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PPIC promotes constructive dialogue to generate solutions to pressing challenges.

In this contentious political moment, PPIC’s engagement efforts are more important than ever. We reach out to stakeholders, leaders, and experts around the state, both in person and online. Our events feature respectful, productive, and informed discussion of difficult issues.


PPIC’s Speaker Series on California’s Future brings together leaders across the political and geographic spectrum with a common goal—to think critically and collaboratively about realistic approaches to major issues and problems. In 2019, we focused on helping Californians understand how our state leaders identify and address our most important challenges.

Highlights include:

  • Conversations with legislative, executive, and judicial leaders. PPIC began the year by talking with Toni Atkins, president pro tem of the state senate, about working with the new governor on the state’s most important and timely issues. Ann O’Leary, Governor Newsom’s chief of staff, joined us to talk about the governor’s key priorities and plans. With assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, we looked at policy in the context of improving opportunity for all Californians. At the end of the year, we asked Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California’s chief justice, about the challenges and opportunities facing the courts today.
  • Preparing for the 2020 Census. As part of PPIC’s ongoing efforts to highlight the census, we hosted an event featuring Alex Padilla, secretary of state, and a panel of state leaders and other experts. The discussion focused on preparation already under way and additional steps that could ensure an accurate count.
  • Conversations about educational and economic opportunity. Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the State Board of Education, and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, joined us for a conversation about how the state’s educational sectors can work together to boost student success. PPIC also brought together a panel of experts for a forum on poverty and opportunity that focused on state efforts to assist struggling families and the challenges of reducing poverty.

Our 2019 Speaker Series attracted thousands of participants in person and online. Videos of the events were shared widely through social media. The series relies on the support of leading corporate and philanthropic partners.

Video Image: 2020 Election Preview

Jessica Patterson, Tamara Keith, Rusty Hicks, and Marisa Lagos speaking at the Sutton Family Speaker Series event

In addition, PPIC’s Sutton Family Speaker Series event offered a lively election preview from state political insiders and veteran political journalists. The conversation focused on the impact of California’s March primary on candidates, fundraising, and voter outreach.

Finally, the PPIC Water Policy Center’s annual conference provided a forum for thought-provoking discussion among a diverse group state and local experts about preparing California’s water system for climate of extremes. The conference was supported by the Water Policy Center’s annual contributors, and the discussions were informed by an overview report, Priorities for California’s Water.

As we begin a consequential election year, PPIC is poised to expand its engagement with a diverse group of experts and leaders to encourage conversations about public policies that improve opportunity for all Californians.

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