What is an important thing that we Americans can do together that we can’t do alone?
Public education requires collective effort. No one entity can run every school out there or make sure that every child has received a solid education. It requires all of us and our government working together.
What about your country, state, or community makes you proud? How do you think government interacts with that?
I am very proud of the innovative and entrepreneurial nature of the United States. You can come to this country with nothing and without pre-existing connections, raise capital, start a business and succeed. That is unique in the world. The United States has become one of the most innovative and technologically advanced countries in the world because it embraces the entrepreneurial spirit.
Government can do a lot to help entrepreneurs. Although regulation is necessary to protect consumers, when regulation tries to protect incumbent players or becomes overly burdensome, it becomes a problem. For example, Uber is a phenomenal technology, but government regulation protecting taxi companies has hindered its growth.
What do you think it means to be a good citizen?
In truth, just being a good neighbor and being a good person (e.g., helping others) will inherently mean that you’re a good citizen.
What one word describes our government as it is?
What one word do you wish described our government?
If you could run a government program or agency what would it be? What would you want to accomplish there?
I prefer working at the private sector, but it would be interesting to run the Small Business Administration. They do important work to help entrepreneurs and small businesses get off the ground and succeed so our citizens and our country thrive.
What thing that government does do you think would surprise most Americans?
The role that our federal government plays in directing and providing aid for state and local programs. Despite popular belief, most government programs are at the state and local level, which creates an innovative model for responsive government to local problems; federal funding ensures that these state and local programs survive.
What is your first memory of an interaction with government?
When I was born. We interact with government every day. But the first interaction I remember is when my parents became citizens of the United States. I was very young, but I remember how happy and proud they were to be Americans.
What was your most recent government interaction?
Today. Taking the subway to work. Walking down our roads. So much of what we do is tied to the government.
What is your favorite thing that government does?
Direct funding to local initiatives, especially infrastructure spending and spending for the sciences and education because while we all want safe and well-maintained streets and bridges, a brighter future, and a good education for our children, what each school or community needs is different.
Who is your government hero who is not an elected official?Firefighters. They’re public employees on the front lines saving people’s lives – it takes a lot of guts to do that job.
ImagineGov: If government could be anything, what would it be? Great government is one responsive to its citizens, one that provides funding for important initiatives that make our lives better and our country stronger and our children safer and better educated. Great government is great at problem solving.
Name someone whose answers to these questions you would like to see.
President Barack Obama. A firefighter. The man or the woman on the street.
An Interview with Indivisible.