About this episode:

We are in a global race for innovation, and, if we do not prepare—and we can’t wait for kids to graduate high school and college—we need that work now.”

– Career coach and entrepreneur Natalie Pryce

The city of Bridgeport—the second largest in the state of Connecticut—was once an industrial powerhouse. Fueled by New Deal-era federal investment, Bridgeport became home to companies that supported our armed forces during World War II. After the war, and through the mid-1960s, Bridgeport needed so much skilled labor that people arrived from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico to live and work there.

But, in the 1970s, Bridgeport fell into despair. Companies left town and took most of the skilled jobs with them. Whole blocks of the city’s industrial center closed down and high unemployment followed. And, adding insult to injury, Bridgeport lost a thriving downtown where new businesses could start up and restaurants and other attractions could drive a civic renaissance.

In their book, Healing American Democracy: Going Local, authors Mike Hais, Doug Ross, and Morley Winograd describe how constitutional localism is moving decision-making and governing authority away from Washington to our cities. The result? Our localities are beginning to thrive, businesses are succeeding where—for decades—they had previously failed. Best of all, cities and small communities are becoming places where people want to live and do meaningful work. In a segment not previously streamed on The Tightrope podcast, Doug and Morley describe how Bridgeport is one of many American cities that is going local to again make it an attractive place to live and work.

We also meet a young entrepreneur who has her own take on Bridgeport’s efforts at driving localism. Career counselor and business owner Natalie Pryce describes some of the challenges the city continues to face for it to again be a thriving and scaling business and residential community.

In this episode:

  • Doug and Morley describe Bridgeport’s steps at achieving localism [starts at 3:15]
  • Natalie offers her sobering perspective on Bridgeport’s localism efforts [starts at 9:30]

About our guests:

Going Local To Create Meaningful WorkGoing Local To Create Meaningful WorkDoug Ross and Morley Winograd are nationally known and respected political practitioners who cross solid data and wishful thinking to paint a hopeful portrait of America based on the idea of constitutional localism.

Ross was a state senator from Michigan and a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Winograd was a Michigan state political party chair and White House Senior Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore. Along with their co-author Mike Hais, they’ve written six books between them.

The authors have appeared as guests on CNN, The Today Show, PBS News Hour, and Univision. They have also been featured in stories in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, USA Today, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Natalie Pryce is a self-described introvert who by her own admission did not fair well in grade school. Yet, she learned grit by playing outdoor sports with the boys is her neighborhood, and, early computer coding with her brother. She fought against all of the obstacles of her youth to become a bold and engaging TedX speaker, a trailblazing entrepreneur, and a passionate career coach who successfully reengages downsized work professionals, at a rate exceeding 90 percent. Natalie received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Central Connecticut State University. She lives and works in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

EPISODE DATE: November 22, 2019

Doug and Morley’ social media:

Healing American Democracy: Going Local

Book website

Natalie’s social media:

Website

LinkedIn page

Photo credits: Community, City of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Bridgeport downtown, iStockPhoto; Natalie Pryce Portrait, Olivier Kpognon; Portrait, Doug Ross; Portrait, Morley Winograd.