CLICK HERE to watch the video for “Rethinking Public Employee Unions.”


Philip K. Howard is a leader of government and legal reform in America. He is Chair of the nonpartisan nonprofit Common Good and a bestselling author. He has advised both Democrat and Republican parties on needed reforms. In his new book, "Not Accountable" (Rodin Books, 2023), he argues that public employee unions undermine democratic governance and should be unconstitutional. Mr. Howard joins legendary Democratic strategist and CPF Director Bob Shrum for a candid Zoom conversation about public employee unions. They may not often agree, but their conversation is guaranteed to be respectful, fact-filled, interesting, and fun.

Thursday April 6
4:00pm - 5:00pm Pacific Time


The Center for the Political Future thanks CPF Board of Councilors member Ken Broad for inspiring this discussion.

Philip is the author of the bestseller The Death of Common Sense (Random House, 1995), The Collapse of the Common Good (Ballantine Books, 2002), Life Without Lawyers (W.W. Norton, 2009), The Rule of Nobody (W.W. Norton, 2014), and Try Common Sense (W.W. Norton, 2019). His commentaries are published frequently in major media outlets. 

In 2002, Philip formed Common Good, a nonpartisan coalition dedicated to simplifying laws so that Americans can use common sense in daily choices. His 2010 TED Talk has been viewed by more than 750,000 people. His 2015 report, “Two Years, Not Ten Years,” exposed the economic and environmental costs of delayed infrastructure approvals, and its proposals have since been incorporated into federal law. Philip has appeared often on television and radio, including several times on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”

The son of a minister, Philip got his start working summers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner. He has been active in public affairs his entire adult life. He is Senior Counsel at the law firm Covington & Burling, LLP. A graduate of Yale College and the University of Virginia Law School, Philip lives in Manhattan with his wife Alexandra. They have four children.

Robert Shrum is the Director of the Center for the Political Future and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC Dornsife. A legendary political strategist, he was once described as "the most sought-after consultant in the Democratic Party," by The Atlantic Monthly. 

He was a speechwriter for Senator George McGovern in the 1972 presidential campaign and for Senator Edward Kennedy in the 1980 presidential campaign. He served as the Senator’s Press Secretary in the early 1980s and as a political consultant and strategist in his subsequent Senate campaigns. He was also the strategist in over 25 other winning U.S. Senate campaigns, eight successful campaigns for governor, successful campaigns for mayors in major American cities, and numerous campaigns for Congress and other statewide offices. 

His clients included Joe Biden, John Glenn, Barbara Mikulski, David Dinkins, and Tom Bradley - and John Kerry and Al Gore in their presidential races. Overseas his clients included Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the British Labour Party, the Prime Minister of Ireland, and the Presidents of Colombia and Bolivia.


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