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Speak up for good government.

The fifth of my good government principles is "Account for Regional Differences".


One of the most important duties of Congress is to approve funding for all government activities and initiatives. Federal funding flows to states and local entities for a number of programs including Medicaid, public education, and elections. In conjunction with this funding process, Congress considers the latitude given to state and local governments in how federal funds can be used and the specific goals and/or desired outcomes associated with the allocated funds.


The regional differences principle closely complements the commitment to problem solving principle that I articulated in April. Effective problem solving requires defining the problem that needs to be solved, establishing and gaining consensus on clear and realistic objectives, and empowering those on the front line to execute solutions. Through the accounting for regional differences principle, I am advocating for a legislative approach that focuses heavily on providing states and localities with the funding and resources necessary to achieve clearly defined national objectives.


Here are a couple of examples that illustrate the regional differences principle:


Two years ago, I shared a framework for reducing gun violence. One of the key components of that proposal was establishing a national goal for gun violence reduction combined with funding and freedom for states and localities to employ regional approaches to address the problem.


My work on electoral quality and integrity has reinforced my belief in the importance of regional approaches to national "problems". According to Ballotpedia, "more than 10,000 local entities administer elections in the United States". Each "entity" or "board of elections" shares and supports the national goal of ensuring every eligible voter has a fair opportunity to cast their ballot while ensuring all votes have been accurately counted.


An additional benefit to this approach of legislating is that it facilitates the identification and sharing of best practices. When properly deployed, accompanied by the transparent sharing of data and experience, government officials and the public can learn about, promote, and implement successes from other localities and avoid mistakes that were made elsewhere.


Simply put, the "regional differences" principle advocates for Congress and the federal government to empower state and local governments with the funding, tools and infrastructure to support the achievement of national goals.



This month's social media posts:


Have a great month and a great Fourth of July holiday.





My fourth good government principle is Respect for Opposing Views. Not only is this principle relevant to discourse with our friends, family, and acquaintances, but it's absolutely critical to governing. Regardless of which party is in charge, good and representative government requires incorporating feedback from across the aisle.


R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


Opinion polls show that broad bipartisan majorities want Congress to work collaboratively to achieve solutions and pass legislation. And I don't expect that sentiment will change any time soon.


I firmly believe that regardless of who's in charge, our legislators should incorporate feedback from the other party. Even in landslide elections, two out of every five voters support the losing candidate. Incorporating feedback and ideas from the "other side of the aisle" fosters greater acceptance of resulting legislation and is a proven tactic of successful managers.


This article by Robert Half points out that incorporating differing opinions in the workplace can reduce risks by 30% while improving innovation by 20%. Although the article speaks to diversity in the workplace, a key takeaway that's relevant to Congress and to an effective government, is that incorporating a broad range of viewpoints and perspectives in legislation will promote new ideas and increase the productivity of Congress.


That conclusion was supported in a study published last year by the Center for Effective Lawmaking that found that effective lawmakers are willing to support well-thought-out proposals across the aisle, and in turn receive bipartisan support for their best policy solutions.



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This month I had the pleasure of attending the American Society's (ASQ) World Conference on Quality and Improvement, and was able to reconnect with some great people I have been working with in the Government Division. I came away from the conference reinvigorated by the great work that Quality professionals are doing to improve our government and to improve the countless other sectors represented by Quality professionals.

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Wishing you all a good Memorial Day. Thanks to all that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.


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My first two good government principles, free and fair elections and providing voters essential information, focus on electing legislators that reflect our views and meet our expectations.


My third principle, commitment to problem solving, focuses on how we'd like our elected legislators to do their job. Too often politics gets in the way of producing meaningful legislation designed to address difficult problems. Remember the failure to pass the "grand bargain" in 2011, which would've shored up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and greatly reduced our federal deficit. Or immigration reform, an issue that presidents from both parties have also failed to address, despite its growing importance to voters.



The recent bipartisan legislation on foreign aid, although a very messy and lengthy process, is a positive example of members of Congress working together to produce meaningful legislation. A big contributor to this successful outcome was respect for each other's priorities shown by members on both sides of the aisle. More on "respect" next month!


One of the recommendations that resonated with me from this article on pragmatic problem solving is to "begin with agreeing on the problem, not the policy outcome you desire." Too often, our elected representatives are more interested in promoting their agenda than addressing the problem at hand.


Effective problem solving requires defining the problem to be solved, followed by a good faith effort to solve that problem. As voters, we need to demand such a commitment from our elected officials and need to applaud and recognize those in Congress like the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus that has stated their commitment to advancing common-sense solutions to key issues facing our nation.


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It has been a busy and productive last several weeks for Speak Up for Good Government.


I was able to facilitate an introduction between Braver Angels and Voice of the People. Both organizations are doing outstanding work, and I believe there are opportunities for synergies between the two organizations.


Over at the Center for Electoral Quality and Integrity, we launched a website , which includes functionality for election officials, election experts, and voters to review and provide online feedback to our Operations System map.


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Thanks for reading and sharing this newsletter with others. Have a great month!



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