Josh Penry is a former state legislator, former State Senate Minority Leader, former candidate for Colorado Governor, and currently Principal at 76 Group, an award-winning public affairs group. Here’s what they do (taken from their website):
Caught in a complex public policy battle or public relations dispute? Need compelling advertising that cuts through clutter? Need 500,000 signatures or a million doors to be knocked? Polling, focus groups, data analysis, campaign management? 76 does it.
After the recent expansion of his firm, I texted Josh a congratulations and he wrote back a very nice note with the following: “If you ever need a podcast, let’s talk about the future of the Republican Party some time.” Josh is someone I respect and admire, so I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. I know Josh as a problem solver, a principled and dedicated man in everything he does, and a relentless, talented and creative professional. I have been disillusioned by the Republican Party for a great while, so I was curious how this conversation would go.
For 45 minutes I asked Josh direct questions that he answered thoughtfully, with nuance and depth, and authenticity. We touched on a range of subjects including purity tests, compromise, the attempted insurrection at the United States Capitol, moderates vs the fringe, the news media, and how Republicans might once again assert themselves in Colorado. Did I agree 100% with Josh about everything? Of course not. And whether I did or didn’t is irrelevant. My goal with this episode was to better understand the conflict within the Republican Party about how it moves forward in the aftermath of President Donald Trump.
When I promoted this episode two days before its air, Josh commented under the post and said “I’m pretty sure [this] interview is going to get me in trouble.” And not that I want him to get in trouble, but to that I say, “Good.” Because it’s usually that feeling that precedes the reveal of some deeper, uncomfortable truth that people are going to have to reckon with on the path to betterment. Also, I can’t imagine any trouble arising from this that Josh can’t handle.
Full disclosure: 76 Group (formerly EIS Solutions) worked for me and my colleagues when I was in my corporate gig, and since going out on my own, I have subcontracted through them and partnered with them on a number of projects. At the time of this recording, I had no active projects with them.