The State of Bipartisanship in America

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The week of March 11-15 is Civic Literacy Week in America. The concept of civics in the United States embraces disagreements and encourages a search for compromise.

In recent years, that concept seems to have been forgotten, as the nation struggles with difficult issues that have spawned deep political division.

Recently, two Governors who are calling on Americans to “Disagree Better” spokes at the Economic Club of Washington.

Governor Spencer Cox of Utah is a Republican and the current chair of the National Governors Association, where he leads a civility initiative called “Disagree Better.” Governor West Moore of Maryland is a Democrat who has pledged to work with both political parties in his state to do what is best for Maryland citizens. They were interviewed by PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff.

PBS Books and our partners at the Bipartisan Leadership Project are proud to have played a role in sharing this conversation with the country.

PBS Books, in partnership with the Bipartisan Leadership project, is proud to share a recent conversation between two governors who are trying to promote reasonable discussion and compromise in their states.

Interested in Learning More?

"America at a Crossroads with Judy Woodruff"

PBS Newshour’s America at a Crossroad series with Senior Correspondent, Judy Woodruff, takes a closer look at “How governors are working on solutions amid intense political polarization”. Watch it here.


PBS Books at Detroit Public Television: 

PBS Books is a multi-platform initiative celebrating the love of reading. PBS Books is dedicated to connecting books with audiences by engaging them in unique experiences to spark their curiosity and encourage a life-long love of reading and learning.

Detroit Public TV is the viewer-supported PBS member station serving Southeast Michigan. Our vision is for a community in which people trust public TV to help them discover new ideas, make informed decisions, and enjoy enriched lives.

The Bipartisan Leadership Project:

The mission of the Bipartisan Leadership Project (BLP) is to initiate and guide organizations in providing leadership development that equips leaders with skills necessary to lead in the polarized environment. Leaders of the BLP have initiated political leadership programs at Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. These programs bring together politically, ethnically, and geographically diverse people to learn together. The program uniquely focuses on the development of conflict resolution and leadership skills for this political environment. Participants build trust, tolerance, and the ability to listen to each other in finding workable solutions to the serious problems we face. With the involvement of scholars, leaders, practitioners, and the robust interaction of participants, these programs are producing amazing results. The BLP also helped develop a leadership program for high school students at John Lewis High School to increase the pipeline for the next generation of leaders.

The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. is widely recognized as the premier forum for distinguished global leaders to share their insights about major issues of the day with top-tier business leaders.

Disagree Better Initiative of the National Governors Association:

Disagree Better is an effort to show that as Americans, we can work through our differences to find solutions to the most difficult problems facing our states and our nation. This effort includes a series of public-facing efforts, assisted by NGA and chosen from a toolkit of interventions that are customizable for each state/governor.

Guest Biographies:

Wes Moore is the 63rd Governor of the state of Maryland. He is Maryland’s first Black Governor in the state’s 246-year history, and is just the third African American elected Governor in the history of the United States.

Born in Takoma Park, Maryland, on Oct. 15, 1978, to Joy and Westley Moore, Moore’s life took a tragic turn when his father died of a rare, but treatable virus when he was just three years old. After his father’s death, his family moved to the Bronx to live with Moore’s grandparents before returning to Maryland at age 14.

Moore is a proud graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and College, where he received an Associate’s degree in 1998, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he went on to earn his Bachelor’s in international relations and economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

While at Johns Hopkins, Moore interned in the office of former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. Moore was the first Black Rhodes Scholar in the history of Johns Hopkins University. As A Rhodes Scholar, he earned a Master’s in international relations from Wolfson College at Oxford.

In 2005, Moore deployed to Afghanistan as a captain with the 82nd Airborne Division, leading soldiers in combat. Immediately upon returning home, Moore served as a White House Fellow, advising on issues of national security and international relations.

In 2010, Moore wrote “The Other Wes Moore,” a story about the fragile nature of opportunity in America, which became a perennial New York Times bestseller. He went on to write other best-selling books that reflect on issues of race, equity, and opportunity, including his latest book “Five Days,” which tells the story of Baltimore in the days that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.

