Week Eleven: The Final Chapter

This is my last post for the summer, and it is very bittersweet for me. I have loved working for the City of Durham, and my last day of work this Friday will be an emotional one. I have had the best supervisors (seen below), worked on projects of great interest to me, and have been able to network with more passionate local government employees than I can count.

As a final project, I have two presentations I will be sharing with the Director and Assistant Director of the Budget & Management Services Department. First, I will give a brief explanation of what I have done this summer. And second, I will give an in-depth presentation about the local sales tax research project I was tasked with. After combing through data from 2008-2019 and running a variety of Pivot Tables, I feel ready to present my findings.

We have several local sales tax revenues that come into the City of Durham, which have been designated to us by the state. Articles 39, 40, 42, and 44 give explanations about where the money is coming from, and where it is allocated. One of my charts, explaining how revenues have changed over time, can be seen below. If you want to see more of my charts and tables, feel free to reach out to me.

When I first started my professional work experience, I was desperate for any recommendations people would have for me. So check out my tips for starting a new job or internship!

          1. Watch as much stand-up comedy the night before to get you relaxed before the stressful first day
          2. Find ways to connect with people in and out of your department, especially other interns
          3. Volunteer to work on every project that interests you because no matter what it will be a learning opportunity
          4. Write down all of your best memories, and ALSO everyone’s book/podcast recommendations, as they are usually related to the field
          5. If you’re working for a city or county, find ways to learn the ins and outs of each department so you can apply each lesson to your career after graduation

The rest of my week will be filled with tough goodbyes and several final lunches. But in two weeks I’ll have to get back to school and I am (shockingly) excited about it. I cannot wait to apply what I learned in the field to the classroom. Now I’m one step closer to making change on a local level. Let’s do this thing.

Image result for im ready gif leslie knope

Week Ten: City of Durham Ride-A-Longs

My supervisors have been incredibly supportive of me getting a well-rounded local government experience. One of their goals as part of my time in Durham, was for me to have several ride-a-long opportunities. As the summer has gone on, I have been able to meet with Inspections, Public Affairs, Solid Waste, Police, and more.


For my Inspections ride-a-long, I was with a member of the building inspections team. They generally look at the framework for incoming businesses and new homes. This division recently started using GIS to map out their route each morning to determine where they needed to go. Previously, they would have to create their own map, which added about an hour every day. By creating this system, it has increased productivity and allowed for more inspections per day to be accomplished.

On this ride I learned more about the City of Durham, and all of the moving parts that go into accomplishing a project. For example, for a house turning into an Airbnb that is changing its basic structure, at each stage of the changes, all divisions of Inspections must go to the site to approve their work. This can create “red tape” but ensures that all structures are as safe as possible.

Public Affairs

One of the jobs of the Public Affairs Department within the City Manager’s Office is to run the live-streams of the City Council meetings. Although at first it might seem simple, once you get a behind-the-scenes preview, you can better understand the complications. There are six different cameras, on at all times, and two people need to be in the back room monitoring them the whole time. Additionally, someone not on-site works on the closed captions the entire time. There is usually a delay in speech, and that is because they are on a call listening to the meeting. City Council nights can be exhausting for those who stay to create the televised session, but it adds to transparency.

Image result for durham city council chambers

Solid Waste

This was an INCREDIBLE experience. I really got a better understanding of the City of Durham by spending four hours on a garbage truck. I was on one of the “exempt” trucks, which means that the truck picks up garbage from a resident’s address if they cannot take it to the curb themselves. These trucks go to each home, find the trash can, and empty it in the back of the truck personally. I did not even know this was offered by the City of Durham, and was in awe of the benefits it provides.

During my ride-a-long, I was on the recycling truck, and realized just how inaccurately people recycle. Although I’ve always known the process isn’t perfect, I was surprised by some of the things people considered to be recyclable materials. Durham’s Solid Waste Department is working hard to educate people about how to get rid of their trash, but hopefully more people will catch on.



The Police Department was one of the ride-a-longs I was most excited for, and it lived up to the hype. Although it was raining and nothing too wild happened, I gained valuable knowledge on how the department functions. First, all issues that are called in need to have someone dispatched. Someone has to deal with the situation, even if it may seem insignificant. Further, a lot of people call the Police for problems that officers cannot do anything about it. For example, if two people bought something together and one of them takes it, the Police cannot file a theft report, because they technically obtained it together.

