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Introducing FixGov: A Blog Focused on Mending Broken Government & Heralding Smart Governance Solutions

An early morning flight from Washington Reagan National Airport takes off as workers erect scaffolding at the Washington Monument in the nation's capital (REUTERS/Gary Cameron).

Greetings!

Welcome to FixGov, the newest blog from the Brookings Institution. FixGov will serve as a virtual forum for those who care about solving our most pressing domestic policy and governance challenges.  As part of the research effort of the larger Center for Effective Public Management, FixGov’s goal is to improve the function of government and offer policy ideas that are effective and efficient and meet the needs of the American people. Our mission is to develop solutions that are actionable and move us past common roadblocks to government reform and innovation.

Too often, “fixes” put idealism above ideas. FixGov aims to be different. Our diverse group of contributors will offer recommendations that actively account for the current political environment and policy needs. Efforts that dismiss challenges that are embedded in politics—partisanship, polarization, gridlock—bring us no closer to solutions.

Our name—FixGov—maintains a clear focus on problems. However, you will not find this forum to be a screed that condemns all government action. One critical “fix” for the challenges at the federal level is allowing government to learn from itself. We will not only applaud good government, but draw lessons from those examples that can be applied to other federal programs and agencies. In many instances, “good government” exists, and where it does, we will showcase it as actively as we do government’s shortcomings.

Our contributors will include scholars within The Center for Effective Public Management as well as the broader Brookings community. In addition, we will rely on contributions from elected officials, policymakers, academics and others. One of the deepest challenges in government is insulated thinking, and as we encourage agencies to break out of that bubble, it would be a mistake to hem ourselves into one. Thus, our contributors will ensure that our perspective is relevant and diverse, drawing from all areas of the policy world. The goal is to start and continue a conversation about what needs to be fixed and how best to fix it.

To open this blog series, we are introducing ourselves as we take the helm at FixGov. Elaine Kamarck will serve as senior editor and Founding Director of our new center. John Hudak will serve as managing editor and is a Fellow in the center. We hope to provide useful insight for a diverse readership, while being responsive to input from our readers. As the blog grows, we welcome your feedback, suggestions, and comments. You can reach us at FixGov@brookings.edu.

And with that, away we go!

Thank you,

Elaine Kamarck
John Hudak

  • Elaine C. Kamarck is a senior fellow in the Governance Studies program at Brookings and the Founding Director of the Center for Effective Public Management. She is also senior editor of FixGov, a blog focused on discussing domestic political and governance challenges and realistic solutions. She is a public sector scholar with wide experience in government, academia and politics. Kamarck is an expert on government innovation and reform in the United States, OECD countries and developing countries.  In addition, she also focuses her research on the presidential nomination system and American politics and has worked in many American presidential campaigns. In the 1980s, she helped to found the “New Democrat” movement that resulted in the presidency of Bill Clinton.

    As a senior staffer in the White House she created the National Performance Review, the largest government reform effort in the last half of the twentieth century. After the White House, she spent fifteen years at Harvard University teaching government management and American politics.   She is the author of How Change Happens—Or Doesn’t: The Politics of U.S. Public Policy (Lynne Rienner, 2013), which explores transformative changes in the space where politics and policy overlap and asks why some policies succeed and others fail. Her most recent book on politics is Primary Politics: How Presidential Candidates Have Shaped the Modern Nominating System and her most recent book on government organization is The End of Government As we Know it: Making Public Policy Work.

  • John Hudak is a fellow in Governance Studies and Managing Editor of the FixGov blog. His research examines questions of presidential power in the contexts of administration, personnel, and public policy. Additionally, he focuses on campaigns and elections, bureaucratic process and legislative-executive interaction. He is the author of the new book, Presidential Pork.

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