Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 06:00 pm

In today’s hyper-partisan world of politics, entrenched gridlock in Washington, and endless tense exchanges on cable news networks, should Americans believe that we can in fact find common ground on the most pressing issues we face as a nation?  And is there still time for today’s elected leaders – Republicans & Democrats - to inspire all generations, from millennials to retirees, with a spirit of thoughtful, hard-fought, consensus-driven bipartisanship?

Former Members of Congress David Jolly (R) and Patrick Murphy (D) believe so.  And they’re setting out on a tour of Florida to pull the curtain back on how we got here, to shine a light on the inside reasons why Washington has fallen into stalemate and dysfunction.  Along the way, Jolly and Murphy will discuss opportunities for bipartisanship leadership, how to build political consensus, and to demonstrate that even in times of disagreement on solutions to our country’s most divisive issues, those disagreements need not divide us as a people. Join them on Wednesday, October 25, at 6 p.m. in Pugh Hall's Ocora for a discussion. 

During their years in Congress, Democrat Murphy had the privilege of representing a Republican-leaning district in South Florida, while Republican Jolly represented a Democrat-leaning district on Florida’s Gulf Coast.  Together they found ways to work together on seemingly intractable issues of responsible debt reduction, climate change and the environment, community policing and public safety, federal firearm policies, and campaign finance reform.  And for a year, they faced off as opponents in a U.S. Senate race.  Now out of elected office, these friends and former opponents are embarking on a statewide conversation with voters in the nation’s 3rd largest state, notoriously purple and always pivotal in today’s national elections.

Former Congressman David Jolly served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2014 – 2017, representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District, including the communities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the surrounding beaches.  A student of the institution, Jolly has held virtually every position in the House of Representatives, from intern to Member of Congress, and has worked outside the Congress as an attorney and political consultant.

Jolly considers himself a modern-day Bull Moose Republican, faithful to conservative doctrine on matters of the federal budget, taxes, and regulation, but unafraid of fighting for sweeping solutions on equality, the environment, campaign finance reform, immigration, and federal firearm measures.

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy represented Florida’s 18th district, covering the Treasure Coast and northern Palm Beach County, from 2013 until 2017.

A CPA and businessman who grew frustrated with the dysfunction in Washington, Murphy took on and defeated Tea Party firebrand Allen West in 2012 in one of the closest and most expensive U.S. House races in history. Two years later, he was re-elected by a 20-point margin.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be streamed live at

The event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.