Empathy Circle with U.S Congressional CD-08 Candidates
Our Topic: How Might We Bridge Personal, Social & Political Divides in Our Communities and Country?


Edwin Rutsch invites fellow CD-08 U.S. Congressional Candidates to take part in an Empathy Circle dialogue with fellow candidates.

Our Topic: How Might We Bridge Personal, Social & Political Divides in Our Communities and Country?

The Empathy Circle fosters constructive dialogue with mutual listening and understanding. This is the first ever Congressional Candidates Empathy Circle. We are working to set up a series of these dialogues to model how candidates can take part in meaningful, respectful, and constructive dialogue that supports our families, community and country. Mutual listening and dialogue are keys to a better world.


* Edwin Rutsch (D) http://EdwinForCongress.com

* Cheryl Sudduth (D) http://CherylSudduth.nationbuilder.com

* Christopher Riley (D) http://RileyforCalifornia.com

- Facilitator: Timothy Regan - Talk-it-Out Radio

Other Candidates

~ Rudy Recile (R) http://rudyforuscongress.com (Couldn't take part due to scheduling conflict)

- John Garamendi (D) http://garamendi.org (Did not reply to multiple invitations to take part)

Process Benefits For Candidates and the Public

  1. In-Depth Dialogue: Candidates can have more in depth discussions about their vision and positions than at typical public events.

  2. Deeper Understanding: The dialogue process gives voters a deeper and richer understanding of candidates and their views than the competitive Debate or Forum format.

  3. Modeling Constructive Dialogue: Candidates model to the community how to hold constructive dialogues. This will help bridge the social and political divides in our communities and country.

  4. Public Learning: Viewers learn the constructive dialogue process by observing it. They can then use it to hold their own constructive dialogues.

  5. Long Form Discussions: The Empathy Circle Allows for interactive long form dialogues of 2 or more hours.

  6. The public can see how good of listeners the candidates are.

  7. Creates a feeling of intimacy with the candidates and viewers can relate to them better.


An Empathy Circle is a structured dialogue process that effectively supports meaningful and constructive dialogue. An Empathy Circle increases mutual understanding and connection by ensuring that each person feels fully heard to their satisfaction.

The practice is the most effective gateway practice for learning, practicing and deepening listening and empathy skills, as well as, nurturing an empathic way of being. It is the foundation for healing, conflict mediation, community building and innovation practices and processes.

1. What is an Empathy Circle?

2. Why Participate?

3. How to Empathy Circle?

4. Empathy Circle Facilitator Training


Contact Edwin Rutsch for support in hosting Empathy Circles in your community for healing, conflict mediation, community building and innovation. EdwinRutsch@gmail.com

View Transcripts

KPFA Radio: Talk-It-Out Radio
U.S. Congressional Candidates Meet For Dialogue with Understanding and Empathy

(Edited 1 hour Version of the Empathy Circle)
This is a collaborative program where skilled hosts welcome guests and callers to practice empathy, awareness, and authentic and effective communication. Our intention is to provide skills, knowledge, and resources that empower listeners to effectively connect across differences so that we can all work together to create a world that works for life.
Hosted by Timothy Regan

This may be the first time candidates for the United States House of Representatives competing for the same seat have agreed to sit down simply to listen to each other – instead of debating or arguing.

Timothy Regan welcomes 3 candidates who want to represent California Congressional District 8 in Washington DC. Each spoke several times to the question, “How might we bridge the social and political divides in our communities and country?”

3 of 5 candidates participated: