Brian Gumm's Writings

Introducing Brian Gumm

Brian Gumm is the Communications Director at the Center for Progressive Reform. Prior to joining CPR in March 2016, he spent nearly a decade in several roles at the Center for Effective Government, including communications director and senior writer.

Mr. Gumm's previous public interest experience includes time with the Alliance for Healthy Homes, American Farmland Trust, and the Center on Wisconsin Strategy at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He has been quoted by a number of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and The Dallas Morning News, and his work has appeared in several publications.

Mr. Gumm earned a B.S. in environmental policy from Northland College and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Brian grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin and graduated from Kohler High School. He is the son of Phyllis and Darryl Gumm of Kohler.

Articles Written by Brian Gumm for Center for Progressive Reform




  • Other Articles Written by Brian Gumm

  • Remember Your Conviction of the Heart

  • Remember Your Conviction of the Heart
    by Brian Gumm

    (Note: This speech was delivered in June of 1994 by Brian at his High School Commencement in Kohler, WI)

        “Don’t You Forget About Me.” That is quite an appropriate theme for this year’s graduating class. We have had many great and not-so-great times together, and they’ve helped us to grow while having fun at the same time. Through the ups and downs in our class, almost everyone was involved. Many of us have also been attending school together for fourteen years, and it would be almost expected that we never forget each other. But what lies beyond Kohler High School? What else is there in the world besides memories? Is there something else that we should not forget? Yes, there is. By not forgetting this essential part of all of us, we will determine the course of the future of planet Earth.

        This certain something of which I am speaking is hard to explain in material terms. It can be very abstract and mean slightly different things for different people. But singer Kenny Loggins uses a very simple term, Conviction of the Heart. To give you a little introduction into what Conviction of the Heart entails, I would like to read the first and third verses from Mr. Loggins hit, “Conviction of the Heart.”

    (Verse 1)
    Where are the dreams that we once had?
    This is the time to bring them back.
    What were the promises
    Caught on the tips of our tongues?
    Do we forget or forgive?
    There’s a whole other life
    Waiting to be lived when
    One day we’re brave enough
    To talk with Conviction of the Heart.

    (Verse 3)
    It’s been too many years
    Of taking now,
    Isn’t it time to stop somehow?
    Air that’s too angry to breathe
    Water our children can’t drink
    You’ve heard it hundreds of times
    You say you’re aware
    Believe and you care
    But do you care enough?
    Where’s your Conviction of the Heart?

        I think those song lyrics really give a good picture as to what Conviction of the Heart is. Basically, it has to do with making the world a better place. There are many problems out there in the world at this time, from AIDS to cancer, rainforest destruction and air pollution. It is going to be our generation that is going to be making the informed decisions on these and many other problems. By using our Conviction of the Heart and never losing that conviction, that determination, that dedication, we CAN turn the problems around. And it would surprise many that by solving just one problem, we could solve many more, for all things in Nature and mankind are connected.

        We ARE the future of this world. Everyone is counting on us to take society and all of its problems and make it better. And we can do it, but only if we live with Conviction of the Heart. So when you’re remembering your friends and the times you had with them back in high school, be sure to never lose sight of the future and what it holds for all of us.

    The time has come.
    You say you believe.
    You say that you care.
    But are you willing to do what it takes to save our world?
    Someday, we must be brave enough to talk, act, and live with Conviction of the Heart.