Front-page issues from gun rights to immigration reform are among those to be addressed by former Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-Michigan) and Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) in the inaugural Critical Conversations event, presented by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Taking place Sunday March 18, 2018 and moderated by former CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno, this event kicks off a major new program series inspired by Judaism’s embrace of passionate civil discourse. Critical Conversations will bring together notable thought leaders with opposing points of view.
“This series seeks to answer the question: In these fractious and deeply partisan times, are we even capable of holding civil conversations on the challenges we face?” said Spertus President and CEO Dr. Hal M. Lewis. “Judaism teaches that robust debate and respect for diverse opinions can coexist. Critical Conversations is designed to model the behavior we so desperately need in our country today.”
Added Sesno, “What Spertus is doing is exactly what needs to happen, what they should be doing, what I love and am doing more of. In many ways, this is why I wrote my book, Ask More, exploring how we can use questions to listen, learn, discover, empathize, connect. Serious discourse, substantive issues, differing points of view, convening to listen and learn, questions and challenge, respect and debate used to be the province of journalism in this country. It was the promise of cable and even, once upon a time, the internet. But we see what has happened, so it’s so important that others step in like this.”
Tickets for the inaugural Critical Conversations event are $36. VIP tickets for $100 include a reception with the speakers. Tickets are now on sale by credit card only atspertus.edu/Conversation.
Spertus Institute is located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue. The program begins at 4:30 pm.
Jennifer M. Granholm, former two-term governor of Michigan, led Michigan through a period of unprecedented economic change. Granholm became the first woman elected governor of Michigan in 2002. In 2006, she was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor. As Michigan faced meltdown in the auto industry and a global shift in manufacturing jobs, Granholm worked to diversify the state’s economy, adding new jobs in emerging sectors such as clean energy. As a result, Michigan led the country in the improvement of job market conditions between 2009 and 2010, according to the Gallup Job Creation Index.
Granholm served as Michigan Attorney General prior to her terms as governor. Following her terms, she joined the faculty at UC Berkeley and was named a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. She chairs the American Jobs Project, an initiative focused on state-based policies to create advanced manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Granholm is the co-author of the political bestseller, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future. She is currently a senior contributor to CNN and CEO of Granholm Mulhern Associates.
Mike Huckabee was Governor of Arkansas from 1996 until 2007. Although only the fourth Republican elected to any statewide office since Reconstruction, he became one of the longest serving Governors in his state’s history. He left a legacy of tax cuts, job creation, reconstruction of his state’s road system, education reform, and a nationally heralded health initiative that focused on prevention over intervention. His administration fought long-standing corruption in the state’s political machine. Governing magazine named Huckabee one of its “Public Officials of the Year” in 2005 and Time Magazine honored him as one of the five best governors in America. He chaired the National Governors Association as well as the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission.
In his campaign for the Republican nomination for President in 2008, Huckabee finished second to John McCain. From 2008 until 2015, he hosted the top-rated weekend show, HUCKABEE, on Fox News. He hosted The Huckabee Report—heard across the nation on close to 600 radio stations—from 2009 to 2015. A New York Times bestselling author, he currently serves as a Fox News contributor and is one of the nation’s most sought-after conservative speakers.