No Labels establishes Georgetown chapter, aims to foster bi-partisan dialogue

March 19, 2015

The nonpartisan political organization No Labels, a “national movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to a new politics of problem solving” according to its website, established a chapter at Georgetown on March 2 and is currently accepting leadership position applications.

No Labels Georgetown is among the first of one hundred chapters to be established on college campuses, according to Region Director of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Max Rosner (SFS ‘18). “No Labels has decided within the past few weeks that college chapters would be a great auxiliary to the organization, and this is the beginning of a grassroots campaign,” he wrote in an email to the Voice.

According to Rosner, the group will host joint social events and policy panels with existing political organizations on campus, in addition to attracting speakers. The chapter will help provide internship opportunities for students interested in working for more than 70 congressmen who No Labels certifies as “Problem Solvers,” meaning they have agreed to No Labels’ principles and have endorsed their national strategic agenda.

No Labels Georgetown could play a key role in moderating on-campus political dialogue, according to Vice President Musa Bassey (COL ‘18). “Instead of having an environment in which all the people you’re talking to basically agree with you,” he said, “I want us to have events in which people can talk about why they hold their beliefs without being interrupted.”

Bassey listed three ways in which the organization will work to build trust across the political spectrum. The first step is to set up an online message board for political dialogue. Second, the organization will host events and parties for people from different political groups to socialize with each other. Third, further programming will supplement existing debates and roundtables between existing political groups. “From there, we can go on to talk about how to specifically look at certain problems, such as climate change,” he wrote.

According to its website, “No Labels has a unique view on the root causes of dysfunction in our government and the required solutions.” The organization as a whole has suggested a four-point National Strategic Agenda: creating 25 million new jobs in the next decade, funding social security and medicare for the next 75 years, balancing the federal budget by 2030, and making America energy secure by 2024.

Both the Campus Democrats and the College Republicans welcome the opportunities No Labels will provide. “This will be a great opportunity to promote cooperation on issues that have traditionally experience partisan gridlock,” College Dems Vice President Tracey Zhang (SFS ‘17) said. “[The effort] reflects on many Georgetown students’ commitment to finding practical solutions to pertinent issues rather than get caught up in ideological stalemates.”

GUCR Chair Amber Athey (COL ‘16) recognized the need to overcome political division. “There is political division everywhere, including our campus; GUCR’s goal is to provide a community for conservatives and help promote conservative ideology on campus,” she wrote in an email to the Voice.

Athey believes in the ability of Georgetown students to listen to each other and said GUCR would be willing to have a dialogue with No Labels and the College Dems.

“Everyone agrees that it’s hard to accomplish anything in the current political atmosphere,” she wrote. “However, this seems to be an issue stemming from increasing ideological polarization as opposed to an inability to work together.”

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Max Rosner