For a lively debate on the biggest political issues of the day, consider Donna Brazile and Michael Steele for your next event.
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Donna Brazile is one of the best known, most influential African-American women in modern American political life. She was named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, D.C.,” by Washingtonian Magazine and one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in America” by Essence Magazine. Ms. Brazile is a frequent political commentator, the Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and most recently, she's taken a bold step to serve as a commentator on Fox News, a decision "rooted in the belief that you cannot make progress, let alone reach compromise, without first listening to, and understanding those who disagree with you on critical issues."
As former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Michael Steele was charged with revitalizing the Republican Party. He is an expert on political strategy, fund-raising, PACs, and election reform. Steele made history in 2003 as the first African American elected to statewide office in Maryland, and again with his subsequent chairmanship of the RNC. A self-described "Lincoln Republican," he also served as Chairman of the GOPAC. Under Steele's leadership, the RNC broke fundraising records in the 2010 cycle by raising more than $192 million and Republicans won 63 House seats, the biggest pickup since 1938.
Veteran political strategist Donna Brazile is the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the author of The New York Times bestseller Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House. She is also the author of the 2004 best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics. She is a co-author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics.
Ms. Brazile has devoted her life to working for progressive change, responsible governance, and the advancement of all people in a society that is fair and equitable. Brazile first got involved in politics at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the playground was built, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Brazile has worked on every major presidential campaign since 1976 and in 2000 Ms. Brazile became the first African American woman to serve as the manager of a major party presidential campaign, running the campaign of former Vice President Al Gore.
Ms. Brazile loves working with young people, encouraging them to vote, to run for office, and to work within the system to strengthen it. She has lectured at over 200 colleges and universities across the country on such topics as “Inspiring Civility in American Politics,” “Race Relations in the Age of Obama,” “Why Diversity Matters,” and “Women in American Politics.” In 2013, Ms. Brazile was appointed by President Obama to serve on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She is also the proud recipient of more than ten honorary doctorate degrees from major colleges and universities, including her alma mater Louisiana State University. In October 2017, Ms. Brazile was the recipient of the W.E.B Du Bois Medal, Harvard’s highest honor in African American studies. Brazile has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University since 2002 and spent the fall of 2017 serving as a Joan Shorenstein fellow in Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. O, The Oprah Magazine chose Ms. Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement. In 2016, Ms. Brazile was awarded Wonk of the Year from the Kennedy Political Union at American University.
Ms. Brazile has worked passionately on behalf of her beloved hometown of New Orleans. In the aftermath of the two catastrophic hurricanes that devastated the Gulf region, Ms. Brazile was appointed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Board to work for the rebuilding of the state and to advocate for the Gulf recovery on the national stage. Ms. Brazile was also appointed by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to serve on the Tricentennial Commission.
Ms. Brazile was formerly a contributor to ABC News, CNN, and a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal U’Click. Most recently she's joined Fox News as a commentator to, as she wrote in her announcement, "Listen more, talk less. Be civil to one another. Find common ground." She moonlights as an actress and is especially honored to have made three cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife, and two cameo appearances on Netflix’s series House of Cards. She most recently appeared on BET's Being Mary Jane. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.
Ms. Brazile is the founder and director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.
Michael Steele served as the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, and former Lieutenant governor of Maryland, and the first African American elected to statewide office in Maryland. Until recently he was President and CEO of The Steele Group, a consulting firm working with institutional and individual clients to design overall business development, investor, networking, and communications strategies.
Mr. Steele is currently a political analyst for MSNBC. Mr. Steele’s ability as a communicator and analyst have long been showcased by his position as a contributor on the Fox News Channel and as a regular host for the Salem Radio Network’s nationally syndicated Morning in America Show. Additionally, Mr. Steele has been an entertaining and eloquent guest on cable political talk shows such as HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and Comedy Central’s Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
As chairman of the RNC, Mr. Steele was charged with revitalizing the Republican Party. A self-described “Lincoln Republican,” under Steele’s leadership the RNC broke fundraising records (over $198 million raised during the 2010 Congressional cycle) and Republicans won 63 House seats, the biggest pickup since 1938. His commitment to grassroots organization and party building at the state and local levels produced 12 governorships and the greatest share of state legislative seats since 1928 (over 600 seats).
As Lt. Governor of Maryland, Mr. Steele’s priorities included reforming the state’s Minority Business Enterprise program, improving the quality of Maryland’s public education system (he championed the State’s historic Charter School law), expanding economic development in the state and fostering cooperation between government and faith-based organizations to help those in need.
Mr. Steele writes a regular column for The Root.com and BET.com and his writings on law, business and politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Politico.com, Townhall.com, ,The Journal of International Security Affairs and Catholic University Law Review, among others. He is the recent author of Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda, which is a call to arms for grassroots America.
Born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Mr. Steele was raised in Washington, DC. He spent three years in the Order of St. Augustine in preparation for the priesthood. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University (‘81’), Georgetown Law Center (’91), and an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership. Mr. Steele is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Landover Hills, MD, where he attends mass regularly with his wife Andrea.