Campbell Conversations

Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.

Every week Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University, leads a conversation with a notable guest. Guests include people from central New York - writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals whose work affects the public life of the community - as well as nationally-prominent figures visiting the region to talk about their work.

The Campbell Conversations are longer interviews which encourage the character of the interviewee to be revealed. This allows you to learn not only about the issue being discussed, but also about the person—how they got to where they are, and where they might go. Grant attempts to go beyond the usual press conference questions and sound bites.

Podcasts of the show are available via iTunes.

If you have any questions about an episode or any comments for Grant, feel free to contact him by email at gdreeher@maxwell.syr.edu at your convenience.

See also:  The Campbell Debates

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In recent decades, Republicans have dominated elected offices in Onondaga County. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with one Democrat who hopes to change that. Tony Malavenda is challenging incumbent Ryan McMahon in this year's race for Onondaga County Executive. They discuss the rationale behind his campaign, economic development, I-81, housing, poverty and more. 

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Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick is finishing up his 7th four-year term in office, and is seeking an 8th this November. Given his past elections, he might seem unbeatable, but this year he has two challengers. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Fitzpatrick about recent initiatives in his office, controversial cases, policing, opioids, and more. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is no stranger to politics. At 23, he was elected to the Oswego Common Council. In 2015, at 25, he was elected mayor, the youngest in New York. He's running for reelection this year, and he's currently unopposed. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Barlow about some of the initiatives he has taken in his first term, how the city is coping with record high water levels on Lake Ontario, and some of the things he didn't expect when he first took office. 

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The two new state Senators from the Syracuse area, Rachel May (D-Syracuse) and Bob Antonacci (R-Syracuse) both ran for the Senate by running against Albany. Now they've finished their first legislative session. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with May and Antonacci about their experiences, what improvements or outcomes they saw, and what they see on the political horizon. 

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The federal government has an independent financial and performance watchdog, called the Government Accountability Office, or GAO. How does it maintain its independence in an increasingly polarized political environment? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Gene Dodaro, head of the GAO, and the Comptroller General of the United States. 

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This week on the Campbell Conversations, we wrap up a series on the arts. Grant Reeher speaks with Pam Murchison, executive director of Symphoria, and Jon Garland, a member of Symphoria's horn section, and also a Symphoria board member. 

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This week on the Campbell Conversations, we continue our series of discussions on the arts, this time with a focus on poetry. Grant Reeher talks with poet Christopher Citro, author of a new book called "If We Had a Lemon, We'd Throw It and Call That the Sun." They discuss different types of poetry, the creative process, and politics and poetry. 

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This week on the Campbell Conversations, we continue our series of discussions on the arts with Harvey Teres, a professor of English at Syracuse University, and the author of a new book titled "Conversations About Beauty with Ordinary Americans: Somebody Loves Us All."

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The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and there are some interesting exhibits on tap for this summer. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with the museum's two principal curators, DJ Hellerman and Garth Johnson. 

One area where Democrats and Republicans agree, is on the nation's opioid crisis. It's been ravaging parts of the coutnry and will require some serious interventions. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Brian Mann, a reporter with North Country Public Radio. Brian has been covering the opioid crisis for NPR. They discuss the opioid epidemic, the response so far, and what could be done to stop it. 

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Lead poisoning in Syracuse is a major health threat which has ripple effects through generations, and is connected to a variety of social problems. What do we know about it? What has or hasn't been done about this problem, and what could be done? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Sandra Lane, a professor of public health and anthropology at Syracuse University, and Peter Dunn, president of the Central New York Community Foundation.

Ross Allen

As Britain continues to struggle over Brexit, what trade oppotunities might Britain's exit from the EU have for the United States? And how much of the economy in the Syracuse area relies on trade with Britain? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Ross Allen, Director for North America of Britain's Department for International trade. 

This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau. Garneau is a member of the Canadian Parliament, and his portfolio includes trade negotiations. Garneau is also a former astronaut, and former head of Canada's space agency. 

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The decision about the future of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse still looms over the region. Called the most important decsion for the city in a generation, the public is largely split on what should replace the elevated portion of highway that runs through the city. Many in the city favor a community grid, which would route trhough traffic around the city via Interstate 481, while many outside the city prefer to see the highway stay where it is. 

