Campbell Conversations

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) joined Grant Reeher for this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations. Topics included his recent public forum in Oswego, the healthcare debate in Washington, President Trump's proposed federal budget, his own political future, and much more. 

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) joined Grant Reeher for this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations. In this preview, they talked about whether Katko has seen any political retribution for not backing President Donald Trump during the campaign, how House Speaker Paul Ryan is doing, and Katko's own political future. 

Note: Full audio and transcript of the interview will be available Saturday, April 8 at 6:00 a.m.

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Sean Kirst's stories about the people of Syracuse and the trials and tribulations of the area were a beloved feature of the local newspaper, and are still missed. Kirst has a new book out based on those columns, The Soul of Central New York. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Kirst to talk about the book, the news media and some of the challenges the city of Syracuse is facing.

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What's the best way for local governments to create wealth in their community? And why do local leaders regularly repeat the same mistakes making choices they think will create revenue, only to find they've created more costs? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Joe Minicozzi, the head of Urban 3, an economic development firm based in Asheville, North Carolina. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A nationwide protest movement applying pressure on lawmakers to resist President Donald Trump's agenda has reached central and northern New York. The coordinated campaigns are starting to target local members of congress by pressuring them to hold town hall meetings.

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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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