Minnesota Historical Society

Finding Common Ground: The Art of Legislating in an Age of Gridlock

$ 16.95

A pragmatic guide to the legislative process, with proven techniques for legislating from the minority side of the aisle—and powerful insights on how collaboration makes for better lawmaking.

Democracy has never been a quick or easy process by which to get things done. But many citizens are fed up with the current, extreme partisan gridlock at the national, state, and even local levels of government.

Dave Bishop spent most of his twenty years in the Minnesota House of Representatives as a member of the Republican minority, but that did not stop him from winning passage of legislation that benefited his district. In Finding Common Ground, he shares proven techniques and insightful examples of how minority members can gain the power to produce better laws and a healthier democracy.

Bishop reveals the inside stories of major Minnesota legislation through the 1980s and 1990s—the lottery, groundwater protection, the Living Will, the Northwest Airlines bailout, and much more—showing how real work can be done through respectful, healthy confrontation and compromise.

This concise handbook is a gift not just for policymakers but also for their constituents who are interested in effective and ethical legislating. Finding Common Ground provides a deeper understanding of the legislative process as well as greater respect for the complex work of legislators and legislatures.


  • By: Dave Bishop, foreword by Lori Sturdevant
  • Format: Paper, 176 pp., 5.5x8.5, 7 B&W illustrations, notes, index
  • Publisher: MNHS Press (December 2015)
  • Product ##: 9780873519793

Dave Bishop served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1983 to 2002 as a Republican representative from Rochester.

Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Lori Sturdevant is the author of, among other books, Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women's Movement.


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