Caroline Cunningham of the Trust for the National Mall
Posted Nov 16, 2014
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The National Mall is America's front yard. Caroline Cunningham of the Trust for the National Mall discusses ongoing efforts to restore and preserve this national treasure. Visit the Trust for the National Mall on the web at www.NationalMall.org
Children’s Advocacy Centers are available to approximately 4 in every 5 U.S. children, yet over 13 million children are living in areas without a CAC. Teresa Huizar, Director of the National Children’s Alliance shares a conversation on the role advocacy centers play in helping children heal from abuse.
"In an effort to boost its economy, a 2012 tax experiment resulted in the state of Kansas being faced with financial challenges. Revenues diminished and the economy grew more slowly than in neighboring states and the country as a whole. Representative Jim Ward, Kansas House Democratic leader shares how a collaborative effort resulted in setting the state on the right path to a better financial future.
Interview recorded November 30, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: Facing economic peril, lawmakers in the Kansas state legislature set aside political differences to restore The Sunflower State's financial health. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Robert Traynham. Joining me is Kansas House democratic leader, Representative Jim Ward, who is also on the front lines of the bipartisan effort. Representative Ward is also a 2017 Governing magazine Public Official of the Year honoree. Welcome to the program, sir, and congratulations.
Ward: Thank you. I'm excited to be here.
Traynham: So, let's talk about the elephant in the room. And that is, is that the state that you represent was going through, or is going through, some financial challenges. But it appears, from based on what I've read, is that you and your Republican colleagues have come together to try to solve the problem. Walk us through.
Ward: Okay. Kansas tried a fairly radical tax experiment that took 330,000 people off the income tax rolls in the state, and lowered tax rates to a very rock-bottom rate. It had devastating effects. It was fiscally irresponsible, it was fundamentally unfair, and it devastated essential services. We had three credit downgradings, we were $1 billion in the hole every year, which isn't a lot for Washington, but for a budget of $6 billion, that's a huge amount of money. So, over the last few years, Kansans, through their votes, have indicated they wanted a change. This year, what we were able to do through -- all Democrats don't think alike, all Republicans, whether they be moderates or conservatives, don't think alike. So, there was a process that we were able to repeal and reform that.
Traynham: Yeah, let's talk about the process. That was, I assume, a bipartisan effort to come together to figure this out for the greater good, if you will. Can you walk us through that process Can you walk us through how -- I'm making this part up -- Republicans and Democrats rolled up their sleeves and said, ""Look, we have to figure this out and put partisan interests aside for the good of the state""
Ward: It started with the first part of that, which is, most of the people who came to Topeka in January of this year knew we had to make some changes. The state was in a fiscal crisis. We didn't put partisanship aside totally. There was some rough parts. 'Cause, like I said, everybody doesn't agree. We had to work through those disagreements, and we were able to do that in a way that made people feel comfortable they weren't betraying political principles or values, but still got a job done. And I think what makes this -- This proves that democracy can work, that the voters picked people, sent them to do a job, and those people, while disagreeing, did the job. "
Twenty years ago, only four percent of Fortune 500 companies had any kind of protection for LGBT people. Today, only about four percent don't have those protections. Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates reflects on the work she and her organization have done over the past two decades and the work yet to be done for LGBT Equality. Click here for part 1 of Journey to Workplace Equality.
Visit Out and Equal on the web, on Facebook or follow on Twitter.
Interview recorded on May 17, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham. Part 1 of 2.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: Selisse, when you go to company to company, has it been your experience that it's just ignorance, that mainly H.R. individuals do not know, or do you think there is an inherent discrimination, or was inherent discrimination, that they needed to be educated on, or both
Berry: A little of both. But it was interesting, as soon as we started bringing LGBT employees together, it was LGBT employees that really went back to their company, met with H.R., met with their diversity folks, and began that conversation about, "Look at, you know, how this is not equal pay for equal work if my colleagues, who can get married and I can't, if I'm not getting paid the same way." And so people didn't just say it's the right thing to do, but it was also made a business case for why it was important, because there's a war on talent and there's -- we don't want to exclude a significant part of the population simply because they're LGBT.
Traynham: About how many states actually have discrimination law still on the books Do you know
Berry: Well, there are 22 states that protect LGBT people.
Traynham: Okay. And so, clearly there's a lot of work still be done. Are you optimistic, over the next 20 years, two years, that perhaps the other states will, or perhaps maybe there's a federal law that would make this completely and totally legal, in terms of gay marriage
Berry: I'm absolutely optimistic. We've seen so much progress. When I started, "Don't ask, don't tell" was in place. People weren't able to serve openly in the military. People weren't able to be married. And so we've seen that progress over time. And so I'm very hopeful that an equality act will be passed that continues to protect us. And we still have to do the education to change hearts and minds.
Traynham: That's where I want to go next. I want to talk about the next chapter -- the next chapter for you but also the next chapter for the movement and also your legacy. What is next What is part of the chapter that is still yet to be written
Berry: Well, for Out & Equal, we work primarily with multinational companies. And the global perspective is so significant. We can now be married in 24 countries around the world. But in close to 80 countries, homosexuality is still illegal. We can be arrested, imprisoned, even killed in certain countries, again, simply because of who we love. And so our work is to help multinational companies not just roll their policies out here in the United States, but globally, and trying to make a change around the world.
Traynham: Let's talk about your legacy in the 45 seconds we have left. What are you most proud of
Berry: You know, we hold an annual conference every year -- the Out & Equal Workplace Summit. We have 4,500 people there from 35 countries around the world. It gives me goose bumps just to think about this.
Traynham: I can see the smile on your face clearly, and the pleasure that you're getting from this.
Berry: Yeah, absolutely. I feel really very proud of the work that we've done at Out & Equal.
Traynham: Are you finished
Berry: I'm not finished, no.
Traynham: What's next for you
Berry: You know, I'm going to take a little time off and look at all my options, and definitely still be involved in LGBT equality work.
Traynham: So, in other words, Selisse Berry, I hear that you're going to take it easy but you're not going to put your feet up and totally relax. because there's still a lot of work to be done.
Traynham: Well, thank you very much for all of your hard work and dedication. And we wish you nothing but the best.
Berry: Thank you, Robert.
Traynham: All right, Selisse Berry, the founder and CEO of Out & Equal. And thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I'm Robert Traynham.
"As women continue to lag behind men in attaining leadership positions, the need for more women leaders in communities increases. Lisa Bowman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of United Way Worldwide shares a discussion on her organization's efforts in empowering young girls and women through access to mentoring and leadership programs. Bringing powerful women leaders together can create a sustainable and strong community.