Image result for police city of durham

If you ever get a chance to attend any sort of ride-a-long, I recommend you take it! You’ll learn more than you could imagine.

GET (Parks and) REC’D!

happy parks and recreation GIF

Is Salisbury Parks and Recreation anything like the show Parks and Recreation? While I don’t think real life can live up to the crazy antics of what is admittedly one of my favorite shows, it is important to note that there is the same (if not greater) level of dedication toward serving the community. There also aren’t any pits in Salisbury as far as I know.

While there are no pits, people are still able to bring in their own ideas for public parks and programming, which Parks and Recreation is always happy to hear. In fact, one program was proposed and considered this week involving an organization that would like to use a kitchen space in the Teen Center for cooking classes. The organization primarily caters (puns are good for you) to youth who have some sort of criminal past to help them get back on track, but they are willing to offer classes to general community youth as well. Such a program can teach youth life skills, potential vocational skills, and how to operate under stressful conditions (wait, I’m not the only one stressed out in the kitchen right?). While I don’t know whether the program will be able to start this year, it is certainly inspiring to see Parks and Recreation open to any ideas from the community it serves.

It is not often that a parks and recreation department has an opportunity to add a large park to the downtown area, so I was fortunate in getting to attend a meeting about just that. The Bell Tower Green project involves turning a large, mostly parking-lot-filled area into a beautiful park with a kids play space, plants and trees, a grass field, and a stage for potential events. For you budget nerds (don’t worry, me too) who are looking through the Salisbury budget for the secret magic account full of money, the City does not own this property yet. Instead, an outside organization owns it and is funding the creation of the park, which will later be given to the care of the City (the deal may be more complicated than this, but you get the idea). Keep this project on your radar because this place is going to be gorgeous when it is done. Click HERE for the website with a model drawing!

Walking the potential greenway

Don’t worry, I did get outside some this week. The City is currently looking into a new greenway space that would connect other existing greenway trails. Interestingly enough, one of the best locations for this new trail was in a Duke Energy right-of-way, where there are no trees in the way. To get a feel of the space, we met with Duke Energy (who was very willing to work with us, so shout out) and representatives from the Carolina Thread Trail (definitely check this out) at the site of the proposed trail. It definitely makes you appreciate the trails more having to walk them before they are trimmed up and paved!

Parks and Recreation has a lot more going on as well, including awesome facilities that give youth a great place to hang out and play, and some fantastic events that bring in tourism and business from out of town (which requires A LOT of planning ahead by the way – Cheerwine Festival 2020 is already being planned). On top of everything else, they are planning for growth in the future. It was definitely a great experience being with a group of people who are dedicated to expanding the Salisbury Parks and Recreation scope in any way that can benefit the community.

While this was my final week with The City of Salisbury (I know, it’s sad), come back next week as I do a final recap of my amazing experience and do a final sign off! If you have any questions on any of my experience, feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer it. See you next week!



Chatham’s NEW County Commissioners

Yep, you heard that right – we got new County Commissioners outside of the election cycle.

Ok, so maybe they weren’t exactly sworn in, but they did volunteer to serve and make decisions about the County’s future. Oh, and I should also mention that they are all under the age of 19 years old. Here they are…

picture of 6 latinx youth and two county commissioners sitting in the commissioner chairs in the historic court house
[Photo from Chatham News + Record] With an assist from actual Commissioners Jim Crawford (third from left) and Diana Hales (third from right, the “commissioners” were, from left to right, Noemi Mora, Oscar Manzanarez, Chair Kevin Manzanarez, Vice Chair Cesia Lopez and Berenice Diaz.
Let me explain…

The Orgullo Latinx Pride youth group of El Vinculo Hispano/The Hispanic Liaison and Lindsay Ray, the County Clerk, organized a mock Board of Commissioners meeting to show Latinx youth a little more about the role of County Commissioners. The youth got to serve in varying capacities throughout the activity such as commissioners, the clerk, and residents.

Picture of citizen at public input
[Photo from Chatham News + Record] “Citizen #2” Jocelyn Gonzalez shares her thoughts on why the board of commissioners should have a social media page during the public input session of the meeting.
It was truly a fun experience. The “newly elected” commissioners got to listen to public input about social media use to promote awareness of local government and help for a fundraiser. Then, they got to listen to public hearings about school uniforms and banning chewing gum in schools. They even got to discuss and vote on the hearings. Lastly, they were able to decide which projects to fund for the upcoming fiscal year. The votes were taken by using starburst candy. (I may or may not have eaten quite a few of the candies myself).

