Journalist Alexander Heffner’s Breaking Bread interview with her drops August 8 at 7 p.m.
West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito talks breakfast and broadband, coffee and electoral college when she meets with journalist Alexander Heffner at Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville. It’s all on the August 8 episode of Breaking Bread, a new Bloomberg Originals series featuring in-depth conversations over comfort food with political leaders across America.
As an interviewer, Heffner can connect with interviewees of all kinds and makes complex and controversial issues approachable—if you haven’t seen him in his long-running, wide-ranging interview series The Open Mind on PBS, it’s worthwhile. With this series, which debuted on July 4, Heffner aims to cut through political divides, staging his interviews with diverse governors and senators over favorite meals and on familiar ground.
In the Capito episode, titled “Country Pancakes and Country Roads,” that includes sharing a Cathedral Cafe pancake as part of a big breakfast—very good, they agree—and talking about Sunday breakfast spreads in the Capito household. Sharing meals and talking of family moments all Americans can relate to make it easier to talk about issues that divide us, Heffner’s show theorizes—like the improvements that are needed in education in West Virginia or the rightward shift in West Virginia politics.
“When you look to those areas now ripe for bipartisan camaraderie, to legislate, what do you want to get done for West Virginia?” Heffner asks Capito as the interview gets well underway. She talks of bipartisan legislation in play at the time of the interview aimed at boosting competitiveness with China and legislation clarifying procedures for counting electoral votes. She also expresses an urgent need to undertake meaningful work to lengthen the life of Social Security and Medicare.
Heffner uses his questions to elicit the kind of empathy and compromise his show aims to foster. He asks lifelong Republican Capito, for example, to name a living Democrat she admires most—and her answer might surprise you. He also uses his questions to entertain, and viewers are treated to Capito’s anecdotes about dinners with presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush.
Ultimately, the interview leaves one feeling that, agree with her or not, Senator Capito is actively engaged in the hard work of communication and compromise that needs to be done, and that conversations like this one can help Americans find ways to unite over what matters to them.
West Virginia is one of 10 states represented in the first season of Breaking Bread, and a second season is in production. New episodes drop on Bloomberg Originals every Tuesday at 7 p.m.