The second day of the Democratic National Convention featured a full slate of National Journal events. Thought leaders converged to discuss budget plans, energy policy, the youth vote, and health and energy policy at the city level.
To start, National Journal took a moment to look ahead to the House and Senate races in Wednesday’s Daily Briefing. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., discussed Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan‘s budget plan and how he says it has benefited Democrats in House races around the country.
The session also included the executive directors of both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The two explained that states like California have suddenly come into play for Democrats running for the House due to significant redistricting since the last election cycle.
The panel ended with Jennifer Duffy and David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report. Duffy gave her take on toss-up Senate elections in Connecticut, Hawaii, Montana, and Nevada. Overall, she said, the Democrats have a 55 percent chance of maintaining their Senate majority.
Later, at the American Petroleum Institute luncheon on energy policy, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and former Democratic Vermont Gov. Howard Dean shared thoughts on fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline, and renewable energy.
Both agreed that the pipeline will eventually get built regardless of who the next president is. But Dean wants the government to push harder for renewable energy by favoring the biotech industry. “It’s OK to pick winners and losers sometimes,” he said.
Later on Wednesday, National Journal held “Conversations With the Next Generation,” featuring NBC special correspondent Chelsea Clinton, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, and National Journal‘s Chris Frates.
Sitting on the panel, actors Kal Penn — who has worked in Obama’s administration — and America Ferrera discussed youth-voter engagement. Common wisdom is that apathy has returned to the youth electorate since its historic 2008 enthusiasm. Rod Snyder, president of the Young Democrats of America, pointed out that 84 percent of registered young voters do not show up on Election Day.
But the panel pushed back against the notion of apathy, discussing ways to foster youth engagement. It’s about outreach through youth-favored communication channels, said Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public school system. Filmmaker Andrew Jenks added that this engagement can’t wane between elections.
National Journal also convened a panel on “Building Healthier Cities.” Leaders on the issue from the public and private sectors gave their best public-private partnership solutions for raising a healthier generation.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak explained how partnerships with local Minnesota farms and businesses created programs to reinvent his city’s “food-delivery system” without siphoning significant public funds. For the first time ever, he said, we have a population wanting to be inspired to become healthier.
The day wrapped with a discussion of energy policy during the “Powering the City” panel. With energy demands set to rise nearly 40 percent by 2030, public- and private-sector leaders discussed solutions for cities to meet this demand. Democratic Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer mentioned that 99 percent of his city’s wastewater is recycled and all new city buildings must be LEED-certified.
Others discussed the need for renewable energy. Currently, 45 percent of America’s energy is coal-based and 10 percent is from renewables, said CH2M HILL CEO Lee McIntire.
On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., National Journal hosts the final Daily Briefing, “A Conversation with Campaign Managers and Senior Strategists.”
(Check out Tuesday’s National Journal event highlights)