This piece was originally published in Above the Noise, Burness’ Medium publication. Check it out here

Raise your hand if, in the last three months, you’ve found yourself in a room where 99 percent of the people around you shared your political views.

Your hand is raised, right? So is mine.

Last month I attended a conference where the vast majority of the participants were not fans of Donald Trump.

Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being around like-minded people every now and then. After all, the conference was for folks who run strategic communication campaigns mostly on behalf of progressive causes.

But to make progress on most of our causes — climate change, health care for all, gun control, you name it — we need the support of people who don’t identify as progressives.

How do we win over non-progressives? How do we message issues so they don’t shut down? Where can we find common ground?

It’s difficult to answer these questions without any conservatives in the room.

So when Tory Perfetti showed up to speak on the last day of the conference, I was thrilled.

Two facts you should know about Tory:

1. He supports Trump.

2. He helped organize a grassroots coalition of solar energy supporters in Florida to defeat an anti-solar bill backed by the mammoth utility industry and the Koch brothers.

A Trump-supporting clean energy advocate who rallied conservatives and liberals to beat the utility industry? I couldn’t wait to hear his story.

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