This column contains a correction.
On October 25, 2023, elected leaders, innovators, and change-makers from across the country gathered at the 2023 CAP IDEAS Conference to discuss solutions to the most critical challenges facing the American people today.
The CAP IDEAS Conference is all about the good ideas that lead to good policies—which help families thrive, make communities stronger, and uplift the nation.
Here are the top nine moments from the 2023 IDEAS Conference.
- The Center for American Progress was honored to award Lorella Praeli with the inaugural John D. Podesta Progressive Champion Award, which recognizes a rising change-maker in the progressive movement. Lorella is a proud Dreamer who has dedicated her life to creating a more equitable America. As the current co-president of Community Change and Community Change Action and former deputy national political director at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), she has been instrumental in fighting for policies that tangibly improve the lives of immigrants and communities of color.
- House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) sat down with MSNBC’s Ari Melber to discuss the speaker race and how to move forward and preserve democracy in a time of extreme political chaos.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined Bharat Ramamurti, former deputy director of the National Economic Council, to give us a masterclass in progressive strategy to grow the middle class. Spoiler alert: It involves making billionaires pay their fair share.
- As worker organizing surges nationwide, we heard directly from the front lines of the labor movement on how to achieve justice on the job. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler spoke with union leaders Buddy Maxwell of United Auto Workers, the Rev. Ryan Brown of Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment (C.A.U.S.E.), and Katherine Charles of Call Center Workers United on how to lead the fight for stronger workforce protections.* Plus, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry joined SEIU member leader Teresa Brees to discuss how new sectoral bargaining has successfully improved industries and serves as a nationwide model.
- We reflected on where CAP started 20 years ago and the people who have driven inclusive progress along the way—such as America’s first transgender member of a state Senate and CAP alum, state Sen. Sarah McBride (D-DE).
- We got a lesson in how to get sh*t done from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D), who discussed with The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne Jr. how he has passed landmark legislation through the slimmest of margins.
- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) and National Women’s Law Center President and CEO Fatima Goss Graves discussed the greatest threats facing women’s health care rights and how the state of Illinois is emerging as an example for the nation by prioritizing women and family through policies that focus on equality, reproductive justice, and early education.
- Cutting health care costs and growing the middle class is essential to helping families and communities thrive. White House Domestic Policy Adviser Neera Tanden showed us the power of putting government to work and highlighted how the Biden administration’s economic policies are easing costs for families and providing more Americans with financial security.
- We were moved by Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) closing remarks, which addressed how we rise to this political moment, harness the power of democracy by protecting voters’ rights, and give the American people a voice to inspire progressive change.
These big ideas will change not only the conversation but the country as well.
The 2023 CAP IDEAS Conference was a powerful and inspiring culmination of the progress we’ve made over the past 20 years. We’re looking forward to another 20 years of improving the lives of every American through bold policy and relentless advocacy.
* Correction, October 27, 2023: This column has been corrected to accurately list the union leaders who participated in the event.