Campbell Conversations

In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher continues the discussion with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.  The governor frankly describes the political challenges he's encountered as governor, and the effects of his party switch after being elected.  He also discussed his state's relatively smooth roll-out of Obamacare, and his political future. 

In the first of two-part interview, Grant Reeher discusses the current level of conflict and polarization between the two parties with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.  Chafee is particularly well-suited as an observer of this problem--when in the U.S. Senate he was known as a moderate Republican.  He left the party following his service there, and successfully ran for governor as an independent.  He's now a Democrat.

Domestic abuse and sexual violence are complicated social problems that many people find difficult even to talk about.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher has a frank and open discussion with Vera House executive director Randi Bregman, about the nature of the problems, the best ways to address them, and the personal experience of working with the victims.

February is Black History Month, but in this edition of the Campbell Conversations, humorist Larry Wilmore explains why he’d rather African-Americans got casinos instead of the celebration—which is also the title of his recent book.  The writer and performer also discusses his experiences as the “senior black correspondent” for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The American population is rapidly aging, and this has enormous implications for our health care system.  Among other challenges, there are fewer workers contributing to Medicare and Medicaid, relative to the population using those programs.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Geriatric specialist Dr. Sharon Brangman about the trends in aging, the special health care needs of the elderly, and the ways that our medical system does, and does not, respond to them. 

Advocacy groups are encouraged by recent statements made by the co-chairman of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission, who says he now favors public financing of political campaigns.

Syracuse-area Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is the co-chairman of Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, and says he has become a convert to using public funds to finance political campaigns.

The Moreland Act Commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is releasing a preliminary report on public corruption in a few weeks. The commission is charged with investigating corruption in state governmental agencies, and has already gone after the state Board of Elections and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or J-COPE, at recent public hearings.

During an interview with Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, commission co-chairman and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says the commission's investigation has uncovered criminal activity.

Three candidates running for Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large in a September primary joined Grant Reheer's Campbell Conversation to talk about the role of the city's legislative branch of government.

"The land next to heaven."

That's the way Lopez Lomong describes his love for and thanks to this country for the opportunities it has afforded him.

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.

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 (

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.

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.

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.

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. 

When we think about China these days, its emergent international economic power dominates most of our attention, but how are economics and changing demographics affecting the Chinese culture?  In this Campbell Conversation, Bill Jankowiak, an anthropology professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and an expert on Chinese culture, discusses the cultural paradoxes and tensions that economic growth and the rise of individualism have created for this society.  Jankowiak is a particular expert on Chinese youth culture, and he also describes how that culture is changing, and how those chang

Public trust in government—especially the federal government—is at a modern all-time low point.  What are the biggest challenges to a well-run government?  What are the best ideas for improving it?  Which government agencies are particularly well-run, and which not so well-run?  As the Managing Director of the Strategic Issues Team at the U.S.

If, like many Americans, you’re worried about the future of Medicare, you’ll want to listen closely to this conversation about the program and the contentious politics surrounding it.  In a very information-rich interview, nationally recognized expert and University of North Carolina professor Jonathan Oberlander breaks down the elements of Medicare, the different proposals to change it, and explains why this huge—and popular—government program has become such a political lightning rod in recent years.  He also prognosticates about different possible futures in terms of Medicare’s structure

In this week’s segment, the Campbell Conversations returns to the upcoming November elections, with a discussion among six of the nine candidates for State Supreme Court Justice in the six-county fifth judicial district—a district that encompasses much of WRVO’s listening area.  This program is presented on-air in two parts. Part one on Friday, and the second Saturday. The audio available here is the entire hour long discussion.