Reach A Better State
2 Days of Lively Discussion
The Cap Times Idea Fest returned to the UW-Madison campus for a second year – this time at Memorial Union, the Pyle Center and the Wisconsin Historical Society. Some two dozen individual sessions about politics, equity, the economy, the environment, culture and more will explore the central theme of how to “Reach a Better State.”
Highlights include David Axelrod, Kevin Conroy, Jim Doyle, Charles Franklin, Michael Johnson, David Maraniss, Tia Nelson and Karen Olivo.
Talk with attendees and speakers outside the formal sessions. Additional activities include a Friday night trivia contest and hip-hop soul DJ dance party, plus a reception on Saturday.
All-weekend pass guarantees access to all sessions including trivia, dance party and reception, plus a free t-shirt. Tickets are purchased through UW-Madison Campus Arts Ticketing.
Friday, Sep. 28
Smarter Than You Trivia
Smarter Than You Trivia is one of Madison’s favorite trivia experiences, and Paul Guse is bringing it to Cap Times Idea Fest. Assemble your team and test the depths of your knowledge to win fabulous prizes including bad CDs from the 90s and maybe even some snacks reviewed in Rob Thomas’ “Yeah, I Ate That” column. There will be live musical covers and a cash bar. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged owing to limited space. Click here to register a team.
The State of American Politics 2018
Our keynote session featuring some of the sharpest political observers in the country discussing Election 2018 and much more.
Saturday, Sep. 29
Wisconsin’s environment and communities of color
A conversation about the particular impact of climate change and environmental problems on the state’s communities of color.
Panelists: Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, Gloria Castillo Posada, Monica White
Broadway, ‘Hamilton’ and Forward
A conversation with Tony Award-winning actress Karen Olivo about her career and the future of Wisconsin theater, led by Forward Theater Artistic Director Jennifer Uphoff Gray.
Once Upon a Time: The future of children’s literature
In recent decades, literature aimed at children has taken a place on the center stage of popular culture. A conversation with leading authors, a librarian and a scholar about that evolution and where it will lead.
One-on-one with Jim Doyle
A conversation with Wisconsin’s 44th governor, and the last Democrat to hold the office, about the state of Wisconsin, led by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Maraniss, a Madison native who is associate editor of the Washington Post.
Alumni Park Tour
Expand your Idea Fest experience through a guided tour of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Alumni Park. Explore fifty museum-quality exhibits featuring UW-Madison alumni, traditions and innovations. Learn how UW-Madison alumni have lived the “Wisconsin Idea” in government, social policy, science, culture, and more. Drop-in tour lasts roughly 30 minutes.
What’s the next step to fix juvenile justice in Wisconsin?
Problems with the juvenile justice system in Wisconsin have been at the forefront of public conversation since an FBI investigation into conditions at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and its sister facility, the Copper Lake School for Girls, that ultimately led Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature to close the two facilities effective in 2021. This panel will discuss what needs to happen next, including discussion of how Missouri handled a similar crisis years ago.
The role of business in advancing racial equity in Dane County
It is well-known that there are vast racial disparities between blacks and whites in Dane County on a variety of measures, the result of structural racism embedded in our culture. Local businesses have a role to play in ensuring that all have the opportunity to lead their best life regardless of race. Using the Race to Equity Roadmap as a foundation, this panel will explore, discuss and commit to actions that local businesses can take to advance racial equity in Dane County.
Panelists: Ruben Anthony, Shiva Bidar, Zach Brandon, Ana Hooker, Erica Nelson
One-on-one with Paul Soglin
Paul Soglin is Madison’s mayor and has been for three separate stints since the 1970s, making him the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. He does not plan to run for re-election in 2019. Cap Times Editor Emeritus, Dave Zweifel, who has reported on Soglin throughout his career, will lead this look at the past and the city’s future.
What Wisconsin voters are thinking
A conversation with the director of the highly regarded Marquette Law School Poll less than six weeks before state voters go the polls to elect a governor, a U.S. Senator and hundreds of other officials.
Will Foxconn be worth it for Wisconsin?
Is the $4 billion the state has committed to Taiwanese high-tech manufacturer a crucial investment in the future of the state and its workers or a colossal waste of taxpayer money? A panel with widely ranging views discusses the state’s biggest economic story of the year.
How is technology changing us?
From medical advances to virtual reality, gaming, political advertising and online dating, a discussion about how technology is not only changing what we do but how we think.
