Jun 1

Past Event

Is Government Broken? Strengthening Democracy through Election and Governance Reforms


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In a recent CNN/Opinion Research survey, 86 percent of Americans said they believe the federal government is “broken.” In the last year, governance challenges complicated the nation’s capacity to address issues such as the economy, health care, climate change and financial regulation. As obstacles to governance continue to mount, what reforms need to be implemented to ensure that the United States is equipped to face its short- and long-term policy challenges? Is government broken? And if so, how do we fix it?

On June 1, the Brookings Institution, Demos, AmericaSpeaks, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University and Everyday Democracy hosted a forum to explore current challenges to good governance and to discuss ways of creating and strengthening a strong, vibrant and inclusive democracy, focusing mainly on proposed solutions to reform our governance, election and campaign finance systems. The first panel focused on how electoral and campaign finance systems can be reformed. The second discussion centered on improving institutional performance, administrative infrastructure and governance processes to better address the nation’s most pressing policy problems.

After each panel, speakers took questions from the audience.

Event Agenda

  • Welcome and Introductory Remarks

  • Panel on Election and Campaign Finance Reform

    • Jon Greenbaum

      Legal Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law

    • Eddie Hailes

      Managing Director and General Counsel, Advancement Project

    • Clarissa Martinez De Castro

      Director, Immigration and National Campaigns, National Council of La Raza

    • Nick Nyhart

      President and CEO, Public Campaign

    • Moderator: Karen Hobert Flynn

      Vice President for State Operations, Common Cause

  • Panel on Governance Reform

    • Martha McCoy

      Executive Director, Everyday Democracy

    • Gary Bass

      Executive Director, OMB Watch

    • Moderator: Archon Fung

      Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Closing Remarks


June 1, 2010

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105