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America At Its Best: The Show

Page Contents
  • Episode One
  • Episode Two
  • Episode Three
  • Episode Four
  • Episode Five
  • Episode Six
  • Episode Seven
  • Episode Eight
  • Episode Nine
  • Episode Ten
  • Episode Eleven
  • Episode Twelve
  • Episode Thirteen
  • Episode Fourteen
  • Episode Fifteen
  • Episode Sixteen
  • Episode Seventeen
  • Episode Eighteen
  • Episode Nineteen
  • Episode Twenty
  • Episode Twenty-One
  • Episode Twenty-Two
  • Episode Twenty-Three
  • Episode Twenty-Four
  • Episode Twenty-Five

America at Its Best: Highlights

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are facing many challenges to their way of life. Despite some of the bad news that has come from this unprecedented time in history, there is much room for optimism. To that end, State Policy Network has produced a new show for our supporters and partners that tells powerful stories of good news and fast solutions from the Network of 65 state-based think tanks and over 90 national partners across the country who are out there saving lives and livelihoods.

One of SPN’s board members, Adam Meyerson, recently said: “America at its best emerges right now.  We see Americans taking charge as concerned citizens, such as neighbors helping neighbors, especially when expected government help is too slow to alleviate suffering. There are so many people in communities working together to find creative solutions. In crises of the past, Americans have risen to the challenge.”

This idea inspired the name of the show. We believe in the power of individuals working together to solve problems in their communities, and we are seeing examples of this throughout the Network every day.

Below are recordings of each episode. To learn more, please contact Victoria Bartolomeo at victoria@spn.org.

Upcoming Shows

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View Past Episodes


Episode Twenty-Five: The Biggest School Choice Program in the Nation

In America, where you live often determines where you go to school. This one-size-fits-all approach to education hurts low-income families the most, who often live in districts with a poor-performing school. But, thanks to a multiyear effort by the Cardinal Institute, West Virginia passed the most expansive school choice legislation in the country, which will expand educational opportunity for hundreds of thousands of children in the Mountain State. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Garrett Ballengee, Cardinal Institute
  • Lynn Harsh, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Twenty-Four: A State Solution to Remove Red Tape for New Startups, Jobs, and the Economic Recovery

Across America, entrepreneurs and innovators are ready to go into business, but archaic and rigid regulations are standing in the way. States can get around this red tape by creating regulatory sandboxes which allow these new businesses to work outside of unnecessary regulations. Connor Boyack from the Libertas Institute joined us to share how they are turning the page on state regulatory reform in Utah as we know it–and using the power of this Network to help other states follow their lead. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Connor Boyack, Libertas Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Twenty-Three: How the Network is Helping Kids Safely Return to the Classroom

After nearly a year at home, students in Chicago Public Schools have finally returned to the classroom, thanks in part to the efforts of the Liberty Justice Center. Using the power of their litigation and communications capabilities, they took on “the most militant teachers union in the country” and created change that is already spreading to other states. In this episode, we have a conversation with Diana Rickert from LJC to learn about their efforts and what it means for students across the country. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Diana Rickert, Liberty Justice Center
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Twenty-Two: Bringing Accountability to State Governors – Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal

In this episode, Empire Center CEO Tim Hoefer tells the story of how they helped expose Governor Cuomo's coverup of the nursing home death count. Empire Center's work spans beyond this one national story, however, into one that shows just how important Network organizations can be in restoring transparency and accountability to state governments. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Tim Hoefer, Empire Center for Public Policy
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Twenty-One: Looking to States and Communities, not DC, to Solve Problems in 2021

While most conversation surrounds what is happening in Washington, DC, there are significant opportunities in states and communities across the countries to solve some of the country's greatest challenges. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Yuval Levin, American Enterprise Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Twenty: How Courthouses and Statehouses Could Shape 2021

In our final episode of 2020, Leonard Leo discussed what to expect from the new makeup of the courts and why SPN's work in the states is critical to key litigation strategies. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Leonard Leo, CRC Advisors and the Federalist Society
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Nineteen: Trends in the States Post-Election

In this episode, we discussed what the changes in the political landscape will mean for advancing freedom in the states, and ways in which this is truly the State Moment. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Matt Paprocki, Illinois Policy Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Eighteen: How the Network is Driving the Economic Recovery in the States

In this episode, we discussed solutions coming from this Network to revitalize state economies, help businesses reopen, shore up state budgets, and get Americans back to work. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Justin Owen, Beacon Center of Tennessee
  • Michael Lucci, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Seventeen: SPN's Bob Williams Award Winners

In this episode, we invited the winners of SPN's coveted Bob Williams Awards to discuss their successful policy solutions that have made lives better in their states. We also discussed the 2020 Network Award dedicated to the biggest multi-state win of the year. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Carol Liebau, Yankee Institute for Public Policy
  • John Hinderaker, Center of the American Experiment
  • Charles Mitchell, Commonwealth Foundation
  • Phil Williams, Alabama Policy Institute
  • Kathleen O'Hearn, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Sixteen: Preserving the Integrity of US Elections

