The Public Policy Forum of Crested Butte
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Bringing Speakers to the Gunnison Valley Since 2003

Wednesday, June 28, 2017



Originally from Chicago, former Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz earned a BS in marketing from the University of Colorado School of Business in 1971. Upon locating to Western Colorado, she started a family, developed policies and a significant inventory of affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley, and was engaged in community service.

In 1995 Gov. Roy Romer appointed Schwartz to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education representing Western Colorado. In 2000 Gail was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents from the Third Congressional District. In 2006 she was elected to the State Senate from District Five, representing 11 counties of Western and Southern Colorado, and was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2010. During her tenure she served as Majority Whip for two years and chaired and served on numerous Senate committees.

Sen. Schwartz has a distinguished legislative record in education, water, natural resources, and energy, including the “BEST Bill” — Building Excellent Schools Today — which has built over $1.25 billion of new K-12 schools, revived civic pride, and jump-started the economies of rural communities throughout Colorado.

As a resident of the Western Slope for over 40 years, Gail continues to dedicate herself to making Western and Southern Colorado the best possible place to live, work, raise a family, and educate our children. Her integrity and record bespeak a continuing commitment to preserving Colorado’s majestic environment, protecting its water, natural resources and agricultural economy, and building strong rural communities. Gail and Alan, her husband of 35 years, reside in Crested Butte.  

  Wednesday, July 5, 2017



An entrepreneur of ideas and avowed foodie, Sara Brito is cofounder and president of the Good Food Media Network, a nonprofit  organization that produces and publishes the Good Food 100 Restaurants™.  Sara is a 20-year veteran of the food (Chefs Collaborative, The Kitchen, Snooze) and advertising/digital media (Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Digitas) industries and has worked with Fortune 100 companies (American Express, The New York Times, AOL), with a successful track record leading people and change to make big ideas happen.

While serving on the Board of Slow Food NYC, she cocreated and launched The Slow Food Snail of Approval program, a designation given to restaurants, bars and food and beverage artisans that contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York. Under Sara's leadership, Chefs Collaborative was nominated for the 2016 Taste Talks inaugural Outstanding Nonprofit award.  Three of her past clients -- The Kitchen, Domino's and Vail Resorts (EpicMix) -- were named to Fast Companies 2016 World's Most Innovative Companies list.

Her work has been featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine ("Broccoli's Extreme Makeover," 2013).  In 2015 she was invited by the US Department of State and the James Beard Foundation to speak at the American Chef Rally at ExpoMilano in Milan, Italy.  In 2017 she served on the steering committee of and participated in the inaugural Why Food Matters program at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Sara's roots in food began while growing up in a small, historic farming community in Western, NY, known as the Home of the Peach Festival.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 

Speaker: NAN ARON


Nan Aron is the founder and president of Alliance for Justice, a leading progressive voice on matters related to the federal judiciary and an expert on the legal framework, importance and assessment of nonprofit advocacy activities. Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association of over 100 organizations, has served the cause of justice and promoted democracy since 1979.

Aron is nationally recognized for her vast expertise in public interest law, the federal judiciary and citizen participation in public policy. She is the author of Liberty and Justice for All: Public Interest Law in the 1980s and Beyond (Westview Press, 1989) and has appeared as an expert in such media outlets as The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostUSA TodayThe Los Angeles TimesThe NationVanity Fair, and National Public Radio. She is also a frequent guest speaker at universities, law schools, corporations, nonprofits, and foundations.

Prior to founding Alliance for Justice, Nan was a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberty Union’s National Prison Project, where she challenged conditions in state prison systems through lawsuits in federal and state courts. As a trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she litigated race- and sex-discrimination cases against companies and unions in federal and district courts. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and a JD from Case Western Reserve.

                     Wednesday, July 19, 2017 


                                       COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM

Mark Fallon is the author of Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and US Government Conspired to Torture (Regan Arts). As deputy commander of the Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) charged with bringing suspected terrorists to justice in the War on Terror, Fallon had an inside view of the implementation of “enhanced interrogation techniques” at Guantanamo Bay and the deception employed to legalize these methods and hide them from public scrutiny.

Fallon is the director of the international strategic consultancy firm ClubFed, LLC, which specializes in assessing risks and developing mitigation strategies to guide clients during emerging critical incidents. Fallon also is a member of the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) Research Committee. Created by President Barack Obama in 2009 in the wake of scandals involving the torture of terrorism suspects in overseas US detention facilities, the HIG is made up of intelligence professionals under the aegis of the FBI and the National Security Council and strives to perfect more effective means of interrogating suspects.

For more than 30 years Fallon served the US government as a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agent, Department of Homeland Security senior executive, counterintelligence officer, counterterrorism operative, undercover agent, asset handler, and law enforcement specialist. He has been involved in some of the most significant counterterrorism operations in US history. Fallon has earned numerous honors and awards, including the Common Cause Commendation for Uncommon Courage , the US Secret Service Director’s Honor Award, and the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Award for Outstanding Achievement.

                                                             Wednesday, July 26, 2017 

                                                   Speaker: JOHN BELLINGER


John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the public international law and national security law practices of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington, DC. He is also adjunct senior fellow in international and national security law at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Bellinger served as legal adviser for the US Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from April 2005 to January 2009, having previously managed her Senate confirmation and codirected her State Department transition team. Bellinger represented the United States before the International Court of Justice and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal and negotiated a number of treaties and international agreements, including the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. He received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

Bellinger is a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law; one of four US members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague; and a member of the US "National Group," which nominates judges to the International Court of Justice. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Executive Council of the American Law Institute. Bellinger speaks regularly on US and foreign radio and television, has lectured at numerous US and foreign universities and law schools, has testified on numerous occasions before Congress, and is the author of many articles and op-eds on international law issues.

