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Newsletter – May 2022

Welcome to the May edition of the Speak Up for Good Government newsletter! I hope you are enjoying a safe and restful holiday weekend. I'm happy to report that May was a very active and productive month.


Some highlights:

  1. As a follow up to the testimony I submitted to the Congressional Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress, I had a meeting with a member of Representative David Joyce's staff. Representative Joyce represents my Congressional district and is a member of the Congressional Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

  2. At the World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI), I participated in the ASQ Government Division's annual strategy meeting.

  3. I completed the Poynter Institute's "How to Spot Misinformation Online" media literacy course.

More on Election Quality and Integrity and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress in upcoming posts. This month's newsletter will focus on two principles: Commitment to Excellence and Accurate and Unbiased Voter Info.


It was an absolute honor and a pleasure to participate in the ASQ Government Division's annual strategy meeting. I left that meeting and the WCQI conference invigorated knowing that there is strong commitment, with dedicated and talented resources, in locations as diverse as Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), North Carolina; the Regional Municipality of Peel (encompasses three cities outside of Toronto); and the states of Missouri and Illinois. The successful programs in those and other areas provide evidence that a commitment to excellence is possible and achievable in government.


I was also reminded of the reach and importance of government in our lives. We rightly get frustrated with the dysfunction of our political process and the frequent gridlock in Congress. However, government is entrusted with essential functions as diverse as airline safety, maintaining our roads and bridges, mass transit, and firefighting. Effectiveness of these functions varies greatly based on municipality and region, but there are many examples of high functioning agencies leveraging state of the art tools and techniques to provide the high-quality services constituents have a right to expect.

I have posted a separate document that provides a detailed summary of tools and techniques from the Poynter Institute's July 2021 course on "How to Spot Misinformation Online." Although the course is designed for people 50 and over, there are useful elements for everyone, and I highly recommend setting aside the hour required to take this free course.


Some key points for all to consider:

  • Social media platforms weren't developed with facts and truth in mind.

  • Before sharing something with your network take a moment to do a fact-check.

  • There are 3 key questions to ask before sharing something:

    • Who's behind the information?

    • What's the evidence?

    • What are other sources saying?

Although I continue to firmly believe that content providers and the media need to make it much easier to quickly check the veracity and integrity of posts and articles, all of us have a responsibility to become more media-literate. The tools provided in the "How to Spot Misinformation Online" course can be easily used and mastered by all.

I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to touch on the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas. We are united in horror and outrage over these senseless killings. But what follows is a recurring pattern: familiar talking points, placing blame, and inaction. Until we take the time to acknowledge and respect opposing views (principle #4) and truly commit ourselves to a good faith effort to solve the problem (principle #3), we will be caught in the same vicious cycle.

Have a good month and take care.


Allan

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