This year’s Summit was another successful weekend of debates, workshops, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and networking. Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia it departed from the former format of being in a large hotel. The expense of using the Convention Center precluded having meals and speakers which detracted from much of the networking aspect. The consensus was definitely to return to the style of Summit from 2010 in Harrisburg and 2011 in Pittsburgh.
The weekend kicked off with a debate between Attorney General candidates Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy at the Arch Street United Methodist Church. Murphy won the straw poll following the debate with 56%.
Saturday morning I arrived at the registration desk and spoke with DFA’s Jim Dean for a bit, Jonathon Saidel (who coordinated much of the planning from Philly) and others. A general meeting began at 9AM with Eileen Connolly, Chair of the Board of Keystone Progress and Mike Morrill its Executive Director. The guest speaker was Wisconsin Sen. John Erpenbach one of the Wisconsin 14.
Tables set up along the meeting concourse represented Summit sponsors and many progressive organizations, some local some national. Workshops went for 75 minutes and ran the gamut. In between I ran into old friends I hadn’t seen in years to those I see fairly regularly. I sat in many workshops and learned a lot. I also took pictures along the way. Saturday evening began with a comedy show hosted by Sen. Daylin Leach and featuring comics Katie Halper, Lee Camp and Jeffrey Kreisler. Lee Camp was absolutely hysterical. Manan Trivedi hosted an after party at a karaoke bar in nearby Chinatown and Daylin Leach took everyone deep into the night with yet another party.
I got the killer time slot of Sunday at 9 AM for Video 101: Media for Mobilizing. Susie Madrak was down ill so the intrepid Beth Becker pinch hit and was wonderful assisting me. Thanks to everyone who arose early to attend and the techies (Brett Banditelli) who got us going.
If you haven’t attended a Progressive Summit you’re missing a valuable tool for honing your skills, learning about tons of stuff useful in organizing and a golden opportunity to network with progressive leaders from across the state. I had lunch Saturday with Josh Cook of the Obama campaign and Jesse Lee and Jon Carson, both fresh in from the White House. Lee has been the blogger contact for President Obama so it was great to meet him personally even if only for a few minutes.
The pictures from the weekend:
Jim Dean (Howard’s brother):
The women’s health panel:
Panel on fracking:
The White House panel:
There was a great panel on dealing with activist burnout:
This panel was about lobbying from the legislator’s point of view:
Sen. Leach delivering a few zingers: