Kesley Bolar joins the podcast this week to talk about the challenging issues women are facing in 2020 and can expect to face in 2021. We cover a wide range of issues—the mass exodus from cities, safety concerns, and the environment. If you’re a woman, and/or if you care about women), then this is the episode for you. 

Kelsey Bolar is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum. She is also an editor of BRIGHT, a morning newsletter for women, by women, a contributor to The Federalist, and a senior fellow at The Steamboat Institute. She is a frequent guest on Fox News, Fox Business, and was featured as a speaker on the 2018 CPAC panel, “#UsToo: Left Out by the Left.”



And welcome to She Thinks, a podcast where you’re allowed to think yourself. I’m your host, Beverly Hallberg, and on today’s episode, I’m excited that Kelsey Bolar is joining the episode to talk about the challenging issues women are facing in 2020 and are likely to face in 2021. It’s going to be a wide range of issues we cover, everything from the mass exodus from cities, to safety, to even environmental issues. So if you’re a woman or if you care about women, by the way, that should be everyone listening, then this is the episode for you.

Before we bring Kelsey on, I know you’ve heard her before, but a little bit more about her. Kelsey Bolar is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum. She is also an editor of Write, a morning newsletter for women by women, a contributor to the Federalist and a senior fellow at the Steamboat Institute. She’s a frequent guest on Fox News and Fox Business, and it’s a pleasure to have her on She Thinks. Kelsey, thank you so much for joining us.


Hi, Beverly. I’m excited to be here.


So, something I think we should let our listeners know. You and I have known each other ever since you moved to D.C. So I remember, I think it was your first week that you came to D.C. and we worked together, and yet during that time, we had become friends, we lived fairly close to each other, I guess I should say we used to, we’re going to get into that a little bit, but I’ve seen so many changes in your life, getting married, having a baby. And so, I thought we would share our own experience of what the pandemic has been like for us living and working in D.C. What has it been like for you specifically?


Well, Beverly, I think back to when I first met you, I had never participated in any sort of media interview and we met when you were actually media training me. And so, it has been such a journey to now be, when there’s not a pandemic, to be running into you at the Fox News Greenroom. I have to credit you for my ability to go on national TV. Because when I first met you, I honestly never imagined that’s what I would be doing, but here we are today.

Of course, literally today in the coronavirus pandemic, it’s very different for everyone. I’ve been sort of bopping around between staying with my family, my parents, and my husband’s family and posting up in Washington, D.C. I have to be honest, living in Washington D.C. really scared me when COVID first hit because you just can’t avoid these very close personal interactions and we had no idea just how contagious this virus was. So I was terrified even go to the grocery store, and mind you, I also had a baby who was only six, seven months at the time. She actually just turned one year old this month. So that was a huge milestone, a big celebration.

And it’s interesting to look back because this has been such a difficult year for so many people for a lot of different reasons. I started my journey to motherhood in the NICU with over a one month stay because my daughter came early, and then we went from a big NICU stay to the newborn stage to a global pandemic. So it has been such a strange and difficult year, but when we celebrated her birthday, I couldn’t help but look back and also be so incredibly grateful for this past year. Motherhood has just been the most incredible experience. And even despite all these difficulties, I have to say it still was my best year yet having a adorable little girl to raise and entertain me when we’re stuck indoors all day.

So as difficult as everything has been, it’s certainly encouraged and brought about a lot of life changes that I think you and I both plan on talking about because we have similar experiences on that front. But in all, I still try to be grateful for the moments that I’ve been able to share with my family more time than normal.


Yeah, it’s been a really interesting time. I see a lot of silver linings, and so much of it, even though there are so many people who are struggling, one of the things my family specifically is struggling with is that we’ve yet to hug my grandmother since this all started. So we visit her through a window. So what’s going on with the nursing homes. And we did have Janice Dean from Fox News on our podcast earlier to talk about the horrific tragedy of her in-laws dying due to COVID due to the nursing home policies in New York.

So, a lot of people are struggling, but in general, I’ve tried to focus on the blessings as well. And I know you and I have both talked about whether or not we want to stay in the city. So there has been a mass exodus. Interesting information came out this month in reference to Washington D.C. and whether or not people are going to be going back to work. This is similar to other cities. According to the Washington Post, they said it could be next summer before the bulk of Washington region’s workers returned to their offices.


