One Small Step: Former Mayor Pete Muldoon and Town Councilmember Jim Rooks in conversation

The two politicians discussed why they got into politics, their experiences during the 2020 election and how they want to be remembered for their public service.
Producer Alyson Spery helps guide the conversation between the two former political rivals. (Joey Sackett)

by | Nov 7, 2023 | People

Two Jackson political figures – with different stances on local issues – recently got together for a public one-on-one conversation: former Mayor Pete Muldoon and current town Councilmember Jim Rooks.

The two were in a contentious race for town council in 2020, which Rooks won. Things were said online – and the two hadn’t spoken since. That is, until Nov. 1 when KHOL hosted a listening session for our One Small Step program.

One Small Step conversations are not a debate, but rather they focus on getting to know the other person and their lived experience. (Joey Sackett)

One Small Step is our year-long collaboration with StoryCorps that brings community members with different beliefs and backgrounds to talk and discover common ground. Conversations are recorded and archived at the Library of Congress for future generations.

Muldoon and Rooks talked for about half an hour, in front of approximately 70 people. They discussed why they got into politics, their experiences during the election and shared how they want to be remembered for their public service.

Listen above for a portion of their discussion, which has been edited for time and clarity.

Linked here is a video recording of the whole event, which also featured a discussion with other One Small Step participants.

There is still time to sign up for a One Small Step conversation, happening now through the end of the year.


StoryCorps’ One Small Step and the Radio Station Hubs are made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

I understand how we can get caught up in the moment and do things we would not otherwise do. So I don’t hold grudges over things like that. Somebody else is going to run a campaign next year and they’re going to be somebody who hasn’t actually been in office and seen how things work. And they’re going to do the same things. And we ought to have in our own hearts that same kind of understanding for what they’re going through.” – Former Mayor Pete Muldoon


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