Congressional Institute President Mark Strand joined his cohort of Fall Fellows at Harvard University’s Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics to discuss their time in politics and the issues important in Washington today. Strand spoke about the need for legislative reform, the topic of the study groups he will lead for Harvard IOP students this semester. “Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you should care about whether or not Congress works,” he said. According to Strand, when Congress fails to legislate, power shifts to the Executive Branch. “People feel that’s great when the Executive is from their party, but what about when the Executive is from the other party?” he said. “The checks and balances of our system is what keeps our democracy healthy.”

Encouraging bipartisanship is one way to strengthen Congress, Strand argued. “We don’t do well split 50-50; we work well when we get a consensus of people,” he said. “On important issues, we believe the American people should be united.” Although Millennials get a lot of grief from other generations, he thinks they are a bright hope for politics. Strand noted that Millennials are eager to work with others and find solutions together. Aside from integrating Millennials into politics, another solution is as old as the Golden Rule: “We’ve got to start respecting people a lot more in our political system,” he said.