Picture of the voting vases with starbursts that show which projects got funded
[Photo from Chatham News + Record] The final votes on possible funding options, as picked by “commissioners.” A new costume and updated robot friend for Sparky the Fire Dog and an “Adopt-A-Pet Visiting Area” at the animal shelter won out.
After the activity, the County Manager’s staff and the commissioners stayed and chatted, answering questions and listening to the youth voice their concerns about their communities. Honestly, it was great to see local government being explored by Latinx youth. As a person of color, I know that building a level of comfort with local government spaces and having the social capital to access those spaces are often prerequisites for entering the local government sphere. I was so happy to be a part of building that foundation of comfort, understanding, and (maybe) trust. One thing I do know is that this won’t be the last time I see these Latinx youth doing great things!

By far, this was probably one of my favorite things since joining Chatham County! 

Week Nine: NCLGA 2019 Summer Conference!

Thank you all for coming back to my blog, despite a lapse since my last post. I was on vacation back home! Although it was good to be back, we spent the majority of the time packing because I have finally convinced my parents to move to North Carolina. But now I’m back and can finally update everyone on the incredible conference I attended from July 10th-12th.

The North Carolina Local Government Budget Association hosted their annual summer conference this year in Wilmington, NC, and I had the opportunity to attend. Just another one of the many reasons I feel so thankful to the City of Durham this summer. Many of the budget folks in attendance lovingly dubbed it the annual “Nerdfest.” And although we did have our moments of “geeking” out about certain topics, it was also a great time for networking and making new friends. See the photo below for a blurry example of new friends.

There were also amazing sessions. I have attached the agenda here if you want to take a look. A large focus was placed on natural disaster relief due to the increasing number of hurricanes that are being experienced in the state. Additionally, the planners of the conference focused on including general state policy updates. One of these was the “Municipal and County Legislative Update,” which provided time to learn about laws being made that will impact cities and counties. We also learned about the economics of the state, and how federal changes would play a role in the upcoming year.


As someone starting their career, one of my favorite sessions was on the pension system. This is one issue I did not know much about going into the conference, but felt extremely knowledgeable on after I left. For those of you who are looking at working in the state of North Carolina, it has one of the best pension systems in the United States. So if you weren’t already interested, hopefully you are now.

Finally, the NCLGBA 2019 Conference has been one of the most growing experiences for me in my graduate school career. `I was able to meet people who have similar interests, while learning more about the field. Although not everyone may find that budget is their passion, there are conferences for everyone. I highly recommend everyone look into a similar opportunity.

Image result for obama applause gif


I will preface this week’s post by saying that Public Services does A LOT around the City of Salisbury. What I describe may not encompass everything and will definitely not do the department justice for their awesome work, but it would probably be bad blogging if I didn’t try.

P.S. – Sorry for the long post, but I broke it up with some pictures to help!


The first hat (and of course I mean role/job – they actually all have the same matching hats) I was exposed to was that of the crews repairing and replacing asphalt and concrete. Crews of around 4 will go to different locations where a road/sidewalk issue was either reported by a citizen or spotted by staff and repair it.

Crew “Topping Off” a low spot in the road

While every job is different, the asphalt crew above laid down a sort of adhesive that helps the new asphalt stick, filled in a sunken spot in the road, and leveled it out again (call it a top-off to show off to local gov friends!). The concrete crew below is finishing a sidewalk (sorry if this triggers any of my repeat readers) that was torn up to gain access to a pipe below. While crew members have certain preferences or jobs they are better at, Public Services values flexibility, so most staff are cross-trained to run any crews or machines necessary.

Putting finishing touches on the new concrete sidewalk


The second hat of the week was with solid waste, more commonly known as the people that come by once a week and take your trash to a magical far off land (SPOILER ALERT – it’s the Rowan County landfill). Trash pickup itself is a pretty simple concept, BUT WAIT, I brought a gift in the form of a fun fact: the trashcans have to be somewhat cylindrical so that the automatic arm can get a good grip. One day this week, a lady called to ask if we had mistakenly taken her trashcan. After calling up the driver on her route, it was discovered that she had an older model can with a square shape, which the mechanical arm decided to throw away for her (the can slipped out of the arms grip).