In this episode, we discussed the importance of conducting fair, honest elections and what the current debate could mean for the future of our democracy. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Rick Esenberg, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty
  • Jason Snead, Honest Elections Project
  • Trent England, Save Our States
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Fifteen: How the Pandemic Has Affected Higher Education

In this episode, we discuss the existential crisis facing higher education as well as areas where universities can innovate to provide higher quality, affordable options for students. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Jim Stergios, Pioneer Institute
  • Debbie Fowler, Western Governors University
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Fourteen: The Overton Window for Education Reform: How the Network is Helping Families Navigate Education's Biggest Disruption

In this episode, we discussed how the Network has positioned itself to help families navigate disruption to education, and the related shifts in the Overton Window that allow for meaningful reform. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Dr. Bob McClure, James Madison Institute
  • Ellen Weaver, Palmetto Promise Institute
  • Katherine Bathgate, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Thirteen: Engaging Young Americans on Ideas of Liberty

In this episode, we discussed how this Network is engaging young Americans today on ideas of liberty that will have an impact for future generations. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Grace Fendrick, Georgia Center for Opportunity
  • David Boze, Washington Policy Center
  • Zilvinas Silenas, Foundation for Economic Education
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Twelve: The Future of American Conservatism

In this episode, we discussed "conservative fusionism" and the changing dynamics of the conservative party over time, as well as ways for parties to come together towards common goals. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • John Hood, John William Pope Foundation
  • Tony Woodlief, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Eleven: Sensible Police Reform

In this episode we discuss balancing public safety with comprehensive reform to protect liberty and ensure equality before the law. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Tim Hoefer, Empire Center
  • Patrick Jaicomo, Institute for Justice
  • Tony Woodlief, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Ten: Protecting American Freedom Through Strategic Litigation

In this episode, we discussed how the courts are a resource for state leaders to promote and protect liberty. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Carrie Ann Donnel, American Juris Link
  • Samuel MacRoberts, Kansas Justice Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Nine: Bringing State Voices to Federal Policy

In this episode, we discussed how the federal government is looking to state leaders for solutions that empower states to make the best decisions for their citizens. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Jim Vokal, Platte Institute
  • Jennifer Butler, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Eight: How to Accelerate Lifesaving Solutions

In this episode, we discussed how SPN's Network partners are putting forth solutions to help accelerate lifesaving medical innovations. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Naomi Lopez, Goldwater Institute
  • Daniel Rothschild, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Seven: How the Response to the Coronavirus Has Impacted Our Civil Liberties

In this episode, we discussed efforts to defend and shine light on the impact the pandemic and government response have had on American civil liberties. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Nick Gillespie, Reason
  • Connor Boyack, Libertas Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Six: Leading in Crisis

In this episode, we heard from Network leaders who are showing what it means to lead in crisis. Their institutions are solving problems related to the coronavirus pandemic and paving the way for opportunities in the months ahead. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Kevin Roberts, Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Carol Platt Liebau, Yankee Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Five: Revitalizing State Economies

In this episode, we discussed which policies this Network is pursuing to help state governments safely and effectively reopen while setting the stage for economic growth going forward. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Taylor Dawson, Beacon Center of Tennessee
  • Rea Hederman, The Buckeye Institute
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Four: How the Coronavirus Has Changed K-12 Education

In this episode, we assessed the current landscape in education and what this Network is doing to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Jonathan Butcher, Heritage Foundation
  • Libby Sobic, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty
  • Katherine Bathgate, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Three: Public Opinion and Storytelling on the Coronavirus

In this episode, we discussed how American attitudes have changed since the start of the pandemic, as well as effective storytelling to capture the impact of the crisis thus far. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Erin Norman, Heart & Mind Strategies
  • Ryan Greene, Illinois Policy Institute
  • Carrie Conko, State Policy Network
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode Two: Helping Businesses During the Coronavirus Crisis

In this episode, we discussed how members of this Network are helping businesses navigate evolving policy changes and get people back to work safely. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Rob Arnott, Research Affiliates
  • Charles Mitchell, Commonwealth Foundation
  • Randy Hicks, Georgia Center for Opportunity
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network

Episode One: Lifesaving Reforms in Michigan and Beyond

In this episode, we discussed how the window of opportunity has opened for governors to enact market-based healthcare solutions that are giving patients greater access to care, and doctors greater access to much-needed medical supplies. (Link to Video)

Speakers:

  • Joseph Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  • Lindsay Killen, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  • Tracie Sharp, State Policy Network
  • Rebecca Painter, State Policy Network
  • Russ Walker, State Policy Network