In mid-January, the NewDEAL Forum hosted a New England Regional Roundtable — a practical, solution-oriented discussion about two critical issues facing Americans across the country: preventing the most severe weather impacts of climate change caused by carbon pollution and preserving American democracy. Policymakers from NewDEAL’s network of innovative, rising leaders, along with other experts, laid out priorities for their states and talked about how to shape an agenda on these key issues that has broad appeal across the country.
Held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, the event included input from Joyce Craig, gubernatorial candidate and former mayor of Manchester; state Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka (NH), Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll (MA), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (CT); state Rep. Tram Nguyen (MA); Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier (ME), and students from the area’s young Democrats group.
As NewDEAL Forum CEO Debbie Cox Bultan told The Well News, the gathering was about “striving for well-crafted solutions to the issues and concerns people care about, like climate change, and how to save our democracy, and how to promote freedom.” And the conversation explored concrete, pragmatic solutions to major issues.
Sen. Kwoka, who co-chairs the Forum’s Climate Change Policy Group, spoke about the importance of grid modernization as a way to prepare her state (and the country) for climate-friendly changes to electricity production. As the Granite Post reported, she encouraged lawmakers to invest in “the highway of our electrons, making sure that our transmission and distribution grid is up to date, that it can accommodate distributed generation like solar, battery technology, EVs, even in-home solutions that are going to allow us to treat our grid as sort of a partner and a piece of how we manage electricity traveling.
The discussion around democracy included emphasis of the recently-released Freedom Agenda, a document from NewDEAL and the Congressional New Democrat Coalition which lays out core values shared by Americans across the country, consisting of three primary components: Freedom of Opportunity; Freedom in Communities; and Freedom through Democracy.
The document, and discussion in New Hampshire, draw a sharp contrast between the freedoms Democrats embrace and the chaos Republicans sow.
“When we talk about freedom, we mean moving our communities forward,” said Duff, who is also a NewDEAL Leader. He noted that he and other NewDEAL Leaders are fighting for affordable housing, education, a cleaner environment, and access to health care.
However, he emphasized that “none of that matters” if America does not have a functioning democracy.
Kristen Cloutier highlighted steps Maine has taken to strengthen democracy in the state. Their legislature enacted automatic voter registration at the DMV, so anyone getting a license or ID can easily register to vote. Further, the state now has online voter registration, so people can register from their home computer or mobile phone. Like many other states, Maine also expanded access to early voting.
The links below have more information about the policy roundtable, as well as additional resources about these important issues.
Media Coverage of the New England Policy Roundtable:
NewDEAL and NewDEAL Forum Resources:
To learn more about the NewDEAL Forum, visit www.NewDEALForum.org.