Breaking Bread: Looking For Common Ground On Climate Change, Health Care, Race

Listen Now
<p>(Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)</p>
<p>Breaking Bread panelists. Top row from left: Sandy Russell, Brian Pacini, Karina Gaylord. Bottom row, Adam Brock, Annette Gonzalez, Mehdi Khan.</p>

It's been tough lately for lawmakers in Washington's overheated political climate to come to a consensus on issues like climate change, health care and even race. So we decided to put the challenge to a politically divided group of seven Colorado citizens. It's part of a series of conversations we call "Breaking Bread" where we serve up dinner -- along with fresh bread -- to the group and see if they can find a political middle ground on issues.

The group met for the first time in May. Sandy Russell of Palmer Lake, Karina Gaylord of Arvada and Annette Gonzalez of Pueblo all voted for Trump. Collinus Newsome, Brian Pacini and Adam Brock all live in Denver and voted for Hillary Clinton. Mehdi Khan, of Aurora, voted for the Green party candidate.

The group returned for a second meal greeting familiar faces instead of strangers. They talked about their frustration with the health care system and the inability of Washington to come up with a solid blueprint for how to move forward on reform. The group shared their perspectives of race relations in the U.S. and both white and black members of the group shared experiences where they felt judged because of the color of their skin.

We were also joined by mediator Mark Gerzon of Boulder who's worked with Congress to help them find middle ground on issues. He's the author of "Leading Through Conflict" and "The Re-United States of America." He worked through an exercise with the group to see if they could find some consensus on climate change.

Join The Conversation

You can download a similar exercise here. It works this way: For each question, make a choice from the first set of two answers, then make a choice from the second set of four answers. Observe how it shifts your thinking after completing the questions on a topic. You can do this with people you are at odds with politically, and observe whether having more options results in more agreement. After you complete the exercise, we’d love the hear how it went. Download a copy of it here. Please call 720-358-4029 and leave us a message about your experience.