So what have you experienced personally, whether that’s yourself or through your friends, when it comes to people working in cities, knowing they’re not going back for a long time because it’s in these close quarters, they’re not going to go back to these packed offices, have you seen people transition by moving out of city?


Beverly, there has been a mass exodus from city to more of the rural suburbs outside of Washington, D.C. So, you and I are, I think, together on this. We both have cute little row homes near Capitol Hill and there’s such a charming neighborhood that I still love, but coronavirus is one of a handful of reasons that I’m actually wanting to move out of the city. I can’t say it’s only coronavirus, but I’ve had a unique experienced because I joined Independent Women’s Forum, which is a fully remote workplace, not just in a global pandemic, but permanently. I joined them basically right when the entire country went into lockdown.

And this was a huge life change for me. I had expected to be physically going in and out of an office every day with my daughter. And because of that, I wanted a very short commute. And so that’s why we chose to buy a house in the Capitol Hill area so that I wouldn’t have to worry about a long commutes and would be able to maximize time with my daughter.

Once I moved to Independent Women’s Forum and then coronavirus hit, and then on top of that, all of these riots that have broken out and the defund the police movement has really, unfortunately, led me to want to flee the city like a lot of people that I know are experiencing.

And so, we have actively been looking in the D.C. suburbs. And it’s so interesting because I started looking basically right when coronavirus hit just for fun. I maybe foresaw that this was bad.


Oh, that’s the dangerous part, the fun part.


Yeah. Yeah. And I knew I was working from home permanently, not just because of the pandemic. So I was like, :I wonder what type of home office I could get out there in the suburbs.” And from the time from about March to now, there has been such a dramatic shift in real estate in the suburbs because so many families and individuals are kind of going through the similar experiences as we are, and that’s led to a hugely competitive housing marketplace for the suburbs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our house can still sell in Washington D.C.

But as excited as I am about the prospect of giving my daughter a backyard to go outside and play in, I also regret that I want to leave Washington D.C. because this has been such a special city to me. I have so many good memories from here. And I really worry about the future of Washington D.C. and all these cities. Of course, a lot of this is really in God’s hands, is because of coronavirus, but it absolutely also has been impacted by the anti-police movements that are sweeping through many of our country’s major cities.

I had restaurants just in my backyard who had their windows broken into and so forth. And I still feel safe around with my neighbors, but I don’t feel that law enforcement has the support to be dealing with the outside agitators that just seem to consistently be storming into our backyard whenever any sort of incident happens. And that makes me very fearful of raising a family here. And regrettably, it’s encouraging me to leave. And I wonder what kind of long-term impact both coronavirus and the anti-police backlash are going to have on Washington D.C. And beyond.


And for me personally, so I have decided to leave the city. So I am joining a lot of other single individuals who are now currently living with my parents again while I find a new house. So a recent study came out by the Pew Research Center and said that we are now at a point where a majority of young adults in the United States live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression. So we are seeing a mass movement of single adults living with their parents. And I think even married young adults as well.

Now, going into your safety part, that is actually the reason why I’ve decided to leave D.C. My experience has been that between my car and my neighbor’s car in the past month, it was broken into three times. I’ve had scammers come to my door. I don’t feel safe walking alone at night anymore. And so, with so many women who do live alone, I think in cities this becomes a huge problem and concern for them, and therefore moving is becoming more feasible, especially with the ability to work virtually.

So IWF has been focused on this. Kelsey, I know there’s a petition. Tell us a little bit about the petition for keeping women safe.


Right. Well, it is, again, it’s regrettable that you and I are both having these experiences, and I think it’s important to point out we don’t blame the police for their response or lack thereof to a lot of these criminal incidents that we’re witnessing on really a daily basis now. Unfortunately, a lot of this has to do with the fact that they don’t feel safe. They don’t feel secure protecting our homes and our property. And of course they have much bigger fish to fry right now when rioters are trying to topple down statues and light fires out on the streets.

So, I absolutely don’t blame them, but I think we all want to see safety and security restored in our communities, whether that’s cities or whether that is small towns, where, unfortunately, we’ve seen the ripple effects of this movement spread there.

And so, at Independent Women’s Forum, we did launch a petition to encourage anybody listening to support the safety and securities of our communities, as well as justice and peace for all. You can do this by going to And we really encourage you to sign it. This is a way to let policymakers and lawmakers know that this is an issue that we care about. This is an issue that we are voting on. We want officers, law enforcement to be held accountable. There is absolutely room and space for reforms. At IWF, we are engaging in those con conversations actively, but we also know that we need to support law enforcement. We know the defund the police movement would have detrimental effects on our communities, particularly low income communities.

