Robert Traynham

Robert Traynham is a respected political veteran and communications expert, who, for nearly two decades, has designed and executed impactful programs for elected leaders, political organizations and major corporations. Traynham is currently the vice president of communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), working with BPC’s policy experts to advance the organization’s mission to foster workable solutions for the important challenges facing the nation.

Throughout his career, Traynham has been a trusted counselor to political leaders and CEOs, including serving as senior advisor to congressional and presidential campaigns. He has earned the respect of his peers on both sides of the aisle as a savvy and effective strategist, spokesperson and crisis manager; and was frequently named as a top staffer by leading political publications.

Traynham previously served as Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Comcast Networks, where, during his eight-year tenure, Traynham established Comcast’s credibility in public affairs programming as host of Comcast Newsmakers and the Emmy®-nominated “Roll Call TV with Robert Traynham.” Today, Traynham continues to serve as host of the national edition of Comcast Newsmakers.

Prior to his career in media, Traynham was deputy chief of staff and communications director for the Senate Republican Conference, roles that made him the highest-ranking African-American Republican staffer in Congress. Before his service in leadership, Traynham spent several years as a senior aide and press secretary for former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Well-regarded by members of Congress and his colleagues alike, Traynham served as president of the U.S. Senate Press Secretaries Association and was regularly ranked as one of the most influential staff members in Congress. Traynham began his career in public service as a White House intern during the Clinton administration.

Drawing on his unique experiences and access, Traynham has been a frequent political analyst and commentator to TV, radio and print media outlets — including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, NPR, SiriusXM and the Philadelphia Tribune — providing insightful analysis on the American legislative process and the politics behind it.

A native of suburban Philadelphia, Traynham holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cheyney University. He earned his master’s degree in political communications from George Mason University and is a Ph.D. candidate studying presidential and Anglo-American history. He divides his time between Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts.

Videos hosted by Robert Traynham

Overburdened Renters

"Twenty-five million Americans pay more than half of their income to rent. A discussion with Ali Solis of Make Room on efforts to give a voice to America's working poor and work toward a collective solution to help our economy thrive. Interview recorded September 6, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham. Read a partial transcript of this interview below: Traynham:   11.4 million households in America spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities. And as the nation's population continues to grow, so will the number of overburdened renters. Hello, everyone and welcome to ""Comcast Newsmakers."" I'm Robert Traynham. Joining me is Ali Solis, president and CEO of Make Room. Ali, welcome to the program. It's always good to see you. Let me start off by stating the obvious -- More and more Americans feel squeezed. They're working harder for less, in terms of what they bring home. As I mentioned a few moments ago, a lot of people -- too many people -- are spending half -- half of their income on utilities and rent. How can this be Solis: That's right. This is a growing crisis in America, where we have 25 million Americans, eight million children, two million seniors impacted by this crisis. And they are, you know, paying, as you mentioned, more than half of their income to rent. And this is a problem that's growing. By 2025, we expect that we'll have 15 million households. Traynham: 15 million Solis: 15 million households, and that's assuming that we can keep pace with rising rents and address -- Traynham: Utilities. Solis: Exactly -- rising rents and utilities. Traynham: So, here is the magic question. How can we -- How do we address this So we know what the problem is. And what's interesting about this dilemma, I find, is that it's not that people are not working. They're working. They're contributing to society. But if they can't keep ends -- They can't make ends meet, what's the solution Solis: Yeah. Most of these families are working, often, two and three jobs just to make rent affordable. And the problem is not just one that we're seeing in big urban centers, like San Francisco or New York, but it's affecting small towns, small communities. I was just in Erie, Pennsylvania, a place where people wouldn't think that there was an affordable rental crisis, or Detroit, Michigan. So this is a challenge that's impacting communities big and small. Traynham: You know, Ali, I want to hit pause there for a second, 'cause I think this is really important to stress what you just said. This is not just a New York, San Francisco, Miami, you know, major metropolitan city issue. To your point, Erie, Pennsylvania, some of the rural areas in this country are also being affected by this. Solis: That's correct. Traynham: So let's talk a little bit about Make Room, specifically what do you do, and how can you help address this problem Solis: So, Make Room is a national organization whose purpose is to un-hide this human suffering that's happening behind closed doors for all of these millions of Americans. We're trying to give voice to a population that isn't necessarily well represented. They are the working poor in America. And so we are sharing their stories, and we are asking overburdened renters all across the country to join us through our digital platform to be able to have regular conversations with their policymakers at the local and federal levels. Traynham: So, you mentioned sharing stories, and for the folks that are watching this at home, or, perhaps, maybe, on their smart device, if you have a story that you would like to share, Ali, how can they do that Solis: Well, we'd encourage you to go to and share your story. We provide incentives. We also provide information so that you can meet neighbors in other communities that are struggling with similar stories. And we also have policymakers engaged through the platform, as well, because it's important for them to understand what's happening in these communities.  "

Bipartisan Effort Success

"Kansas state legislators put their ideologies to the side and worked together to stabilize the Kansas Budget. Kansas State Senator Jim Denning, Majority Leader of the Kansas State Senate discusses the successful bipartisan effort. Interview recorded November 30, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham. Read a partial transcript of this interview below: Traynham:   With the state economy in the red, Kansas lawmakers from opposing parties united to reverse the decline. An immediate benefit -- schools across the state received $300 million in new funding. Hello, everyone, and welcome to ""Comcast Newsmakers."" I'm Robert Traynham, and joining me is Senator Jim Denning. He's the majority leader of the Kansas State Senate, and one of 2017 Governing magazine Public Officials of the Year. Senator Denning, welcome to the program. Denning: Yeah, thank you for having me. Traynham:  So it's widely known that your home state went through a steep decline in revenue. I think a lot of folks around the country were saying ""How are they gonna get out of this "" And you clearly, along with your Democratic colleagues and the Governor, figured out a solution. Tell us about it. Denning:  Sure, we had cut taxes significantly starting in calendar year '13, and we had two provisions in our tax policy. One was a pass-through where small businesses and sole proprietorships would not pay any tax at all on their non-wage income, and that ended up being a loophole that we ended up closing. And the other thing that we had in the policy was that it was marching to zero, that is to say marching down to zero tax, and it was just a statutory march. It wasn't based on any economic activity. And by the second year of the tax cut, we had realized that we had gone too deep, that we needed to reverse a bit of that tax cut to stabilize the budget. We were starting to get to the point where we couldn't fund our core services like schools, mental health, you know, the... Traynham: The basic necessities, if you will Denning: Yeah, just the basic -- correct. Traynham: Senator, let's talk for a few moments about the rainy day fund and that concept. I'm from Pennsylvania, and I know when I was in college and also in high school, there was the state legislature, and I was saying, "Listen, happy days are here again, and this is great from a revenue standpoint, but let's plan as though that the happy days will end at some point, and so let's have a savings account, if you will." And as I understand it, your doing something very similar. Denning:  Yes, we're looking at a rainy day fund next year, and you say, you know, the economy, it ebbs and flows. Right now it's flowing. We're having 3% GDP growth, and we're certainly seeing that at the state level, but we know that a recession is inevitable. We just came through the 2002 recession, and then the deep recession of 2008 and 2009, so we know that the economy will once again contract, and we would like to have a rainy day fund built up so that we'd have a little bit of a cushion so we can continue to fund those core services without taking on additional debt or just simply cutting. "
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