Monday, January 26, 2015

Report on 1st ever Nevada Progressive Summit

Dawson Building at NSC, site of summit.
HENDERSON, Nev. -- Nevada progressives (aka 'liberals', not a bad word) gathered at Nevada State College southeast of Las Vegas on January 24 for a wide-ranging political summit and exchange of ideas. The event was well attended by activists and politicians from the mid-left to left.

I met some good people and I came away from the event feeling better. I salute the hard work of Annette Magnus and ProgressNow Nevada to organize the summit. It was also great to see Bob Fulkerson, Astrid Silva and the strong crew from PLANevada there.

I attended a session on public lands moderated by Reno City Councilman David Bobzien. The panel featured mostly good messaging on keeping public lands public, but no talk of the challenge for progressives in Nevada of our own promotion of sometimes questionable, highly-compromised BLM public lands and wilderness bills. I mostly support the efforts of activists on this panel, but this issue has been a concern for a long time and deserves more discussion. How low should Friends of Nevada Wilderness and others go in the quest to win more wilderness and national monument designations? Is there a clear line we shouldn't cross? Can we agree on that line? How can we maintain credibility and protect public lands if we keep supporting political moves to privatize public lands?

At lunch Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston gave a refreshingly good talk which constructively challenged some people there.

I had to leave after lunch for a family responsibility, so my experience was limited. Overall, I thought it was a positive, energetic event, although at times perhaps a bit heavy on the groupthink, which is to be expected.

Some more questions coming out of the summit: Are most Nevada 'progressives' really 'moderates'? Have politics moved that far right? Is the compromise bar too low? Also, do progressives trust government too much? Is this a Democrat-only movement? What more can we do to find common ground with reform-minded activists across the political spectrum, including independents, libertarians, tribes, and even some moderate Republicans?

All the questions I raise here I do so only to stimulate discussion, not as criticisms.

There was much more to the event than I touch on here. See some coverage, photos and views of the Nevada Progressive Summit on twitter at #NevadaSummit. I was glad to participate and I hope to see more events like this in the future in southern Nevada.

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