Reclaim the American Dream

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About Us

About Us:


We’re a New Kind of Website – an informational gateway aimed at helping people who are upset about America today to get engaged in fixing our democracy and making our economy fairer at the local level, where people power still has clout.

Lots of Americans are very unhappy but they don’t know what to do. They need an entry point that opens the door to multiple pathways for reform. So we’ve created an easily accessible, journalistic-style website to answer questions that we’ve heard from audiences all over this country.

Unlike many other sites, we are not pushing one pet issue or one particular strategy. We introduce you to multiple issues, multiple strategies, multiple organizations that can help you start a reform movement in your own community or join forces with others.

Our target audience is the mass of frustrated civic-minded Americans and local groups, from seniors to millennials, from nonprofit volunteers to the politically disenchanted, people who want change but don’t know where to start.

Our Goal is to inform and arm thoughtful people with briefings on reform issues, progress reports on actions already underway, success stories from other states, plus a docket of organizations and experts offering advice and support.

Initially, we are reporting on half a dozen issues. We’ll add more in the coming weeks.

Thanks for joining us,
Hedrick Smith, Executive Editor

Our Team:

We are a small team of journalists and researchers committed to informing the public about key issues for economic and political reform. We are a non-partisan, non-profit informational website. Research and reporting for our website and the website design and development were funded by individual donations from $100 to $2,000. The funders supported the purpose of the website, but have had no input on the content of the website, for which our journalistic team is solely responsible.

HedrickSmith2Executive Editor – Hedrick Smith,
who conceived this website and is its principal writer and architect, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and Emmy award-winning documentary producer for PBS and PBS FRONTLINE. Over five decades as a reporter, editor, producer, and author, Smith has established himself as one of America’s premier journalists.

In 26 years with The New York Times, Smith served in Saigon, Cairo, Paris, the American South, and as bureau chief in Moscow and Washington. In 1971, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for the Pentagon Papers series and in 1974, he won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe. From 1988 through 2009, Smith reported and produced more than 50 hours of long-form documentaries and mini-series for PBS and PBS FRONTLINE. One distinctive feature of his television productions is his focus not just on examining systemic problems in modern America but on seeking solutions.

Two of Smith’s FRONTLINE programs, The Wall Street Fix and Can You Afford to Retire? won Emmies and two others, Critical Condition (on U.S. health care) and Tax Me If You Can, were nominated. Twice he has won or shared the Columbia-Dupont Gold Baton, or grand prize, for the year’s best public affairs program on U.S. television – for Inside Gorbachev’s USSR in 1990, and a shared award for Inside the Terror Network with other FRONTLINE producers in 2002.

Smith is the author of five books and co-author of two others. PaperbackCoverHis first book, The Russians, based on his experience as New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief in 1971-74, was a No. 1 U.S. bestseller, translated into 16 languages. His next book, The Power Game: How Washington Works, became a handbook for many in Congress and was bedtime reading for President Bill Clinton. His current book Who Stole the American Dream? is a probing historical analysis of the roots and causes of rising economic inequality in the U.S. and polarized gridlock in Washington and an outline of potential strategies for the future. More at

OSWeb developer and researcher – Owen Smith, who has a varied background in investigative research, strategic communications, and film and television production, did the principal design and development of the website. He also did the main research for such major topics as the move to amend the U.S. Constitution in the wake of the Citizens United decision and the issue of dark money and disclosure in American political campaigns.

Owen Smith previously worked for Hedrick Smith (no relation) on the FRONTLINE documentary Can You Afford to Retire? and was the principal researcher for Hedrick Smith’s book, Who Stole the American Dream? He has also collaborated with foreign correspondents and counterterrorism prosecutors and coordinated the production of a high-budget Discovery Channel series. Working for private sector and non-profit clients, he has investigated the use of satellite broadcast television by terrorist-designated organizations, the complex movement and sale of refined gasoline to Iran, and the exposure of global companies to risk.

He graduated with a BA in Political Science from Kenyon College in 2005, lives in Washington, DC with his fishing pole and bike, and maintains an abiding interest in government, the health of civil society, and the accountability of institutions.

