Shadow Government

Thought leaders laying the groundwork for future policy change

Gigi Sohn

Gigi Sohn
Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy

If there’s one thread uniting the career of a woman widely viewed as the godmother of progressive tech policy in Washington, it’s her ability to bridge the vast chasms between industry, the advocacy community, and the federal government.

“I spend a lot of time building bridges between industry and public interests—and also between the public-interest groups themselves,” Sohn said…

Jeffrey Prescott

Jeffrey Prescott
Executive Director, National Security Action

National Security Action doesn’t have a flashy advertising campaign, nor does the organization stamp its logo on all of its research and polling. Executive Director Jeffrey Prescott never intended to “build a brand” around the group. Rather, he sees it as the “connective tissue” between academia, think tanks, national security officials, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill who focus on foreign policy and defense.

“The key is the ability to shape the conversation, the dialogue, and the conversation,” Prescott said…

Kavita Patel

Dr. Kavita Patel
Vice President, Johns Hopkins Health System

Dr. Kavita Patel has a simple piece of advice to navigate D.C.: “No. 1, don’t be an asshole.”

“You have to check your title, ego, and even in my case, my degrees, at the door, and think, this person got here, in this room, because they know something,” said the doctor and nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution. “What is it they know that I need to understand?”…

Kay Coles James

Kay Coles James
President, The Heritage Foundation

“We know—the data tells us—that people are largely far more conservative than they are willing to say out loud,” James said. “Literally and figuratively, I want to put a new face on what it means to be a conservative.” 

James is the first black president and the first female president of the Heritage Foundation, one of D.C.’s most visible and influential conservative think tanks…

Rhiana Gunn-Wright

Rhiana Gunn-Wright
Policy Director, New Consensus

“People don’t see the climate crisis as a problem with a bunch of root drivers so much as a technical problem—that is, you just figure out the numbers and just how to get renewable energy everywhere, then that’s the end of it,” she said. “A Green New Deal is going to create a lot of programs that are external-facing that people interact with, whether that is a jobs guarantee or whether that is programs to build solar panels.”…

Tiernan Sittenfeld

Tiernan Sittenfeld
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, League of Conservation Voters

As a top lobbyist at League of Conservation Voters, Sittenfeld is steadily emerged as a pivotal environmental operative in Washington. “We like to say elections have consequences,” Sittenfeld said. “It’s been extremely refreshing to get to work with this new pro-environment majority in the House and to start to go on offense, especially after eight years of climate deniers running the show.”…