Panelists: Seth Hain, Young Mie Kim, Dan Norton, Kevin Ponto, Catalina Toma
Have vouchers and charters helped Wisconsin students?
For two decades, Wisconsin has been at the forefront of national change and controversy about how to fund and structure public education. Panelists with widely ranging viewpoints discuss the results for the state’s students.
Panelists: Kaleem Caire, Rose Fernandez, Tim Slekar, CJ Szafir, Peggy Wirtz-Olsen
One-on-one with Ron Johnson — CANCELED
Due to this weekend’s planned votes in Washington, D.C. on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, we learned Friday that Sen. Johnson will not be able to join us at Cap Times Idea Fest.
El Futuro Es Nuestro
How do we foster human connections, across sectors, to address and uplift community needs that are unique to our current social and political climate in Wisconsin? In this discussion, four LatinX leaders from radically different sectors will share how they have seen art, technology, academia and activism come together to form a prism for growth, empowerment and change on local and statewide levels.
Panelists: Marcela Garcia, Daniel Guerra, Alberto Maldonado, Christine Neumann-Ortiz
One-on-one with Michael Johnson
The widely admired former CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County talks with Cap Times City Editor Katie Dean about Madison’s efforts to achieve racial equity, looking back now after his recent move to Cincinnati for a top job there.
20 years of stem cells: What we know and what we have yet to learn
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the breakthrough research on stem cells by researchers led by James Thomson at UW-Madison. Explore how predictions of the “stem cell revolution” have played out in this panel discussion with UW experts.
Is it time to start paying college athletes?
Over the past century, collegiate sports have become woven deep into the fabric of American culture (Wisconsin included) at the same time that they have become a mammoth business. A growing chorus of voices are calling for “student-athletes” to start receiving some of that wealth, but at what cost would that come? This conversation among three former college athletes, some of whom still work closely with athletics, will look at multiple sides of that question.
Which media can I trust?
Donald Trump’s election and presidency have put the news media in the spotlight like never before. A conversation among media experts with widely varying views about sources of information both reliable and dangerous.
Panelists: Jerry Bader, Mary Bottari, James Causey, Shannon Sims, Michael Wagner
How can Wisconsin businesses get the workers they need?
A wide-ranging discussion among leaders and analysts in manufacturing, business, and education about how the state can solve its deep worker shortage problem.
One-on-one with Kevin Conroy
Kevin Conroy is the CEO of Exact Sciences – the maker of the colon cancer screener Cologuard – one of Dane County’s largest employers and a prominent example of the economic promise of high tech business. Leading biotech journalist Luke Timmerman will talk to Conroy about the future of Wisconsin’s tech sector and what’s next for Exact Sciences.
Indigenous food in Wisconsin – a look ahead
Native American tribes nationwide are not only reclaiming traditional foods but bringing those crops and dishes into the larger culture. A discussion about what’s happening in Wisconsin followed by demonstrations and samples. (Note that this session runs for two hours and 15 minutes.)
Panelists: Jamie Betters, Yusuf Bin-Rella, Dan Cornelius, Kristina Stanley
How Wisconsin can get Millennials to swipe right
Some say that Wisconsin’s greatest export is its children — a notion that refers to the trend that millennials grow up, get educated here, and then ultimately migrate to other cities. In this conversation, four millennial leaders who were raised in Wisconsin and who have found success elsewhere will come together to discuss what attracts them to other cities and how Wisconsin can unlock its potential in retaining and attracting young talent.
What Would Wisconsin Progressives Do If They Suddenly Had Power?
A conversation about 2018 and beyond with outspoken advocates in Washington and Madison: Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and State Representative Chris Taylor, the ranking Assembly Democratic member of the Joint Finance Committee.
What should the fire department of the future look like?
Firefighters are by many measures the most widely revered public servants, yet actually fighting fires has become an increasingly small portion of their workload over the years. Two analysts and the head of the statewide firefighters union discuss how communities deliver this vital service in conjunction with emergency medicine.
Climate change and Wisconsin
A conversation with Tia Nelson, the head of the Madison-based Outrider Foundation, which makes education about climate change one of its central missions. Nelson was the first director of the Global Climate Change Initiative, which brought her the EPA’s Climate Protection Award in 2000. She later returned home to Wisconsin to serve as executive secretary to the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which included a gubernatorial appointment as co‐chair of Wisconsin’s Task Force on Global Warming.
Socialize with attendees and speakers at a beautiful location overlooking Lake Mendota. Hors d’oeuvres served and cash bar available. Music by Brandon Beebe.