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At the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, we bring together top Republicans and Democrats to transcend partisan divisions and explore solutions to our most pressing national and global challenges. Join veteran strategists Bob Shrum and Mike Murphy along with other Center staff and major voices in the Bully Pulpit for fun conversations that advance civil dialogue and practical politics. When President Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase bully pulpit, bully meant “wonderful”; and Roosevelt, according to the Oxford Dictionary, was envisioning “an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.” Hear from famous people who’ve known success and setbacks, whether they worked for Donald Trump or Barack Obama, G.W. Bush or Bill Clinton, the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. The conversations go behind the curtain with elected officials, campaign staff, journalists, academics, pundits, and political operatives. Every exchange is guided by standards central to the Center’s mission: Respect each other and respect the truth. Opponents are adversaries, not enemies. And if you lose, don’t burn down the stadium. The Bully Pulpit was formerly called Election R&D.

Apr 3, 2023

In honor of Women’s History Month, CPF hosts a discussion with former California State Senators Martha Escutia and Fran Pavley on the role of women in politics and the challenges they face as leaders. They discuss how they got involved in politics, Sen. Pavley's landmark work on environmental and climate change legislation, and how they overcame challenges they faced as women legislators in the California Assembly and State Senate.


  • Fran Pavley: Former California Senator (2008-2016); Environmental Policy Director, USC Schwarzenegger Institute
  • Martha Escutia: Former California Senator (1992-2006); Vice President, USC State Government Relations and Special Counsel; Spring 2023 Fellow, USC Center for the Political Future
  • Kamy Akhavan: Executive Director, Center for the Political Future