Stauber And Phillips Congressional Staff Participate in First-Ever Congressional Depolarization Workshop

November 13, 2019
Press Release

HERMANTOWN, MN – Recently, 14 congressional staffers – six from the field offices of Congressman Pete Stauber (R, MN-08) and eight from the Minnetonka office of Congressman Dean Phillips (D, MN-03) – gathered to participate in a day-long depolarization workshop facilitated by the non-profit citizens’ organization, Better Angels

Stauber and Phillips are serving their first terms Washington. Both Congressmen have heard loud and clear from Minnesotans who want their elected leaders to put partisan politics aside and get things done, and when Better Angels co-founder Bill Doherty presented the opportunity to build a foundation of understanding and respect between their district offices, the two members jumped at the chance.

“As Americans, our commonalities far outweigh our differences,” said Stauber. “While there is a lot of hyper-partisanship in Congress right now, I remain committed to identifying areas in which both sides of the aisle hold common ground and working with all of my colleagues to pass legislation that will benefit every American. I am incredibly thankful to my friend Dean Phillips and his staff for joining mine in this important workshop and for sharing our vision of a more unified nation.”

“My office is grounded on the principle that representation begins with listening and the belief that no party has a monopoly on good ideas,” said Phillips. “What you hear on cable news is different than what you hear in cul de sacs – there’s immense value in having the hard conversations respectfully, and in finding common ground on which to build good policy. I’m grateful to my extraordinary staff, to my friend and colleague Pete Stauber, and to the Stauber team, for leading by example and being partners in the mission to elevate what unites us.”

Stauber and Phillips staff participate in pair discussions.

At the meeting in Forest Lake, the group put aside politics as usual to focus on Better Angels’ nonpartisan listening and conversation curriculum. Exercises are designed to help participants better understand the point of view of those on the other side of the political divide, engage those with whom they disagree, uncover common ground.

"This was the first-ever Better Angels workshop in Congress,” said Bill Doherty, University of Minnesota professor, Co-Founder of Better Angels, and co-moderator of the Phillips-Stauber session. “We thought starting with staff members would create momentum, and indeed it has. When I tell community members about this gathering, they break into applause."

In Congress, Stauber and Phillips are members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, have worked together on legislation that fully funds special education, repeals the medical device tax, and expands access to mental health and addiction treatment.