Event image with Porter & Gehl photos

Politics is Harming U.S. Competitiveness. Can Election Reforms Fix It?

A special event with business executive Katherine Gehl and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter.

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Katherine Gehl, former President and CEO of Gehl Foods, and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter will present their groundbreaking five-year study that found our political system is causing the U.S. to lose its competitive edge. They urge adoption of Ranked Choice Voting and other reforms to turn it around.


This is a ticketed fundraiser for FairVote Minnesota. Sponsorships and general admission tickets are available now. 

3:00 Program | 4:30 Reception


The lack of competition in politics--meaning the lock of the two-party system--is having an adverse effect on business and economic growth in the United States. That’s the contention of Michael Porter and Katherine Gehl, Harvard Business School intellectual powerhouse and business executive respectively, and they believe electoral reform is the only way we can fix this system.

Gehl and Porter will speak about the impact of political gridlock on business and economic growth in the U.S., referring to their groundbreaking paper, “Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America—a strategy for reinvigorating our democracy.” Their work specifically calls out Ranked Choice Voting as a solution to the political gridlock and hyper-partisanship that has prevented progress on issues that would support business and economic growth.

In 2016, Gehl, the former CEO of Gehl Foods in Wisconsin, invited Porter to join her ongoing work on political innovation—as dysfunction in Washington continued to deliver poor results and high dissatisfaction with the U.S. political system. Together, they applied Porter’s tools for understanding industry competition for the first time to politics, to uncover the root cause of the dysfunction—the failed political competition the parties have created (captured in the “Gehl Porter Politics Industry Theory”). This new lens reveals the reforms that will be necessary to truly realign America’s political system with the public interest. In 2017, Gehl and Porter published their ground-breaking research and analysis on—and most importantly a prescription for—our political system in the report “Why Competition in the Politics Industry Is Failing America: A strategy for reinvigorating our democracy.” Their work continues, and is informing, engaging and motivating businesspeople and leaders from across America in the reform movement.

Katherine M. Gehl is a business leader, author and speaker. Katherine was president and CEO of Gehl Foods, a $250 million high-tech food manufacturing company in Wisconsin where she led a transformational growth strategy, receiving multiple awards, before selling the company in 2015—in part to dedicate more time to political reform. Her career includes roles in the private and public sectors including at Oracle Corporation, Bernstein Investment Research and Management, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Office at the City of Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools. In 2011, Katherine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Today, Katherine describes herself as a political innovation activist. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame and holds an MA from Catholic University and an MBA from Kellogg.

Michael E. Porter is an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher. Throughout his lifetime career at Harvard Business School, he has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment and health care. Michael’s approach is based on understanding the overall economics and structure of complex systems, in contrast to particular elements or parts. His extensive research is widely recognized in governments, corporations, NGOs, and academic circles around the globe and has received numerous awards. Michael is the author of 19 books and over 130 articles is the most cited scholar today in economics and business. Michael graduated from Princeton University and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of Economics.