Session 6: Winning the Debate

Winning the Debate


Tony Kreindler is senior government relations director for Environmental Defense Fund and its advocacy partner, EDF Action, where he works with members of Congress to advance bipartisan solutions to the most challenging environmental problems. He has also served as EDF’s senior strategic communications director and national media director during major legislative campaigns at the state and federal levels. Prior to joining EDF, Tony was chief executive of a Washington, DC-based news and research company and worked as a reporter covering the executive branch and Congress through three presidential administrations.

Joe Bonfiglio leads EDF Action, Environmental Defense Fund’s 501(c)4 sister organization. In this role, Bonfiglio focuses on developing and executing advocacy strategies designed to deliver environmental policy and legislative wins.

In the past year, under Bonfiglio’s leadership, EDF Action has successfully fought against draconian budget cuts for EPA and other agencies, and has lobbied against unqualified nominees for important protective roles – including chemical and tobacco industry consultant Michael Dourson’s nomination to lead EPA’s toxic chemicals office. It also launched a new campaign training program for political candidates – EDF Action Campaign Academy – that will expand as campaigns heat up later this year.

Bonfiglio joined EDF Action six years ago, most recently serving as its Associate Vice President. Before that he served working on Capitol Hill for nine years, as Deputy Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging under Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, as Chief of Staff for Congressman Charles Melancon of Louisiana, and as Communications Director for Congressman Brad Miller of North Carolina.

Bonfiglio received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives with his wife and son in Alexandria, Virginia.

Supplementary Materials

Now that you have a foundation for framing the debate, check out these additional resources.

  • Debates give campaigns the opportunity to create stark contrast with their opposition. These 10 moments stand out as the most memorable moments in political history.
  • While debate prep can be an important way to avoid unforced errors, candidates who practice too much run the risk of seeming inauthentic. It’s important to strike the right balance. These infamous debate moments show the pitfalls of being both under, and over, prepared.
  • Great debate moments can change the momentum in a close race. This video shows the history of presidential debates and shows how key debate moments can tip the scales on election day.