Pile of cans to be recycled pre-baled
Cans to be recycled, post-baler

Recycling has been a hot topic lately, since China decided to stop taking the highly contaminated materials from the US (top challenge in local government: teach citizens proper recycling practices). Salisbury waste is fortunate to work closely with Rowan County, that has a neat recycling program that managed to find buyers for the materials it does recycle. At the Rowan recycling locations, one of which is seen below, the main materials accepted are aluminum cans, steel and tin cans, cardboard, 1 and 2 plastics, and glass. Feel free to ask me for more information, but the neatest thing to find out is that Rowan actually found a company in North Carolina that will buy their glass and use it for glass (glass-to-glass recycling instead of grinding it up for another purpose). This is neat because the lack of market for and heavy weight (more expensive shipping) of recycled glass has forced a lot of places in the US to stop recycling it.


The third hat is worn especially by one man, who is a landscape architect and arborist among other certifications. He helped design a number of neighborhood parks and is extremely knowledgeable about tree and plant life. One cool service Salisbury is testing is having the arborist respond to calls from concerned citizens to educate and prevent future damage from dying trees. This is certainly a position that could get overlooked in government, but it goes a long way to making Salisbury look beautiful and feel safe.


Stormwater control is a crucial and fascinating hat of Public Services. Not only do they maintain those storm drain systems you see on the road (gutters that lead to grates in the ground) that help prevent flooding, but they work to ensure that stormwater enters the streams and other water systems without harmful contamination. They even bought a new street sweeper, Unicorn 1, as a cost efficient way to keep harmful metals and other trash out of the system. My personal favorite part of the job is that they not only test the water with probes, but they look at the aquatic life as an indication of water quality. The Mayfly, for example, is a sensitive aquatic based insect that cannot survive in poor water – the more Mayflys you find, the better your water is doing.

Street Sweeper Unicorn 1 – there is a Unicorn hidden on the side


Cemetery duty is important, especially in a town as old as Salisbury. While it comes with the maintenance of the cities cemeteries, it also includes helping with more historic based projects. One such project, currently getting ready for phase 2, is the creation of a memorial and cemetery for the nearly 500 unmarked African-American graves that were discovered in a field in town.

This job also comes with the crucial job of protecting “the foot”. In this case, the picture says more than I can – and YES, it is an actual grave.

Grave of a foot in a cemetery


I admit that as I write this, I have not yet been with the Fleet division of Public Services. However, I am told that they can maintain and repair all of the city equipment, from new street sweepers down to weed eaters, internally. This in itself is amazing considering that, at least for the street sweeper, the equipment goes well beyond the complexity of your average car. I am very eager to find out more.


I am sure that there are even more hats that Public Services wears, but I have already written way more than intended on my week of experience alone. Let us just say that Public Services does a lot for the City, and there would AT LEAST be potholes, flooding, and mucky water everywhere if they were not as good and dedicated to their jobs as they are.

HR Packs a Punch with Small Gestures!

Meet Chatham County’s Human Resources Director, Carolyn Miller.

funny photo of HR Director Carolyn Miller dressed as Dorothy for Halloween
Carolyn Miller: our fun, lively Human Resources Director

On Thursday last week, I had the opportunity to shadow Carolyn.  I learned more about how conflicts are managed, HR consultations, new employee orientation, and all the many things our HR department does and manages. But of course, I got to learn more about the little things that Chatham County’s HR department does that makes a big impact on employees. 

Little things, Big impact

Thing 1: Promotions are celebrated by baked goods. Chatham County employs over 500 employees and HR makes sure to celebrate each promotion. Every time that there is a promotion in the County, the four HR staff make a basket of baked goods for that employee.  This is definitely a nice touch that shows that HR cares and is proud of you!

photo of powerpoint from new employee orientation that says diversity, equity and inclusion
Picture from new employee orientation of the beginning of the diversity, equity and inclusion portion

Thing 2: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are embedded into new employee orientation. Chatham County’s HR department makes sure that diversity, equity and inclusion is something that you hear from the beginning of your career with Chatham County. Carolyn reviews key definitions and how every individual’s culture impacts their reality, starting with her own story. Carolyn stresses the importance of these values and the continued work that everyone must engage in to overcome our implicit biases.

