David Axelrod joins 2020 CSU Spur Symposium

David Axelrod — former chief strategist and senior advisor to President Barack Obama — will join the lineup of speakers for the CSU Spur Water in the West Symposium, to be held virtually Nov. 18-19, the CSU System announced on Thursday.

Mr. Axelrod, a political strategist and commentator, currently serves as the founding director of the University of Chicago’s nonpartisan Institute of Politics and as a senior political commentator for CNN. He is also the host of The Axe Files, a top-rated podcast featuring in-depth conversations with public figures across the political spectrum.

The annual Water in the West Symposium is a convening of water experts across diverse platforms, and is meant to providemultidisciplinary networking and solution-based thinking. A dialogue between Mr. Axelrod and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Nov. 19, will conclude the Symposium.

“David Axelrod brings an astute and experienced voice in helping understand not only what happened with an election but as importantly what will happen as a result of an election. His insight will help set the stage for what Colorado and the West can expect as we tackle the challenge of water in the West,” Vilsack said.

Since beginning in 2018, the Symposium has drawn experts ranging from former Whole Foods’ CEO Walter Robb and Claudia  Ringler with the International Food Policy Research Institute to Coca-Cola’s Bruce Karas and Ted Kowalski of the Walton FamilyFoundation’s Colorado River Initiative. The event is an annual offering of the future CSU Spur campus that will be complete in2022 in north Denver, and will be a hub for education, innovation, and collaboration around the issues of water, food, and health.


Associate Attorney, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Ms. Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources.  She is currently serving as an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.  Prior to this position, she had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from May 2013 to January 2019, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after serving eleven (11) years as an attorney for the Navajo Nation focusing on water rights and natural resources issues.  Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves on the Leadership Team for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin, as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, as an appointee of Governor Lujan Grisham, and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, as an appointee of Speaker Damon.  Ms. Becker is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), as an appointee of President Obama.  Ms. Becker is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.

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