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A Conference About Ideas That Will Shape Our Future

Policy in the Age of Trump

On April 26 and 27, Vox held its second Vox Conversations conference to assess what has changed, what hasn’t, and what comes next with a new administration in the White House.

Vox Conversations is an invitation-only event that assembles a diverse group of people from different areas of expertise, then provides an intimate setting to facilitate deeply engaging conversations in unconference sessions.

Rather than dictate a strict agenda, this “unconference” series lets the conversation emerge organically. The sessions are chosen, in real time, by participants based on their individual expertise and interests, because the best conversations are the ones people are passionate about having. And in Spring 2017, we had some passionate, wonky, and philosophical conversations. The unconference sessions were bookended with in-depth interviews and presentations from leading policy voices (see videos below):

  • In-depth interviews with key political leaders including US Senators Cory Booker, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Bill Cassidy
  • A focus on bipartisan representation, with leading conservative voices from Heritage Foundation Vice President James Wallner and American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks
  • Live taping of Vox podcast favorites including The Weeds and The Ezra Klein Show

Some of the unconference sessions that arose organically from participant conversations included:

  • Innovative approaches to the public health crisis surrounding opioid abuse, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and a focus on pain relief
  • What should Mark Zuckerberg do? How “fake news” and engagement algorithms are determining covering policy in an “alternative facts” era

  • A deep dive into the declining labor participation rate, what we know from work survey data, the role of the gig economy, and how America compares to other OECD countries
  • The future of immigration policy and its impact on America’s labor market and global standing

What participants are saying about Vox Conversations:

“The pure intellect in the room. I loved the openness of the conversation supported by evidence. There was a true sense of wanting to bring change on a variety of issues and actively seeking if was to build consensus on how to move the agenda forward” — Spring 2017 Participant

“I LOVED the other participants and featured participants, and everyone’s willingness to talk to each other, and to dive right into meaty conversations – in the sessions, during breaks, and during meals after.” — Spring 2017 Participant

  • A diverse group in an intimate setting where debates can unfold with their own momentum

  • Valuable connections with key players from a variety of sectors and industries

  • A cross-sector examination of how policy priorities affect key stakeholders

  • Original programming, including live recordings of podcasts

  • Meet-and-greet time with your favorite writers


Watch the Vox Conversations Spring 2017 Facebook Live videos here.

Further reading: Trumpcare’s long odds in the Senate, explained by a Republican senator

Featured Participants

Cory Booker, U.S. Senator, New Jersey

A social-media-savvy politician known for documenting his every step on Twitter, Booker first caught the nation’s attention as the mayor of Newark, N.J. With his reputation as a bipartisan problem-solver in the Senate, he’s now garnering comparisons to President Barack Obama.

Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Twice named one of the Top 50 thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics by Politico, Boushey focuses her research on economic inequality and public policy. Her latest book is “Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict.”

Arthur C. Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute

The bestselling author of 11 books on government, economic opportunity, happiness and the morality of free enterprise, Brooks is known for shaking up conventional conservative wisdom. He also openly advocates that liberals and conservatives need each other.

Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator, Louisiana

A senior senator from Louisiana known for drawing on his experience as a physician to push for increased coverage at lower costs, Cassidy has provided care for uninsured and underinsured patients in Louisiana’s charity hospital system for nearly three decades.

Pramila Jayapal, U.S. Representative, Washington

The first Indian-American woman in the House of Representatives, Jayapal is a leading advocate for women’s, immigrants’, civil and human rights. She also founded the nonprofit OneAmerica in the wake of post-9/11 discrimination and civil liberties abuses against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians.

Evan McMullin, Co-Founder, Stand Up Republic

Evan McMullin ran as an independent conservative in the 2016 presidential election, receiving 20 percent of the vote in his home state of Utah. Formerly the chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, he co-founded Stand Up Republic, an organization dedicated to upholding democratic ideals, norms and institutions.

Kasim Reed, Mayor, City of Atlanta

Now in his second term as mayor of Atlanta, and considered one of the Democrats’ brightest stars, Reed took the city from a $48 million budget shortfall to four years of balanced budgets and $127 million in cash reserves — all without increasing property taxes.

Holly Rehder, State Representative, Missouri

A conservative Christian businesswoman who openly shares her story of growing up on welfare and becoming a mother at 16, Rehder has fought to update antiquated labor laws, reform welfare, fund mental health needs and enact a prescription-drug monitoring program in Missouri.

Avik Roy, President, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity

Widely praised on both the right and the left for his work as a policy advisor, Roy heads a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank that conducts original research on expanding opportunity to those who least have it.

James Wallner, Group Vice President for Research, The Heritage Foundation

An expert in public policy, James Wallner oversees research focused on developing and advancing policies to further free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator, Rhode Island

Known for playing a pivotal role in the crafting and implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Whitehouse also works on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to strengthen struggling schools and prevent students from falling behind.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

11:30 AM
Doors Open and Light Lunch
12:00 PM
Welcome and Participant Introductions
12:40-1:25 PM
Featured Sessions
1:25-1:45 PM
Coffee Break
1:45-4:15 PM
Unconference Sessions
4:25-5:20 PM
Featured Presentation and Interview
5:15-6:15 PM
Beer and Wine Reception
6:15-7:15 PM

Thursday, April 27, 2017

8:30 AM
Doors Open and Breakfast
9:30-10:25 AM
Welcome Day 2 and LIVE taping of The Weeds!
10:25-10:50 AM
Coffee Break
11:00-11:50 AM
Unconference Sessions
12:00-12:45 PM
Featured Sessions
12:45-1:50 PM
2:00-3:50 PM
Unconference Sessions
3:50-4:15 PM
Bar Opens
4:20-6:10 PM
6:10 - 6:30 PM
Participant Town Hall
Beer and Wine Reception

For speaker inquires, please send a pitch in 100 words or less to The Vox Media LIVE! programming team reviews submissions on an ongoing basis.


Vox Conversations standard registration fee is $750 and includes access to conference sessions, scheduled meal functions, and social events. A discounted rate of $450 is available for those who work in the social sector including nonprofits, government and academia.

Join the conversation at #voxconversations


There are a number of hotels at different price ranges within walking distance to the event venue.

Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel – $350-$450/night
Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
Direct – (202) 742-3100
Reservations – (800) 706-1202

Kimpton Rouge Hotel – $350-$400/night
16th Street, NW Washington, D.C.
Direct – (202) 232-8000
Reservations – (800) 738-1202

Holiday Inn Washington-Central/White House – $200-$300/night
Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
Direct – (202) 483-2000
Reservations – (800) 972-3159

Click the image below to go to Eater’s list of hottest restaurants to dine in Washington, D.C.

Supporting Partner


Vox Media LIVE! creates memorable partner experiences that promote smart thought leadership and meaningful brand integrations. Through compelling content, meaningful discussion, collaboration, and networking, Vox Conversations brings together a high-profile group of attendees, speakers and press. And our sponsors have access to all of them!

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