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The political experts and insiders we’ve interviewed

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The Doles, Mel Watts, Erskine Bowles and other experts, insiders we’ve interviewed

•  Sarah Binder: The professor of political science at George Washington University is also a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of “Stalemate: Causes and Consequences of Legislative Gridlock.”

•  Erskine Bowles: The Charlotte business executive served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff and co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – better known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

•  David Brooks: The right-of-center columnist for the New York Times also regularly appears as a political commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “The PBS NewsHour.”

•  Former Sen. Bob Dole: Now special counsel at a Washington law firm, he represented Kansas in Congress for 35 years – including a long tenure as Senate majority leader – and was the 1996 Republican nominee for president.

•  Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole: The Salisbury native represented North Carolina in the Senate for one term and served as President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Transportation and President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor.

•  Dianne English: She is executive director of Community Building Initiative, a nonprofit group established in 1997 by government and civic leaders to achieve racial and ethnic inclusion and equity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

•  Mark Erwin: The retired Charlotte business executive served President Bill Clinton as ambassador to three small African countries – the Republic of Mauritius, the Republic of the Seychelles and the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros.

•  Eric Heberlig: The UNC Charlotte political science professor co-authored “Classics in Congressional Politics” and “American Labor Unions in the Electoral Arena.”

•  Rep. Patrick McHenry: The Cherryville resident, set to begin his fifth term as representative of North Carolina’s 10th congressional district, is a deputy Republican Whip in the House and serves on that chamber’s Financial Services and Oversight and Government Reform committees.

•  Rep. Mick Mulvaney: This Indian Land resident, elected in November to a second term as representative of South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, serves on the House Budget and Small Business committees and was a leading member of the 2010 Republican class that returned control of the House to the GOP.

•  Norm Ornstein: He is the resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the weekly “Congress Inside Out” column for Roll Call. His latest book (with Thomas Mann) is “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.”

•  David Schanzer: The professor of public policy at Duke University co-writes a blog called “Gridlock: Can Our System Address America’s Biggest Problems?” ( dukegridlock.blogspot.com).

•  Former Rep. John Spratt: This York resident, the representative of South Carolina’s 5th congressional district from 1983 to 2011, served as chairman of the House Budget Committee and was the second ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

•  Rev. Doug Tanner: This United Methodist minister, who grew up in Rutherford County, is senior adviser (and former president) of the Faith & Politics Institute, a bipartisan, interfaith group in Washington founded in 1991 to help public officials stay in touch with their deeper values as they shape public policy.

•  Rep. Mel Watt: Watt, set to start his 11th term as representative of North Carolina’s 12th congressional district, is a past chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and serves on the House Judiciary and Financial Services committees.

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