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Sender: Jeff Weissglass
Subject: Introduction
Date: Thu, Mar 27, 2014
Msg: 100887

Greetings. I’m very happy to be part of this conversation. After many years of exploring ways to bridge social and political divides, I decided to run for office last year and was elected to the board at our local high school. I try to bring bridging skills and perspectives to that role, and I also serve on the Leadership Council of the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, which works to apply best practices of mediation and facilitation to national issues. I am particularly interested in combining bridge building and education and am excited about Convergence’s Reimaging Education project working to do that. My background includes growing up in a small business family and spending the first part of my career as a corporate lawyer. I subsequently got involved in community development banking at South Shore Bank in Chicago, with a focus on public-private partnerships and small business incubators. Over the last 18 years I have worked as an advisor and advocate on issues of education, civic leadership, money and values, and race relations, in addition to political bridge building. My draw to bridge building grew directly out of my personal story. I have great respect for the business people in my family and in the social circles in which I was raised, many of whom were and are right leaning. I was, however, also drawn to the social movements of the 60s and 70s and identify personally more with the left. As the country began to polarize in the 1980s and 1990s, I felt as if my worlds were being torn apart and I slowly began to realize that my natural bent as a bridge builder was also what the historical, and personal, moment called for. I have been involved in conversations about transpartisanship for over 7 years and am grateful for the great thinking and experimenting going on in the field. Given my particular orientation, though, I have two issues that I hope we can address. First, I am concerned that corporations, and perhaps capitalism itself, are often viewed in an adversarial way. I would like to explore how we can better include the business and professional worlds, and the many good people there. Second, transpartisan gatherings have so far attracted a disproportionate number of left leaning activists (along with a significant, but still small, group of libertarians). I suspect the reason has something to do with beliefs on the left about changing the world through action and about ideas of inclusiveness. I would love to sort through whether transpartisanship is inevitably left leaning in its basic structure and/or how we can overcome the apparent bias. I look forward to the conversation. Jeff Jeff Weissglass ############################

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