I think it’s important to point out that 8 in 10 African Americans voters who were polled actually want police funding maintained or increased. So if you are sort of one of those individuals who’s supporting the defund the police movement as a way to sort of stand in solidarity with other minority communities, look at the polling and see what those communities, those individuals actually want because it’s really not reflected in a lot of the very loud and vocal movements that you’re hearing breakout on the streets. So yeah, head to to learn more about that.


And on that, I think a couple important data points on that in addition to the one that you just mentioned, that 80% of minority communities do not support defending the police, is that what we’ve been presented with for so long is what I would call a binary, that you either are for the police and you’re against the police. There’s so much in the middle. We’re talking about including the nuance and the complexity and let’s take a hard look at how policing is done. Are there ways to reform it, but also, at the same time, wanting to make sure that police officers and law enforcement individuals, that their lives matter as well as far as safety.

We’ve seen some tragic events against law enforcement individuals, most recently this month with point blank attacks, shooting two officers in the face in Compton, California. Just tragic. And so I think a lot of people see what’s going on and are concerned.

So, this petition is a way for you to have your voice heard. There is even recent polling showing that whether you’re Republican or Democrat, the majority of people in this country are afraid to say anything. They’re afraid to speak up. This petition gives you a way to do that and do it in a safe way. I also am encouraged that we are finally seeing elected officials of all parties speaking out against the violence. It has to stop. I think cities have been seeing it slowly trickle in, some more violent than others, and are seeing it as a problem. And so, I think it’s great IWF is doing this because security and safety does matter.

I want us to end Kelsey with another important issue that’s facing us and that is the issue of climate change. And this is an issue that women do care about. I know there’s a recent poll by Echelon Insights. What is their new poll saying as far as how women view climate change and the concern it presents?


Right, Beverly. Well, of course, with the wildfires breaking out this month tragically on the west coast, this has been a topic at the forefront of our minds, our hearts, for everybody who’s been impacted by that. I know you actually have some family and friends still out there in California. So I’d love to hear more about what they are experiencing.

But I think on the issue of clean energy and climate change, this is another area where far left activists present the American public with a false choice, where you are either for a hundred percent renewable energy and you want to combat climate change, or you are against that. And unfortunately, that actually can cause more harm than good when it comes to combating climate change.

I’m going to get to that in one moment, but first I do want to mention that polling that you mentioned, because, on the issue of climate change, this is an area where the left strangely tries to own the messaging on and they paint conservatives as a movement that has no interest in combating climate change and preserving our environment for future generations. But if you look at polling across the country, that’s not reflected in any way, specifically among women.

And so, I actually was looking at swing states. There’s about eight swing states that we all have our eyes on as we head into this November’s election. And in all of these swing states, women specifically said that the issue of clean energy and climate change is fairly important or extremely important, that their members of Congress support policies that do promote clean energy. These states include Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia. And then interestingly, there’s a big disparity between what voters in these states say Republican members do care about and should care about.

So, all of these swing states are saying that their members of Congress should care about clean energy and climate change, above 80%, near 90% for a lot of these states. But then the percent of voters polled who say their members of Congress do care about these issues drops to in the forties, in some cases, Florida, for example, 47%. And I think that’s a big problem for conservatives.

Look, the root of conservatives is to conserve. We care about conserving the environment and we actually have solutions that can make the biggest impact on global emissions standards. And to go back to this false choice that we often hear activists on the left present, they say it’s sort of green energy or nothing. And I know this is sort of an intimidating topic to get into, clean energy. There’s so many different moving parts and you kind of are worried you’re going to say the wrong thing because it’s sort of a wonky topic to get into, but I think one of the most important things that women could and should be vocal about is the difference between green energy and clean energy.

Green energy means renewable sources of energy. So that’s wind and solar. Clean energy encompasses so much more. Clean energy sources don’t always qualify as renewable sources of energy, but they are clean. They include hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants. Those two sources alone produced 70% of America’s zero emission electricity in 2018. And to this day, those two sources remain the most promising sources of zero emission energy. Natural gas power plants are another source of nonrenewable, but clean energy sources. They produce fewer carbon emissions than traditional sources.

