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Democracy Matters - Episode 94: Fighting Political Gridlock Starts with States


by Carah Ong Whaley

 
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SUMMARY: “We don’t have a choice,” says David J. Toscano about the critical need to bring policymakers and people together to solve pressing public problems and especially on divisive issues.


“We don’t have a choice,” says David J. Toscano about the critical need to bring policymakers and people together to solve pressing public problems and especially on divisive issues - from criminal legal system reform and policing to immigration.

In his new book, Fighting Political Gridlock: How States Shape Our Nation And Our Lives, Mr. Toscano argues that addressing the challenges to democracy must start at the state and local level. His book explores a wide range of policy issues over which states have significant authority - and more so than the federal government - for determining outcomes. Where states are the locus of power, this can lead to a great deal of variation in approaches to addressing pressing public problems - such as the COVID-19 pandemic or climate disruption - presenting opportunities and challenges based on differences in socioeconomic and political institutions and culture.

David J. Toscano served 14 years (2006-20) in the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 57th District, which includes all of Charlottesville and parts of Albemarle County. First elected in 2005, David’s priorities included education, renewable energy, environmental protection, affordable healthcare, reproductive rights, expanded services for the disabled and poor, and reforms to Virginia’s adoption and foster care laws. He was the Democratic leader in the House of Delegates from 2011 to 2018. Prior to serving in the state legislature, he served 12 years on Charlottesville’s City Council, including a stint as Mayor.

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Published: Thursday, December 2, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, April 28, 2022

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