The Business and Leadership Policy Conference hosted annually by the Independent Voter Project in Maui, Hawaii, exists to bring legislators, policy advocates, and industry professionals together to exchange ideas and have substantive discussions on the greatest issues affecting California lawmakers, businesses, and state residents.
Though the discussion tends to focus on California, legislators and business professionals from other states are invited to share and learn. Legislators who attend the conference every year include both Republicans and Democrats and their goal is simple: work together to figure out what the best solutions are for California and their constituents.
So there may be no better venue to showcase Joe McGovern’s documentary, “The Other Side: A liberal democrat explores conservative America,” a film co-produced by IVN (co-published by the Independent Voter Project) and its 501(c)(3) co-publisher, the Foundation for Independent Voter Education (FIVE).
Joe McGovern, a California Democrat, hit the road in October 2014 with his dog, Charlie. He traveled approximately 20,000 miles over 5 months, through 35 states, and conducted over 80 interviews with conservative voters and lawmakers of all backgrounds.
Starting in July 2015, Joe partnered with IVN and FIVE, and was able to raise $50,000 to cover travel and production costs. He finished the documentary in October and it can be viewed in its entirety on the film’s website.
Joe’s project is eye opening; especially, when one turns on cable news on any channel. The conversation is always presented as Republican versus Democrat, right versus left, but Joe discovered that if we stop talking at each other and start talking to each other and truly pay attention to the “other side,” we will discover that those we disagree with are not so divisive or “evil.”
Joe presents a different way to talk about politics — a rational and objective way, a way that embraces the complexity and nuances of the very issues we think we are most divided on.
This idea is at the very foundation of why the Business and Leadership Policy Conference is held every year. Republican and Democratic legislators come together to discuss crucial issues, from public safety to energy to improving infrastructure and the economy for Californians, in an open and candid environment with the sole goal of forming practical and pragmatic solutions that benefit everyone.
The first 15 minutes of the film were not enough for the conference attendees. They wanted to watch the whole film. And who could blame them? Joe’s approach is refreshing and the legislators and industry professionals who attend IVP’s Business and Leadership Policy Conference every year can appreciate that.