A national award-winning journalist, author, educator and social entrepreneur.

About Michael

BIO shot

Michael Golden is a national award-winning journalist, author, educator and social entrepreneur. He is the author of the book Unlock Congress, and he serves as a Senior Fellow at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy. Michael’s commentary has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Bloomberg News, Huffington Post, CQ Roll Call, RealClearPolitics, Salon, FOX News Channel, PBS and NPR.   

Michael gives presentations about American politics and media to universities, corporations, non-profit organizations and political associations. Unlock Congress has been adopted in academic curricula at universities around the country including: The Ohio State University, Arizona State University, University of Illinois-Chicago, Benedictine University, and Elmhurst College.

A Chicago native who earned his B.A. in broadcast communications from Indiana University, Michael started his career working as a news reporter at NBC and CBS-TV affiliates in Illinois, Iowa, and California. His investigative and public affairs reporting on politics, health care, and criminal justice earned him honors from the Associated Press, the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the National Headliner Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists.


In 2000, Michael returned home to Chicago to serve as Associate Director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Midwest Regional Office. As the ADL’s public voice fighting for civil rights in the six-state region, he managed media and communications and authored editorials published in major newspapers throughout the Midwest.

After earning a Master’s Degree in Public Services Management from DePaul University, Michael transitioned to political strategy and campaign management.  From 2001 – 2006, he managed U.S. Senate and House races in Illinois. In the 2004 presidential campaign, he served as one of John Kerry’s statewide communications directors.

In late 2006, Michael co-founded One Million Degrees (OMD), a nonprofit scholarship program designed to empower low-income community college students in Illinois. From its inception, he recruited a bipartisan leadership council of city, state and federal lawmakers to support the effort. OMD has raised more than $10 million to help hundreds of scholars to graduate and launch careers. In 2012, Michael co-founded Complete The Degree, an OMD-affiliated program designed to motivate adults to return to college to finish their education.


In 2015, inspired by his two decades working for and with politicians, Michael spent two years researching and writing Unlock Congress: Reform the Rules – Restore the System. An accessible diagnosis of the defects impairing America’s “First Branch” – as well as a platform of solutions to reform it – the book received public endorsements from across the political spectrum. Michael continues to write a column in the Huffington Post and also publishes in the Chicago Sun-Times and CQ Roll Call. He is a political science professor at Arizona State University and Benedictine University.

A former Media Fellow at the Open Society Institute and International Fellow at the British-American Project, Michael has served on the boards of the Shriver Poverty Law Center, Spark and the Anti-Defamation League. He continues to raise public and private resources for OMD, and based on his work in education and workforce development, he was appointed by the Illinois General Assembly to serve on the state’s Commission on the Elimination of Poverty.

In addition to his obsession with politics, Michael is passionate about the entire Sinatra oeuvre, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the ever-continuing pursuit of dropping his 4-golf handicap to a “scratch.”