And according to the Energy Information Administration, which is the official energy statistics from the US government, natural gas, more emission reductions than wind and solar combined. And last, but not least, the last energy source I want to mention is carbon capture. This is a very promising clean energy technology that allows new or existing coal or gas-fired power plants to produce cleaner energy. Again, carbon capture technologies are not a renewable source of energy, but they provide the opportunity to transform old dirty sources of energy to zero emission energy sources.

So, this I think is really a frontier that conservatives needs to be more vocal about. We need to have stronger messaging on because I know personally, as a mother, I want to leave my family, my children, with a clean environment going forward. And unfortunately, we all know that natural disasters aren’t solely the result of climate change and like what certain politicians on the left might claim, but we do need to confront the fact that these natural disasters are becoming more common. Whether or not climate change is contributing to them or not is sort of irrelevant because the fact of the matter is we all want to have a clean and sustainable environment.

And we are innovating. America is really the leader on the global stage for producing technologies and inventing technologies that are going to enable not just the United States, but the entire world to combat global missions.


Yeah, so much of this is about innovation. And I do think it’s a shame that this topic often becomes a political football where you have parties use it for their own position. I think also the distinction you made between green energy and clean energy is really important. I would say everybody in this country wants us to have cleaner energy. The problem is we are often presented with that binary once again, and that is, if you talk to a family, if you talk to a woman, if you talk to a mother and you said, “Okay, we can go all renewable, but your electricity isn’t going to be consistent. How do you feel about that?” most women wouldn’t be happy with that.

So it is realizing we need to continue to innovate. And I think California is a perfect example. They have rolling blackouts and brownouts. My family lives there. I grew up there with the wildfires that are taking place, which even the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, did admit this month a lot of that is poor forest management and not clearing out brush. My sister is having to tape up her doors and windows right now because of the smoke seeping in her house. She actually said to me, “I wonder if I need to leave because I feel like I’m a bad mom because I feel like this isn’t healthy for my kids.” And I think that’s what a lot of women are having to ask themselves as they’re living out there.

And so I hope that as we see politicians talk about this issue more, I love that IWF focuses on this and brings good research, I wish you would get some of the political narratives out of the way so that we can actually have a thorough, good discussion. Because just calling people climate arsonists if they disagree with your perspective, in my opinion, isn’t the way to approach this.


Absolutely. And it’s important to point out a lot of the solutions proposed by these left leaning politicians, like the Green New Deal, are completely unworkable. The Green New Deal calls for a hundred percent renewable energy by 2030. Well, right now, imagine if California alone, or any state for that matter, were relying solely on renewable energy sources. That means hospitals would be relying on the sun being out enough hours throughout the day in order to be ensuring that they have enough power to run the ventilators to serve all the patients who are in there because of coronavirus.

And so, this is an issue where there are workable solutions, there is a path towards clean energy that’s going to reduce emissions, but a lot of the renewable green energy sources, we have no ability to store that power right now. Unfortunately, if the sun shines that day, you got to use that energy right away.

But these other forms of clean energy, such as nuclear and natural gas, really provide a promising path forward for both reducing emissions, but also increasing reliability and hopefully decreasing prices for American consumers. Because we know if we jumped the gun and move too quickly into renewables, you can look at what happened in Germany. IWF has some interesting information on that out, I won’t get into today, but energy prices skyrocketed there. So it really is a balance. And ultimately, we need to remember that we all want to work towards the same goals, and that is a cleaner, more sustainable environment. And we should welcome energy and innovation on that front to lead the way.


And the issues we discussed today of course are issues that we’re going to be seen in 2021. Kelsey and I are going to continue to cover them and bring them to you, the issues that are facing women, and how IWF thinks about it due to the research that is done. Before we go, Kelsey, remind us again what that petition is called. I know they can find it on, but the safety petition, what is the name of it?


Absolutely. They can just Google IWF Safety and Security Petition, all you have to do is submit your name and your email, and that helps your voice be heard, it helps policymakers and lawmakers know that this is an issue you care about. I imagine many of you listening, like Beverly and I, have been personally impacted by a lot of the violence and unrest that has broken out across the country. Know that you’re not alone. Know that many of us are experiencing it too, and we are working hard to make all of our voices heard.


And Kelsey, thank you so much for sharing that and being with us today and good luck house hunting. Good luck with looking at where you may live in the future.


Thanks. You too, Beverly.


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