Thing 3: Desk chairs and colors were intentionally selected to impact organizational image. You are probably wondering what HR has to do with desk chairs and colors. Apparently, a good deal! Carolyn Miller told me that she and the previous County Manager intentionally picked a medium oak colored desk and cloth-backed chairs for their offices to promote a more welcoming space. She said that they steered clear of mahogany desks and leather chairs because that created a more ostentatious look. Moral of the story is that HR played an important role in being intentional in how they crafted the County Manager’s space.

picture of HR staff dressed in wizard of oz costumes
Halloween 2018: HR staff dresses as the Wizard of Oz

Thing 4: HR + the County Manager judge an annual County-wide employee Halloween costume contest. First and foremost, the HR department does reverse trick-or-treating and goes to each department in the County to pass out candy on Halloween. In addition to that, the departments (as individuals or groups) can also enter the costume contests! I saw the pictures from years before…Chatham County employees go ALL OUT.

Thing 4: An employee-generated policy idea became HR policy & it is the only one of its kind in the STATE. In the County, there is a Personnel Committee where employees are selected to represent employees to HR staff. The Personnel Committee presented HR with the idea of a “Tobacco Free Petty Leave Policy.” Petty leave for those who don’t know is “free time off” granted by your employer to use for running errands or whatever you want. Chatham County does grant each employee an allotted amount of petty leave, but if you are a non-tobacco user (verified from your medical provider) then you are granted additional petty leave known as tobacco free petty leave. If you are a tobacco user that enrolls in a cessation program, you are granted some tobacco free petty leave as well. This is the only policy like it in the state and it was completely generated by employees and accepted by HR. This shows HR’s commitment to employee health.

photo of goody bag filled with tootsie rolls for 2017 employee appreciation day that says great serivice is how we roll - happy employee appreciation day 2017!
2017 Employee Appreciation Day

Thing 6: HR marks “Employee Appreciation Day” and visits every department with small gifts. On this day in March, the HR department and the County Manager go to every department and office to pass out goodies and talk with folks to show their appreciation. This is a great way for people to interact with the County Manager.

Thing 7: Annual Salsa and Chili Contests for employees. Every year in the fall, County employees can also compete in the annual salsa and chili contests. The chili that won last year had an unexpected twist – CHOCOLATE. Apparently, it was a mole (Mexican dish)-inspired chili recipe.

Needless to say, I learned a lot about how Chatham County’s Human Resources Department gets creative to make employees happy and proud to work for the County.


For those of you either disappointed that I didn’t post last week or because I didn’t post about Transit, hopefully this double-header will make up for the wrong that has been done.

Example of an electric bus.

Last week, I spent an enlightening week with Transit. In addition to doing some Excel projects for Transit that will hopefully save some time and effort in the future, I was able to research busing options that Salisbury may be interested in pursuing in the future. For starters, I looked at electric buses. These vehicles present a challenge in that they save money and the environment over time, but the upfront cost of the vehicle is significantly higher than a gas or diesel vehicle, and it requires extra infrastructure and maintenance training for the electric batteries. Other vehicles I researched were smaller shuttles (electric and gas) that may be less expensive but still cater to Salisbury’s ridership, and family vans that could potentially be used like a local government Uber. All of these ideas sound interesting and worthwhile, but how can you predict what your city will need years down the road (small pun, not sorry), considering these vehicles are a long-term investment.

This just in, let’s talk about Communications!

Communications really is the key, especially to a local government that wants its citizens to be aware of what is going on and how their local government can benefit them. For example, the Salisbury Police Department has some really cool initiatives to help reduce crime and build the relationship between Police and residents (they have a Police Ice Cream Truck!!!), but no citizens would know of these efforts if communications wasn’t there to get the message out. All that is to say, your initiative/program could be the greatest in the world, but it means nothing if it isn’t communicated to and understood by the people it is meant to help.

One of my favorite projects this week was working on an article about Fleet personnel who hit a huge goal in Emergency Vehicle Technician certification. While writing the article is challenging due to the difference in style from this blog, where I basically ramble on and yet you are STILL reading, but it is rewarding knowing that even just a few citizens will see that city staff are trying to better serve the city. Plus, you get to show staff that you appreciate their hard work and accomplishments.

Filming for Salisbury Now.

A final cool project was a video I helped on (I held the boom mic so I am kind of a big deal) for Salisbury Now, which is a television program about what is going on in the City, produced by the communications department and aired on local access TV. These videos can also be viewed online, and are such a neat way to get the information to people like me, who would rather watch a video than read a newsletter.

That’s all for now! Tune in next week for Public Services, and maybe I will fill a pothole!

