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Speak Freely Podcast

News & Politics Podcasts

“Speak Freely” seeks to broadcast the opinions of the nation's veterans to show listeners how service members think about policy issues, and work past their political differences. Both producers (Joy and Andrew) are U.S. Army veterans looking for the most broad and diverse array of people, personalities, and political opinions. So, chances are, they want to hear from YOU!


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“Speak Freely” seeks to broadcast the opinions of the nation's veterans to show listeners how service members think about policy issues, and work past their political differences. Both producers (Joy and Andrew) are U.S. Army veterans looking for the most broad and diverse array of people, personalities, and political opinions. So, chances are, they want to hear from YOU!








S02 E06: Commencement

Check out this SPECIAL EDITION of the Speak Freely Podcast -- the show that brings veterans on to have tough conversations about the politics and policy issues that are dividing America. In many ways, our Season 2 finale is the quintessential “Speak Freely” episode. Our vision for the show from the beginning was to explore veterans' dreams for America. We say at the start of every episode, “What is the change that THEY want to see?” In this episode, we really get a chance to dive deep into...


S02 E05: The Role of Tech in America's Defense

On today’s episode, we’re talking to two veterans from the University of Washington and asking them the central question - what is the role of the U.S. tech community in America’s national defense? Our guests are Katherine Pratt and Nathan Lewis. Katherine is an Air Force vet and current PhD candidate studying computer brain interfaces here at UW’s electrical engineering program. She was also recently featured in a Marvel comic called Unstoppable Wasp. Make sure you check it out. Nathan...


S02 E04: Gun Law Reform and the 2nd Amendment

On this episode of Speak Freely, we’re talking to veterans about the 2nd Amendment and Gun Law Reform, and asking the central question---is there a middle ground on this issue that both sides of the aisle can agree on? Our first guest is Jake Murphy, a former infantryman and squad leader in the U.S. Army and a current business student at the University of Washington in Tacoma. During his time in the service, Jake deployed multiple times overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan and speaks to how his...


S02 E03: The Real State of the Union

On today’s episode, we’re reviewing President Trump’s recent State of the Union address and exploring the central question: what is the real state of the Union? Our guest is Chris Thobaben, a former Marine officer living in Vancouver, WA, now working as an entrepreneur and consulting on the Marine Corps’ logistics innovation program called NexLog. He ran for office in Washington’s 18th legislative district as a Democrat in 2018--and managed to make the race more tightly contested than a lot...


S02 E02: The Midterm Results - Conversations from the Field

For Episode 2 of Speak Freely, we’re talking to veterans about the results of the recent midterms and asking them the central question -what should we make of the results as we look towards 2020? Our first guest for the episode is Sue Fulton, a member of the first class at West Point to admit women and a former Signal Officer. Over the years, Sue has continued to serve her country by advocating for LGBT servicemembers, and women in politics and leadership positions. Sue also currently serves...


S02 E01: Muslims, Veterans, and the Midterms

We're back with our Season 2 opener! Today’s topic is “Collective Impact” and we explore the question, “How can different communities come together to advocate for change with a common agenda?” We recorded last week at a town hall event in Kent, WA, called "Not To Be Ignored: Veterans + American Muslims." The event panel was an all-star cast of community leaders and elected officials including Susannah Cunningham, Executive Director of Only Through Us; Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), ranking...


S01 E07: Education Reform

This episode, the topic is “Education Reform” and we explore the question, “How do we make our education system more equitable to empower citizens in the 21st Century?” Our guests are Nate Bowling, a former Air Force reservist and the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year. Nate is also the host of the Nerd Farmer podcast and the Co-founder of Teachers United, teacher led education-policy advocacy organization that seeks to insert and elevate the voices of impactful educators in the...


S01 E06: National Security

In honor of Veterans' Day, this week's topic is “National Security” and we explore the question, “How far should the U.S. go to advance its ‘national security interest’?” Our first guest was Steven Dean, who served as an enlisted Marine and then a Marine officer for eight years, eventually leaving the service as a Captain. He went on to serve another 25 years in the FBI, transitioned to the private sector, and recently retired. Our second guest was Jason Smith who also recently retired, but...


S01 E05: Income Inequality In America

Our guests for this episode are Jon Hopkins, a former Army infantry officer who has since blazed a path across corporate America at McKinsey & Uber, and is now the Executive Director of a local nonprofit called Commute Seattle whose mission is to help Seattle commuters, residents, and visitors live more and drive less. And our second guest is Adam Stopka, a member of the ever-shrinking group of native Washingtonians in the Seattle area, and a former Navy Hospital Corpsman who currently works...


S01 E04: Civic Engagement

Our guest this week was Mark Bonicillo, a local aspiring software engineer, Foster Business alum, and a former Marine Corps logistics officer. Tune in to hear Mark talk about life right after 9/11 before joining the Marines, when he worked for the Charles Koch Foundation, the Heritage Foundation and later at the CATO Institute. Despite his conservative bona fides, these days Mark identifies as an Independent and loudly resists labels. Today’s topic is “Civic Engagement” and we explore the...


S01 E03: Free Speech and Political Correctness

Our guests this week are Lindsay Church, a former Navy cryptologist and longtime veterans’ advocate and Max Wilson, a current public policy graduate student and former Army medic. Our topic this week is “Freedom of Speech and Political Correctness” and we explore the question, “How far should free speech go?”


S01 E02: Polarization In Politics

Our guest this week is Ross Cohen. Ross was an enlisted Army paratrooper for three years out of college. While he was in the service, he deployed to Afghanistan, and when he came home he pursued a masters degree in public affairs from Princeton University. For the last decade since, he’s been working on a number of Democratic political campaigns and in the veterans affairs space, championing veterans issues nationally. Our topic this week is “Polarization in Politics” and we explore the...


S01 E01: Racial Equity in America

This week's guests are Ignacio Cabezudo, a former Army communications specialist and Iraq war veteran, and current sociology student at the University of Washington; and Monique Brown, a 26-year Army vet who now works as a veterans outreach specialist. This episode's topic is “Race” and we explore the question, “How far can discourse go towards achieving racial equity in America?” Caution: experiences may vary... Music used with permission from Stubborn Son.


S01 E00: Introducing Speak Freely

The Speak Freely podcast is a brand-new, veteran-led show that seeks to broadcast blunt politics and policy discussions between military veterans, regardless of their political persuasion. The show is hosted by two Army veterans--Andrew Peppler and Joy Turner--who are public administration students out of the University of Washington in Seattle. This week's guests are Jake Tozier, a former Army helicopter pilot and the program director at Bunker Labs Seattle; Chris Yeakel, a student at...