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Last November, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) was re-elected to a third term, in what turned out to be a competitve election in New York's 24th District. In January, he rejoined a Congress in which he is in the minority. This week, Katko talks with Grant Reeher about life in Congress as a member of the minority party, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Interstate 81, health care, and other issues. 

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The decision about the future of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse still looms over the region. Called the most important decsion for the city in a generation, the public is largely split on what should replace the elevated portion of highway that runs through the city. Many in the city favor a community grid, which would route trhough traffic around the city via Interstate 481, while many outside the city prefer to see the highway stay where it is. 

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NPR's Nina Totenberg joined NPR in 1975 and has covered the Supreme Court in the decades since. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Totenberg about her career, as well as the polarized politics surrounding judicial nominations, the Supreme Court, and Brett Kavanaugh. They also discuss a very special violin.

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The midterm elections in November produced a record number of women in Congress, and a record number of women have come forward as candidates for president. How important are these changes for our democracy, and what's driving them? Is it a reaction to President Trump, or something more lasting? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Susan Carroll, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. 

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A little over a year ago, Ben Walsh rewrote Syracuse history, assembling a diverse bipartisan coalition, and winning the 2017 race for mayor as an independent for the first time in over a century. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Walsh about his first year in office, and what's to come in the next three, including his notion of a coming 'Syracuse Surge.'

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Blueprint 15 is an ambitious new project to reconstruct the neighborhood in Syracuse surrounding I-81, in order to combat poverty and reinvigorate the area. Several key stakeholders are beginning the process of giving more shape to the idea. This week, Grant Reeher talks with the leaders of two of those organizations. Bill Simmons is Executive Director of the Syracuse Housing Authority, and Meg O'Connell, Executive Director of the Allyn Family Foundation

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The new trade agreement between the United State, Mexico and Canada has been negotiated, but it still needs congressional approval. That will have to happen in a polarized political environment amidst an ongoing and bitter conflict over border security. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Chris Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. 

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The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse has rebounded from a financial crisis, and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary with a variety of new exhibits and an ambitious capital campaign. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Elizabeth Dunbar, Executive Director of the Everson. They discuss the turnaround and the current situation, and the museum's place in the cultural life of the Syracuse region. 

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Onondaga County has a new executive. Ryan McMahon took over the position in November, when former county executive Joanie Mahoney left office for a new job at SUNY ESF. McMahon comes to the position with experience at both the county and city levels, has a made a reputation for himself as a high energy deal maker. This week, Grant Reeher talks with McMahon about the assets and challenges that he's inherited, his leadership style, and what has most surprised the veteran lawmaker. 

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In 2006, Richard Bowen, an executive at Citigroup overseeing the underwriting of mortgages, saw some things that didn't look right, and he let the top leadership know. They reacted against him, and the mortgage industry all but collapsed in 2007. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Bowen about being a financial whistleblower, and what he and the country have learned since. 

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The 2019 legislative session in Albany promises to yield some important new policies for the state, including major reforms to elections, campaigns, ethics, and healthcare. This week, Grant Reeher is joined by Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) and Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) to discuss this year's legislative session. 

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After 9/11, artist Robert Shetterly was inspried to begin a series of portraits he called "Americans Who Tell the Truth."  The collection grew to 238, and he's still painting them. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Shetterly about what motivates him, how he goes about painting his subjects and what the works have meant to him and to others.

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How do the Trump Administration's actions on trade in combination with Brexit affect Britain's trade with the United States? How important is trade with Britain for central New York? And what does a longtime British diplomat admire about the United States. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Antony Phillipson, Britain's trade commissioner for North America, and the U.K.'s Consul General in New York. 

Dave Valesky (D-Oneida) has represented the state Senate's 53rd District since 2005, but is leaving office after being defeated in a September primary by state Senator-elect Rachel May. This week, Valesky joins grant Reeher to talk about his career in the Senate, and politics in general in Albany. 

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In recent decades, there have been some tectonic changes in Britain's system of government. It has devolved many powers down to its constituent nations, and to some of its cities. More recently, it has struggled with its relationship with the European Union. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with David Mundell, Britain's Secretary of State for Scotland, and a member of the government team working on Brexit. 

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When we think about America's international relations in Asia, the discussion usually focuses on China and North Korea. But India is a key nation in the region, and could prove centrally important in our future relations there. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India in New York City. 

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