HeidiBruceResearcher – Heidi Bruce did the research for the sections on student debt, minimum wage, and inclusive capitalism. She holds a master’s degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. Ms. Bruce was raised in a trilingual (English, Spanish, and German) home in Alaska. Since 2011, she has worked as a research associate for the Center for World Indigenous Studies. She is also a contributing researcher for YES! Magazine, based on Bainbridge Island, WA. Her areas of focus include Fourth World geopolitics, human migration, gender studies, regenerative development, and conflict transformation. She lives on Orcas Island, WA.

Researcher – Jonathan Nesvig
, a veteran of five decades as a reporter and editor for The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, is the main researcher for the voting rights section. As a reporter, he wrote about government, courts, schools, and higher education. As an editor, he both supervised reporters and selected international and national stories for the paper. In the 1990s, he traveled to the former Soviet Union five times to report on artists and athletes preparing to take part in the Goodwill Games in Tacoma and Seattle and on U.S. companies establishing a foothold in the new Russia. Nesvig is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. He also studied at Heidelberg University in Germany and the University of Oslo in Norway.

Researcher – Rob Werner
provided research on the issue of public funding for political campaigns in various states. Formerly the National Field Director of Americans for Campaign Reform, Werner currently serves as the New Hampshire State Director for the League of Conservation Voters. A graduate of the University of Vermont with a master’s degree in Business administration from Suffolk University in Boston, Werner is now serving his fourth term on the Concord, N.H. City Council. He holds a certificate for senior executives in state and local government from the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Affairs and has extensive experience in the health care field, working in the private, governmental, and non-profit sectors.

Our Grass Roots Network:

A network of individuals and groups which generally share our objectives, have interacted with us, and wanted to be listed on our website.

Gordon Allen
Chair, Open Democracy
Antrim, New Hampshire

Scott L. Althaus
Director, Cline Center for Democracy
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rachael Cobb
Chair, Department of Government, Suffolk University
Boston, Massachusetts

Ben Cohen
Head Stamper, 
The Stamp Stampede
Burlington, Vermont

Bill Densmore
Principal Convener, Rules Change Project
Williamstown, Massachusetts

David Klement
Director, Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions
St. Petersburg, Florida

Liz Joyner
Executive Director, Village Square
Tallahassee, Florida

Lawrence Lessig
Harvard Law School,
Cambridge, Massachusetts

William Ostrander
Director, Citizens Congress
San Luis Obispo, California

Jonathan Rosenblum
Community and union organizer
Seattle, Washington

Rob Scarlett
Team Leader, Take Action Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Diane Tilstra
Facilitator, Reclaim American Dream Team
Tacoma, Washington

Jim Toedtman
Director, Flagler Forum
Saint Augustine, Florida

Alan Tonelson
Founder, RealityChek!
Riverdale Park, Maryland

Olivia Zink
Executive Director, Open Democracy
Concord, New Hampshire


Website Funders:

Our thanks to our primary donors below as well as to all of those from coast to coast who made smaller donations and whose support has been vital to the creation of this website.

Teresa Bergeson
Tacoma, Washington

Neil and Judy Bicknell
Boulder, Colorado

Robert and Martha Callard
West Seattle, Washington

Bill and Paula Clapp
Seattle International Foundation
Seattle, Washington

Patricia Warburg Cliff & Karl von Frieling
Portland, Oregon

William Dakin & Jeanne Richards
Washington, DC

Idalice Dickinson
Seattle, Washington

Adam Engle
Longmont, Colorado

Daniel Kemmis
Missoula, Montana

Alex and Willie MacLeod
Shaw Island, Washington

Erik McWilliams
Rockville, Maryland

Mike and Pamela Peabody
Northeast Harbor, Maine

Judy Pigott
Seattle, Washington

Bill and Jill Ruckelshaus
Medina, Washington

Betty Sams
Washington, DC

Roger and Vicki Sant
Washington, DC

Peter Sammond
Minnetonka, Minnesota

Adele Simmons
Chicago, Illinois

James Squires
Hollis, New Hampshire

Audrey and Seymour Topping
Scarsdale, New York

Beth Vriesman
Spring Hill, Tennessee

Alan White
Bethesda, Maryland

Anonymous Donor
Seattle, Washington



Website Funders:

Mail Address:

Hedrick Smith,

2700 Calvert St., NW, Apt 116,

Washington, DC 20008


Administrative office:

Judy Bicknell, Treasurer

2424 Keller Farm Rd.,

Boulder, CO 80304