Bipartisan Leadership Project Introduction


We are not victims of the “system”. We believe Americans are not powerless in combating the divisive political conflict that often distracts and blocks action to address our real-world needs. This conflict often contaminates relationships between elected officials at all levels as well as between friends and within families – but it doesn’t have to. Conflicts in our society and in government have always been present and always will be. Conflict can be healthy, for it often produces solutions that are better than any “side” initially imagined. The challenge isn’t to get rid of conflict. The challenge for elected officials, family members, and citizens is how to embrace and manage conflict to produce constructive solutions.


The Bipartisan Leadership Project (BLP) is reducing political polarization in this country by equipping a new generation of political leaders with skills and commitment to find the common good and achieve meaningful results.


The BLP is a non-profit organization created by political activists in both parties who have seen first-hand the destruction of good public policy solutions caused by excessive partisanship. We have dedicated our experience and skills to develop the next generation of leaders who will see to it that good work gets done by finding common ground that meets the interests of different members of the community, the state – or the country.


The BLP accomplishes its mission through partnerships with universities and other organizations to offer leadership training and development based on a proven curriculum and methodology. The BLP model equips people with theories, skills, knowledge, practice, self-awareness and commitment to combat excessive partisanship, reach consensus, solve problems, and get things done.


The BLP embraces the concept of bipartisanship as cooperation and collaboration between people of opposing or differing viewpoints that demonstrates a willingness to listen, respect, understand, and work together to bridge differences and make good decisions happen. Many graduates have been elected to public office both locally and state-wide. Many have reported that they are able to do their jobs more effectively, achieving deeper engagement of people with opposing perspectives on city councils, school boards, and other public bodies – with better results. Participants demonstrate that previously entrenched partisan adults can gain new perspectives and the ability to work effectively with people holding opposing views.


Mike Fisher

Trevis Harold

Craig Deroche

Sachin Agrawal

Transformative Leadership Programs

Jocelyn Benson
Secretary of State

MMichigan’s Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, is a 2007 graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) at Michigan State University. She describes the MPLP as “transformative” and producing “leaders that value bipartisanship, civil discourse and bring people together to get things done.” She said she would likely not be Secretary of State were it not for skills she learned and relationships she developed in the program. In 2022, Secretary Benson was named as one of five recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her efforts to protect democracy. On January 6, 2023, she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Joe Biden, for her “undaunted and unflinching” work in performing “exemplary public service to advance free and fair elections.”

Secretary Benson calls for a program like this to be replicated throughout the country. That is the goal of the Bipartisan Leadership Project. The Political Leadership Academy at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution builds on the success of the MPLP. Information about both programs is included in “Models.”

Get Involved and Donate

When Something Works Really Well, Put It To Work Everywhere! The BLP Goal:
Replicate the successful MPLP program in every state. Create a representative State…

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Our Program Goals

Programs will be based on the successful Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) created 26 years ago and hosted by Michigan State University. Like the more than 650 partisan adults in Michigan, BLP graduates…

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Every job requires preparation except serving in elected office. Can we expect our elected officials to be effective without the necessary skills…

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The State of Bipartisanship in America


Concerned about the divisions in American government?


Watch on Wednesday, February 21st as The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. will feature Governor Wes Moore of Maryland and Governor Spencer J. Cox of Utah as they discuss the state of bipartisanship in the United States. Their conversation will be moderated by Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent and former Anchor and Managing Editor of the PBS NewsHour.


As the current chair of the National Governors Association, Governor Spencer Cox has launched a “Disagree Better” campaign with his colleagues. Democratic Governor Wes Moore has made it a commitment to work across the aisle to get bipartisan support on all Maryland’s key legislation in order to put the people of Maryland first.


This conversation will be shared nationally by PBS Books and the Bipartisan Leadership Project on all its platforms on Wednesday, February 21st at 12:30 pm.


PBS Books was established to share important conversations nationally, making them available to trusted community organizations to use with their patrons. The BLP works to provide leaders with the skills necessary to lead in a polarized environment and has been involved in the creation of political leadership programs at Michigan State University and George Mason University.