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Center Forward, TWN to Host Bipartisan Policy Discussion
Davis, Katko, Kilmer, Murphy to talk about where Republicans and Democrats can come together in a polarized House

July 16, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – This Thursday morning, July18, The Well News will host Representatives Rodney Davis, R-Ill., John Katko, R-N.Y., Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., for a conversation about what it means to seek common ground and pragmatic solutions for the American people in an age largely marked by dysfunction and incivility.

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The panel discussion, which begins promptly at 9 a.m., is presented by Center Forward, a centrist organization-based in Washington, D.C. that brings together members of Congress, not-for-profits, academic experts, trade associations, corporations and unions to find common ground. 

Center Forward’s stated mission is to give centrist allies the information they need to craft common sense solutions, and provide those allies the support they need to turn those ideas into results.

Together, the speakers who will appear in the Newseum’s Knight Studio at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, represent leadership from various caucuses and coalitions, including the Blue Dog Coalition, the New Democrat Coalition, and the Tuesday Group.

Preceding them on stage with opening remarks will be Libby Greer, one of Center Forward’s founding board members, who told The Well News that one of the biggest challenges moderates face today “is not ceding the public sphere” to the loudest or shrillest voices on the left or right.

“One of the reasons Center Forward was founded was to keep up the fight for the middle and not allow the most radical views to dominate the public dialogue,” she said.

“You know, one of the interesting things the founders did when they designed our divided government is they structured our electoral system to essentially guarantee that one party or philosophy wouldn’t dominate indefinitely,” Greer said. “They basically forced upon us the reality that there will be times we sharply disagree with each other on certain issues and that the middle ground was always going to be the way forward.”

Greer and other founding board members saw Center Forward, which launched in 2010, as a way to bring together diverse stakeholders of goodwill to talk about issues without them becoming politicized.

“What Center Forward strives for is making sure there’s not a void in the middle … that there’s always some place for centrist members of Congress to go and talk about ideas,” she said.

Greer said events like the one being held at the Newseum Thursday morning “are really intended to provide a safe and amplified environment for moderate voices to be part of the conversation and to demonstrate to the public that there is room for thoughtful dialogue, for conversation … that everything doesn’t have to turn into a fight … that it’s not all about people backing themselves into corners.

“Being able to model a conversation where thoughtful people can engage and talk about real issues in a real way — without name calling and everything that comes with that — is an important part of how we govern. And I think the American people are clamoring for it,” she said.

In addition to providing opportunities for members of Congress to reach across the aisle and find consensus on issues large and small, Center Forward plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of the process.

“We’re here to provide a space for dialogue that is not a polarizing environment in and of itself. When you walk in the door, there’s kind of an express agreement that you don’t have to simply cede the conversation to the right or left, and that you’re going to try to be collaborative and talk about ideas and build some common ground.”

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