Marcus Matthews is the Resident Bishop for the Upper New York Area of the United Methodist Church. In this conversation he discusses the relationship between religion and politics, and how that relationship plays out in the Bishop's desire to see his churches have a greater presence and impact in their communities.

There are conflicts, and then there are conflicts.  Peter Coleman, director of the international center for cooperation and conflict resolution at Columbia University, has identified a category of our seemingly most intractable conflicts—the five percent—and has studied them systematically. 

He’s the author of The Five Percent:  Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts.  What leads individuals, groups, and even entire nations to fall into the five percent trap, and what can they do to get out of it?  Find out on this edition of the Campbell Conversations.

Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly were both in Syracuse this week to be sentenced for their part in the protests against the MQ-9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan, which are being flown remotely from Hancock Field. 

There is nothing more powerful than the truth.  That’s the faith that has sustained Tom Devine’s three-decade campaign to promote and protect whistleblowers in the corporate and governmental realms.

The Campbell Debate
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The Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University presents The Campbell Debates, a debate series on timely issues of public importance with a fresh, provocative format.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney works on the front lines of the "unfunded mandate" issue, a phrase we've been hearing with increasing frequency at all levels of political discussion.  What exactly is the problem with unfunded mandates? 

Perhaps no one is better suited to evaluate President Obama’s new investigative and prosecutorial unit on abuses in the mortgage industry than former governor and attorney general Eliot Spitzer.  As a prosecutor and attorney general, he was known for his aggressive pursuit of financial abuse; he warned us about the ultimate financial collapse; and he has written about these topics extensively since the crisis in 2008. 

What drives those who have invested their time in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and what message is at the movement's core? In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, three Syracuse activists who had been camping at the Occupy Syracuse site prior to being evicted by the city tell their stories and make their case.

It's an entirely political discussion on this week's Campbell Conversations, as Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle and political consultant Scott Armstrong consider the Republican presidential field in light of the Iowa Caucus results.  Among the questions they consider are:  What surprised them?  Is the party dangerously fractured as it heads toward the general election?  What could unite it?  Are the norms of the Republican Party changing in important ways?  Is Romney still the nominee apparent?  And what are the calculations about a vice presidential candidate at this point?

What made Upstate New York such a hotspot for the abolitionist and women’s rights movements?  Was it just geography, or was it something about the people who lived here?  Historian Judith Wellman, an expert on the Underground Railroad and the women’s rights movement in the 19th century, answers this question and offers other stores and information that illuminate this time period and counter some of the stereotypes we have about our region’s place in history.

Jim Greene is not an academic Dickens scholar, but he plays Dickens and runs the Dickens Christmas Festival in Skaneateles.  In this holiday version of the Campbell Conversations, he talks - often in the character of Dickens - about the meaning and the writing of "A Christmas Carol," the Christmas holidays, and his experiences in the town.  Given the stark portrayals of poverty in his writing, what would Dickens have made of the Occupy Wall Street Movement?  Here’s one person’s take.  All in all, the conversation contains holiday wisdom worthy of Dickens’s tale.

A little over 100 days ago, Sharon Contreras began her appointment as the superintendent of the Syracuse City School District.  She inherited deep challenges--low test scores and graduation rates, and an austere budget climate.  Following her "first 100 days" period of listening and assessment, she is issuing a strategic plan to improve the city's educational system. 

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