MEMO: Chatham Organizational Quirks

**DIsclaimer: if you recently finished year 1 of the mpa program, it may be too soon to see another memo. if this post is triggering, please click the small ‘x’ in the upper right hand corner. Other than that – welcome to this week’s blog. Surprise! It’s written in memo format. every MPA-er knows that memos are life. So, here ya go!

TO:                  MPA Matters Readers

FROM:         Courtney Cooper-Lewter, MSW/MPA Intern 

DATE:           10 July 2019

SUBJECTChatham County Manager’s Office Organizational Culture & Quirks

The purpose of this memo is to outline some of the organizational quirks of the Chatham County Manager’s Office, from an intern’s perspective. 


HAPPY TWO MONTH-IVERSARY to me and the Chatham County Manager’s Office! I have spent the last two months really diving deep into understanding Chatham culture and the Manager’s Office, in general. I am very grateful to be working in an office that embraces me as part of the team, not just an intern.  Plus, this office is quirky and eclectic and awesome! So in this memo, I will discuss some of the key things that make this office’s culture different.


According to Management Study Guide, a healthy organizational culture increases motivation, unifies, and brings out the best in employees. So far, there are three aspects of the Chatham County Manager’s Office that make it stand out as a great place to work.

      1. Christmas in July: Yep, that happened. Our awesome Safety and Risk Manager, Marilyn Grant, surprised everyone in the office with a gift + Christmas card on July 1st. The gifts were thoughtful and pretty spot on! For my gift, I got a pretty scarf! I have no idea how she knew I loved scarves. A heavy coffee drinker in our office, who shall remain unnamed, got a cute monogrammed coffee tumbler. After some further investigation, I found out that this is her yearly tradition in the office. I was pleasantly surprised and it was a great mid-summer pick me up!
      2. Eclectic Knowledge: You would be surprised to know that the majority of the folks working in Chatham County Manager’s Office don’t have an MPA or even a government educational background. Our Budget Director has a PhD in psychology. Our Human Resources Director has a history background. And, our County Manager has an environmental engineering degree from NC State! We also have folks that are experienced in furniture sales, pharmaceutical companies, and have basic law enforcement training (BLET) all in one office. This shows that Chatham County Manager’s Office is a place for everybody (and where just about any question can be answered).
      3. HR on the Ground: Chatham County’s Human Resources department is awesome and housed in the County Manager’s Office! It seems like the HR staff individually knows every 500+ employees in the County. It is obvious that they make an effort to learn about new employees and be approachable. My office is right across the hall from the Benefits Manager’s office and people pop in all of the time to ask her questions and just talk. I am convinced she has magical powers because she remembers tons of details about people’s lives, like where their kid goes to school or a vacation someone took recently. A few weeks ago, the HR Director cleaned my office as part of job shadowing of the one of the maintenance workers. HR invites folks out for lunch for check-ins. The HR Director even bought us lunch on July 5th as a celebration of being at work the day after the holiday. Later this week, I will be shadowing the HR Director, so tune in next week to see what I learn!


This final verdict is in….Chatham County Manager’s Office is a warm, welcoming, and fun place to work. 10 out of 10, would recommend!

Weeks 6 and 7 at the Urban Institute

This week at the Urban Institute I had the privilege to bond with the other interns and meet other Urban Institute members at the summer check-in. We got to see how Urban recruits its interns and the work that fellow colleagues are currently conducting as full-time research assistants.
One intern from Duke is working on broader social policy and the other intern from Rice University, also in LHP, is working on child care practices for working parents.
During this time, the interns had the ability to sit in on a lunch with the CEO. We learned how health care policy impacted the Urban Institute and effects of the political divide. There was a sensationalized moment in the Fall of 2016 when Congress was passing a health care bill to repeal the Affordable Care
Act. The Urban Institute responded with policy updates and information that informed the decision makers about issues with the policy rhetoric. As the health care bills were being updated, Urban Institute, responded by fact-checking the information and providing updated facts about the health policy. We learned about this during the intern luncheon chat from the CEO herself. It was quite a fascinating discussion and input.
Urban Institute has a history of being a figure for fact checking during pivotal times in American history. It was founded as the special project of LBJ, during a time of rapid change in the suburban and metropolitan US. The demographic shift and reliance on solid research is not too different from today’s age. We are experiencing a divided US electorate and more people questioning policy choices and asking for facts and figures.
The essence of the Urban Institute and its purpose as an organization advancing the policy and learning about ways to respond, is what will promote long-term strong policy and more informed constituents.