Thought Leadership Thursday
“When State Treasurers Speak, Federal Decisionmakers Listen”
Thought Leadership Thursday Article
|NAST Members and Supporters:
I am excited to have joined the team here at NAST as Policy Director and have already had the pleasure of meeting with many of our members. First, thank you for the warm welcome, and second, I am truly impressed with the level of engagement NAST members have within the Association.
I recently moved to the Washington DC area with my family (wife and two kids, ages 7 and 9) from California where I had spent the last seven years as the Senior Legislative Representative for the California Special Districts Association. In that position I advocated on behalf of water, utility, healthcare, fire, and other districts before the California State Legislature and state agencies, including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, on issues related to employment law, pensions, healthcare, government transparency, and financial reporting. Prior to that position, I spent over a decade working as a staff-person in the California State Legislature where I served as Chief of Staff to three different legislators.
In my role at NAST, I plan to utilize my two-plus decades of policy and advocacy experience to build upon NAST’s efforts to achieve the Association’s vision, "to be the nation’s foremost authority for responsible state treasury programs and related financial practices, policies, and education." In order to achieve that I’m going to rely heavily upon NAST members to advocate for our positions to their elected officials
Though he wasn’t the first to say it, former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill made the phrase "all politics is local" popular. It remains true today. During my time working with the California State Legislature, I found that, without question, the most effective way to influence policy makers’ decisions is for them to hear directly from their constituents. The legislators I worked for always made time to meet with or speak on the phone with their constituents, and asked that if their office ever received a letter from a constituent that the letter be put directly into their hands. In representative government, the most important voice to policy makers is always going to be those whom they represent. What is true in California is also true in the U.S. Congress.
As Treasurer Goldberg once said, "when State Treasurers speak, federal decisionmakers listen." If we want to be successful, we must speak up. If you haven’t already, now is the time to develop relationships with your congressional representatives from your state. When you reach out to them, they will listen. More importantly, they want to hear from you. Members of Congress want to hear from experts and their constituents on the impact proposed legislation will have on the communities and states they serve, and you, as Treasurers, are both constituents and experts on financial matters. You are invaluable because you assist them in doing their job while also serving your constituents.
In the coming weeks and months, Congress will take on a number of significant issues and they need your expertise and guidance. I encourage you all to attend NAST’s upcoming Quarterly Legislative Update on Friday December 17 at 11 am ET/ 10 am CT/ 9 am MT/ 8 am PT, to learn about the issues and how you can assist your representatives and provide greater benefits to your constituents. We’ll talk about the recently passed infrastructure bill, the proposed Build Back Better Act, the national debt limit and more. If you wish to attend but didn’t receive the invitation to attend the Zoom meeting, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the meeting link.
I look forward to working with you all to achieve the NAST vision.