Becky Margiotta is the co-founder of the Billions Institute, an organization committed to unleashing billions of people to spread solutions to the world’s biggest problems in the next 50 years. Becky previously led the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a nationwide large-scale change effort to find and house 100,000 of the most long-term and medically vulnerable homeless people in America by July 2014. A West Point graduate, she commanded two Special Operations companies in the US Army.
What is one important thing that we Americans can do together that we can’t do alone?
Make the world a better place for all of our children.
What about your country, state, or community makes you proud? How do you think government interacts with that?
I attend my city council meetings in Culver City, CA. I’m delightfully surprised by how collegial and willing to find common ground they are. It’s a sight to see. It’s what it should be. No one is trying to win. They’re trying to get things done.
What do you think it means to be a good citizen?
Being a good citizen means taking into consideration – in your choices and your behaviors – the good of the whole.
What one word describes our government as it is?
What one word do you wish described our government?
If you could run any government program or agency, real or imaginary, at any level of government, what would it be and what would you do there?
I would be the mayor of a small town that I want to live in for the rest of my life and I would co-create with people who were willing a context where what we do together as a community is care for one another and the commons in ways that are long-term sustainable for people and the planet.
What thing that government does do you think would surprise most Americans?
The most surprising thing I learned leading the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national large-scale change initiative on homelessness was this: The half-way things we do to avoid solving problems cost more than actually solving the problems. It costs taxpayers less to solve homelessness than to do BandAid solutions.
Also, we should be more curious about what’s going on in other countries. Sometimes it feels like we’re still in the 1980s and we’re all chanting U!S!A! while playing the Russians in Ice Hockey. I think a lot of people would be surprised that other countries are doing better than we are in areas that tremendously affect our quality of life.
What is your first memory of an interaction with government?
Going to the public library when I was a kid.
What was your most recent government interaction?
Paying property taxes.
What is your favorite thing that government does?
Pardoning the turkey on Thanksgiving, obviously.
It’s pretty thrilling when government catches up with the people – like the recent Supreme Court decision that supported marriage equality and civil rights legislation. By the way, there’s more catching up to do!
And I also appreciate those rare moments when government actually leads the way, inspiring us to expand our understanding of who we are and what we’re capable of. Like putting a man on the moon in 10 years. That’s huge. There are some things governments can do far better than other sectors, and it’s exciting when that happens.
Who is your government hero who is not an elected official?
Public school teachers.
ImagineGov: If government could be anything, if government was what we want and aspire for it to be, what would it be or do?
Government would discover the best and most practical solutions to the concerns of the citizens and put them into effect quickly.
Why is the work of Indivisible so important?
It’s so important for everyone to see themselves in government. We have to understand the extent to which we are creating government together. That’s the game changer for everything in the world. And Indivisible is in it.
Name someone whose answers to these questions you would like to read.
Jon Stewart, formerly of The Daily Show.
An Interview with Indivisible.