Moore built and launched a Baltimore-based business called BridgeEdU, which reinvented freshman year of college for underserved students to increase their likelihood of long-term success. BridgeEdu was acquired by the Brooklyn-based student financial success platform, Edquity, in 2018.

It was Moore’s commitment to taking on our toughest challenges that brought him to the Robin Hood Foundation, where he served for four years as CEO. During his tenure, the Robin Hood Foundation distributed over $600 million toward lifting families out of poverty, including here in Maryland.

While the Robin Hood Foundation is headquartered in New York City, Wes and his family never moved from their home in Baltimore.

Moore has also worked in finance with Deutsche Bank in London and with Citigroup in New York.

Moore and his wife Dawn Flythe Moore have two children – Mia, 12; and James, 10.

Spencer Cox - Headshot

Gov. Spencer J. Cox is a husband, father, farmer, recovering attorney, and Utah’s 18th governor. He’s also currently serving as 2023-2024 chairman of the National Governors Association.

Gov. Cox has a long track record of public service, serving as a city councilmember, mayor, county commissioner and state legislator before being appointed as Utah’s lieutenant governor in 2013. He was sworn in as governor on Jan. 4, 2021.

During his first term in office, Gov. Cox has cut $1.1 billion in taxes, implemented landmark changes in water law, water conservation and infrastructure planning, locked in record funding for education and teachers, enacted universal school choice, and secured funds for affordable housing. A long-time advocate for suicide prevention and mental health resources, he’s become a national voice on protecting youth from the harms of social media. He also signed early education and workforce program funding, launched the One Utah Health Collaborative, and expanded opportunities for women, diverse communities and those living in rural parts of the state.

With a focus on solutions, Gov. Cox promotes respect in politics and innovation in government, works across party lines to find common ground, and regularly participates in hands-on service projects. These elements are the foundation of his NGA Chair’s Initiative, “Disagree Better: Healthy Conflict for Better Policy.”

A sixth-generation Utahn, Gov. Cox was born and raised in Fairview, a town of 1,200 in the center of the state. He met First Lady Abby Palmer Cox at age 16 and they married after he returned from serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico. He attended Snow College, Utah State University, and the Washington and Lee University School of Law, then clerked for U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart and worked at a Salt Lake City law firm. Several years later, Gov. Cox and First Lady Cox moved back to Fairview to raise their four children – Gavin, Kaleb, Adam, and Emma Kate – on the family farm. The governor, first lady and Emma Kate currently reside in the Kearns Mansion, also known as the Governor’s Mansion, in Salt Lake City.

Judy Woodruff - Headshot

Judy Woodruff is a senior correspondent and the former anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. She has covered politics and other news for five decades at NBC, CNN and PBS.

At PBS from 1983 to 1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. From 1984 – 1990, she also anchored PBS’ award-winning documentary series, “Frontline with Judy Woodruff.” Moving to CNN in 1993, she served as anchor and senior correspondent for 12 years; among other duties, she anchored the weekday program “Inside Politics.” She returned to the NewsHour in 2007, and in 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast. After Ifill’s death, Woodruff was named sole anchor.

In 2011, Judy was the anchor and reporter for the PBS documentary “Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime.” And in 2007, she completed an extensive project on the views of young Americans, titled “Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard.” Two hour-long documentaries aired on PBS, along with a series of reports on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, in USA Today and on Yahoo News.

From 2006 – 2013, Judy anchored a monthly program for Bloomberg Television, “Conversations with Judy Woodruff.” In 2006, she was a visiting professor at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. In 2005, she was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

At NBC News, Woodruff was White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982. For one year after that she served as NBC’s Today Show chief Washington correspondent. She wrote the book, This is Judy Woodruff at the White House, published in 1982 by Addison-Wesley. Her reporting career began in Atlanta, Georgia, where she covered state and local government.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in journalism and communication industries worldwide. She serves on the boards of trustee of the Freedom Forum, The Duke Endowment and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and is a director of Public Radio International and the National Association to End Homelessness. She is a former member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a former director of the National Museum of American History and a former trustee of the Urban Institute.

Judy is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita.

She is the recent recipient of an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University.

She is the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees.

Judy lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, journalist Al Hunt, and they are the parents of three children: Jeffrey, Benjamin and Lauren.

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