Bellinger received his AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, his JD from Harvard Law School and an MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
                                                     Speaker: GEORGE FRAMPTON  


George T. Frampton Jr.’s academic background combines science, economics and law. A former prosecutor (Watergate Special Prosecution Force) and litigating lawyer, he was senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, working in the firm’s climate and clean-energy practice (2009-2013). Formerly he was chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (1998-2001); assistant secretary of the Interior for fish, wildlife and parks (1993-1997); and president of The Wilderness Society (1987-1993). 

As assistant secretary of the Interior Frampton led the design and implementation of an effort to restore the Everglades, and the development and implementation of the Northwest (Old-Growth) Forest Protection Plan. As chair of CEQ he was deeply involved in the Roadless Forest Protection Rule (safeguarding over 50 million acres of public forestland), new tailpipe standards, and the designation by President Clinton of several dozen national monuments. In 2014 Frampton co-founded The Partnership for Responsible Growth, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC, dedicated to building public support for putting a national price on carbon emissions.

Frampton graduated from Yale College (BA in Physics), the London School of Economics (M.Sc. Econ, with Distinction, in Advanced Economic Theory) and Harvard Law School, JD, where he was Treasurer (Managing Editor) of the Harvard Law Review. In OT 1971 he served as Law Clerk to the Hon. Harry A. Blackmun, US Supreme Court. He lives in Washington, DC, and Aspen, Colorado, with his wife Carla D’Arista, a former investment banker and now independent scholar in Renaissance architectural history. He has two sons: an architect in New York City, and a public defender in New Orleans.

 Wednesday, August 9, 2017
                                                            Speaker: ILYSE HOGUE


Ilyse Hogue is an expert in organizing and mobilizing grassroots support around social-justice issues, including human rights, media reform and representation, and reproductive freedom. She has been president of NARAL Pro-Choice America since 2013 and previously has worked at advocacy organizations including MoveOn.org, Friends of Democracy and Media Matters. 

During her tenure at NARAL, Ilyse has pushed the national conversation around abortion access as one of fundamental human rights and self-determination for women. She has run successful campaigns demanding presidential debate moderators #AskAboutAbortion and supporting winning candidates for the US Senate in Nevada, New Hampshire, Maryland, and California who made reproductive freedom central to their campaigns in 2016. 

At the Democratic National Convention in 2016, Ilyse made history by sharing her own abortion story on the national stage, explaining that “it’s not as simple as bad girls get abortions and good girls have families. We are the same women at different times in our lives -- each making decisions that are the best for us.” 

Ilyse regularly contributes commentary to news outlets such as the The New York Times, CNN.com, The NationCosmopolitan, and ELLE Magazine. She was featured as one of ELLE Magazine’s “10 Most Powerful Women in D.C.” and was named on Washington Life Magazine’s Power 100 list. Ilyse serves on the board of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and the editorial board for The Nation magazine, the country’s oldest progressive news publication.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

                                        Panel Discussion: Tim Wirth and John Harte

"Climate is Energy: Energy is Climate"

Timothy Wirth is vice chair of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. Both organizations were founded in 1998 through a major financial commitment from Ted Turner to support and strengthen the work of the United Nations.

Wirth began his political career as a White House fellow under President Lyndon Johnson and served as deputy assistant secretary for Education in the Nixon administration. In 1970 Wirth returned to his home state of Colorado and successfully ran for the US House of Representatives in 1974. He represented Denver suburbs from 1975 to1987.

In 1986 Wirth was elected to the US Senate, where he focused on environmental issues, particularly global climate change and population stabilization. In 1988 he organized the historic Hansen hearings on climate change. With his close friend, the late Sen. John Heinz (R-PA), he authored “Project 88,” outlining the groundbreaking “cap-and-trade” idea, which became law in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. He authored the far-reaching Colorado Wilderness Bill of 1993, and with Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) as a co-sponsor, he authored major legislation focused on population stabilization.

He chose not to run for re-election in 1992, citing frustration with the ever-increasing role of money in politics to the exclusion of focus on public policy.

Following these two decades of elected politics, Wirth was national co-chair of the Clinton-Gore campaign and, from 1993 to 1997, served in the US Department of State as the first undersecretary for global affairs. He helped organize US foreign policy in the areas of refugees, population, environment, science, human rights, and narcotics. He chaired the United States delegation at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development and was the lead US negotiator for the Kyoto Climate Conference. He resigned from the administration in late 1997 to accept Ted Turner’s invitation to be president of the newly created United Nations Foundation, a position he held from 1998 to 2013.

Wirth is a graduate of Harvard College and received a PhD from Stanford University. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he was recently named a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme. An honored Crested Buttian, Wirth is married to Wren Wirth, president of the environmentally oriented Winslow Foundation. They have two grown children and five grandchildren.

John Harte is a Professor of Ecosystem Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He did his undergraduate studies at Harvard and his PhD at the University of Wisconsin.  He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Leo Szilard prize from the American Physical Society, and is a co-recipient of a 2006 George Polk award in investigative journalism. He is an elected Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He has also served on six National Academy of Sciences Committees and has authored over 220 scientific publications, including eight books, one of which, "Consider a Spherical Cow" is a widely used textbook on environmental modeling. John's research focuses on climate change, biodiversity, and maintaining ecosystem services for humanity.

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