Personnel is Policy: Making Progress in an Era of Congressional Gridlock

Personnel is Policy: Making Progress in an Era of Congressional Gridlock

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 14 10:00 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 14 11:15 AM (Eastern)

Congress is messed up. How can activists push the government to address pressing problems constructively amidst political polarization and gridlock? As Senator Elizabeth Warren noted in last year’s Netroots Nation keynote address, “personnel is policy.” One key takeaway is to make sure that the president aggressively enforces powerful laws already on the books. From the Sherman Antitrust Act and Clean Air Act to Dodd-Frank and the ACA, regulatory action and inaction shape the country in which we live. Join our panelists to learn who makes these decisions—and how activists can impact the direction of the executive branch.


Marcy Wheeler


Marcy writes about national security and civil liberties her site,, and for the Guardian, Salon, and the Nation. She is best known for live-blogging the Scooter Libby trial and reporting the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded. In 2009 she won the Hillman Prize for blog journalism.

my website


Alexis Goldstein

Alexis Goldstein is the Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, a nonpartisan coalition of over 200 organizations working for a safe and ethical financial system. Prior to her advocacy work, Alexis spent seven years working on Wall Street.

In her spare time, she co-hosts the podcast Humorless Queers, which covers Wall Street, Mass Surveillance, and LGBTQ issues.

my website

Angela McCall

Angela McCall has been a member of the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fed Up Campaign since 2014 where she has met with Federal Reserve and Congressional officials to advocate for transparency and diversity in the Federal Reserve along with a monetary policy that focuses on higher wages and full employment for all Americans.

Ms. McCall is also the founder of Gateway To Divine Health, an organization that focuses on improving individual lives, families and communities. She is currently working on a research project with Washington University in St. Louis to study the impact of unemployment on the mental health of African American mothers and children in St. Louis County, MO.

Kurt Walters

Kurt is the campaign director at online activist organization Demand Progress and its Rootstrikers project focused on money in politics and Wall Street accountability. Prior to joining Demand Progress, Kurt served as the digital lead for Sen. Brian Schatz’s 2014 campaign and as a consultant for several progressive political candidates and nonprofits. He also developed small donor public financing policy and held anti-reform politicians accountable with Public Campaign Action Fund (now Every Voice).