Put down coffee, pick up phone says Starbucks CEO

Sep 5, 2011

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been in a letter writing mood lately and that’s earned him lots of supporters to his political cause.

A few weeks ago, Schultz asked fellow CEOs to join him in freezing campaign contributions to politicians until they end what he calls their “hyper-partisan” behavior. Now he wants to talk to the rest of America.

As part of his highly publicized blitz to end partisan gridlock, Schultz will participate in a “Conversation with America” – a telephone Town Hall meeting today. 

In a full page ad in the New York Times and USA Today, Schultz said:

“America is at a fragile and critical moment in its history. We must restore hope in the American Dream. We must celebrate all that America stands for around the world. ... We must send the message to today’s elected officials in a civil, respectful voice they hear and understand, that the time to put citizenship ahead of partisanship is now."

He argues political leaders have created a crisis of confidence and wreaked havoc on the economy, putting ideology above the needs of people.  

Schultz's earlier appeal to company heads to halt to contributions and commit to stimulating growth in their industries elicited an impassioned response. Several large businesses including AOL, Whole Foods Market and NASDAQ have already taken the pledge. 

Today's teleconference, said Schultz, is an opportunity for alienated Americans to express their desire for a more effective government.  

The forum will be hosted by nonpartisan group No Labels at 7:30 pm EST.