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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    did we glimpse in 6 years of filming almost daily for long stretches at a time an office as real and as warm as Sam Brownback s For more than a year while he was Ted Kennedy s partner leading the Immigration Sub committee the Senior Senator from Kansas allowed us into his operation and his staff followed his lead with a welcome as well That s a substantial tribute to Senator Brownback because ultimately the boss sets the tone Then there was our own relationship with the man himself He was a young conservative Republican on the move a man with a broad agenda who had already earned a national reputation for his efforts against lewd rock music and cloning No doubt he got plenty of warnings from colleagues and staff about the recklessness of allowing us to hang around And we were hardly in on everything but his openness in the slices we did experience was extraordinary We ended up with a better more complex idea of Sam Brownback as a person than we managed to have for any other senator And though we had no real expectations when we met him he still managed to surprise us We saw Senator Brownback take a lot of tough stands and struggle with some very difficult choices Such a thoughtful and principled person is close to the opposite of many Americans idea of a powerful politician As Frank Sharry says with wonder in Story 2 He s a Senator and he want to do the right thing AND HE S A SENATOR So of all the amazing luck we had throughout this project it s fair to say that some of the best luck came very early when we met Sam Brownback and he agreed to help us with our

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/sam-brownback (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    time but in that previous year or two had become more and more involved in the immigration debate brewing in Iowa One of the groups she got involved with was Project USA That summer she entered the Project USA Truthmobile a flatbed truck with a big red sign warning that immigration will double the US population as a float in the high school band parade There was a flap which led to a community debate and the national media descended We didn t go to Mason City until October that year but when we did Janice was one of the people we were hoping to meet She graciously introduced us to a lot of her fellow activists as well as to Max Weaver Kevin and several others in the Mason City community she holds so dear In the years since we filmed with her Janice has remained active in a number of causes Right now on top of everything else she s fighting hard to save an antique band shell in Mason City s central park downtown This past October 2009 we returned to Iowa to find that immigration was still a big issue Janice s commitment to civic engagement

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/janice-easley (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    to Things had gotten so out of hand that her reelection flyer had to specify that she was for welcoming newcomers but not city recruitment of immigrants Lori didn t see herself as an immigrants rights advocate in those days she was a long serving City Council member who also happened to teach English as a second language but as immigration became a hot topic in Iowa and she was

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/lori-henry (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    work Frank liked to call her The General She held the operation together kept the conference calls happening made sure the organization was the kind of fulcrum between the public and the field of immigration advocates that it meant to be Angie is a specialist she knows the law inside out and draws on experience as an immigration lawyer to make it understandable but her real world perspective is invaluable Her parents are immigrants from Bolivia and Colombia Early in her career she worked as an attorney at Ayuda a local services agency in Washington D C representing low income immigrants on immigration and family matters Later along with all the rest of her responsibilities at the Forum Angie maintained lots of contact with the press She would often be on the phone when we arrived explaining obscure points of immigration law and crazy happenings on Capitol Hill to reporters so clearly that at least while she was talking it all seemed to make sense And she could do it while eating yogurt too We loved to film those conversations because they were so useful for us and for our audience as well Her office was the central spot at

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/angela-kelley (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    altogether charming and gracious He listened with startling focus And when he agreed to help us with our idea for a film doors began to open that would not have opened any other way Over the years that followed we were lucky enough to be able to stand on the nearby edges and watch Senator Kennedy work He was the best teacher about the Senate anyone could have possibly had His workdays seemed to stretch from dawn until all hours of the night he had the wonderful personality and the long relationships that made dealing with each of his 99 fellow Senators possible and probably the rarest quality of all these days he knew how to negotiate all the way to a deal There was no doubt to anyone who worked around him this man loved the Senate There were a lot of framed letters on the walls of the sitting room outside his office in the Russell Building one from his mother when he was about 8 years old complaining about his bad spelling various others Mixed in with the family notes was one from Senator Trent Lott one of the more illustrious Republican opponents to many ideas Senator

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/ted-kennedy (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    to help his boss get his agenda passed while always guarding the Senator s prospects for re election We were DC outsiders then and David a Topeka kid who had become a champion National Debater and then by way of Williams College and Oxford University worked his way up to Chief of Staff for a US Senator had lots to teach about the inside baseball of the Hill He always had a knack for pulling out the perfect metaphor or anecdote to explain how things get done in D C And however strongly he felt about something he never lost his ability to analyze a political situation objectively and to our eternal gratitude he was always willing to share his considerable knowledge with us About his boss and their relationship David told us We re the good guys but we re the good guys after we crush you the Senator s a better man than I am he s the sacred I m the profane but you ve got to have both I m the political guy the one who says play it safe let the big issue that affects lots of people go by the boards Build your bridges

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/david-kensinger (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    as within the special world of the Groups turned out to be a goldmine for us all the way through the next 6 years She was truly a policy strategist as we learned and her responsibilities covered not just figuring out WHAT she thought should be done but HOW it might be possible to do it We learned another thing about Cecilia too she held communities together all sorts of them from the various high level and grassroots organizations in Washington and around the country that made up the Groups to the network right inside her own shop She could be as tough as she needed to be but always with respect and it seemed to us with charm We didn t move into her office quite as much or for quite as long as we would have liked to but we did spend some great time following her around a couple of NCLR s national conventions She was the perfect ambassador for us and our movie both in Washington and away So we weren t all that surprised when she was offered a job at the White House after the elections in 2008 Here s what her current bio

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/cecilia-munoz (2016-04-27)
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  • Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants
    radical solution he d dreamed up for 21st century migration might actually become law we saw an opportunity to examine the legislative process through some characters we already knew would prove to be well at the very least highly watchable The first scene on the first roll of film we shot shows Demetri explaining his grand new plan on a conference call with reporters He s sitting in an almost empty new office with a desk a phone two little US and Mexican flags and a bottle of champagne Eight years later we are filled with regrets regrets that we didn t film more with Demetri In the weeks before 9 11 he was mostly behind the scenes and we couldn t seem to catch up with him And on the morning of September 11th he told us he knew it was over Ever the clear eyed realist he recalculated his focus right then Through the years we continued to follow the efforts toward the Grand Bargain on immigration he d helped to launch we did film a scene with him here or there Mainly he was traveling or back at the Migration Policy Institute coming up with ways to

    Original URL path: http://www.howdemocracyworksnow.com/participants/demetri-papademetriou (2016-04-27)
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