Mastering the art of storytelling to drive change.

A feeling of gratitude on the fifth anniversary of Unlock Congress

04 / 14 / 2020

On Tax Day, 2015, WhyNotBooks and I were thrilled to publish Unlock Congress. The release date was no accident — the central metaphor of the book depicted a defective government product that we as American taxpayers are compelled to pay for. Meanwhile, between seven and 11 percent of us have confidence in the U.S. Congress. 

Our recourse? The civic warranty spelled out in the U.S. Constitution that allows us to band together, when necessary, to reform the rules — in order to restore the system. 

I do not write today about the extraordinary progress that’s been made by the reform community or the steep challenges that we still face. Instead, I write simply to thank each and every one of you whom I’ve had the honor and pleasure to meet and work with over the last five years.

It’s hard to describe just how grateful I am to readers, scholars, professors, researchers, reformers, organizers, students, journalists, program hosts, legislative staff and members of the U.S. Congress. 

For all of the inspiration and memories you have afforded me along this exhilarating journey, my deepest and most sincere thanks!    

Out of many, one,


The students at Elmhurst College were the very first to listen to my presentation on Unlock Congress
John Hook of KSAZ FOX-TV in Phoenix. Arizona welcomes me onto Newsmaker Sunday.
Hanging out with Benedictine University students after speaking on campus at the Center for Civic Leadership.
An hour conversation with host Dan Proft on Against The Current.
My dear friends Brad and Amy Herzog, whose company WhyNotBooks edited and published Unlock Congress.
At American University in Washington, D.C. with my mentor, Norman J. Ornstein, the foremost congressional scholar in the country.
Joining the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson for his Sunday Spin show on WGN-AM.
Students from Elmhurst College attending the Unlock Congress release party in Chicago’s West Loop.
Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton (left) and former Senator Adlai Stevenson III, who extended to me a Senior Fellowship at the Stevenson Center on Democracy.
Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl joining my class at Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies.
At WGN-TV in Chicago with Paul Lisnek and Jordan Muck, the host and producer of Politics Tonight.