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Back to School: Getting Ready For Tomorrow


A blogumn by Emily Farrell

Now is an exciting time to be studying public administration. When my Economics and Public Finance class first met in August, we talked about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and just how exactly the housing bubble had been created…and then burst. Since September, class time has been spent on the financial meltdown and government bailout. What role should government play in the private sector and in people’s lives? When and how should government intervene? How will government (i.e. we the taxpayers) pay for everything? Already I feel like I have a better understanding of how different levels of government gather revenue and the issues they have to consider when spending for both shifting and fixed expenditure priorities.

The week before the election, my Introduction to Public Administration professor asked who had taken advantage of early voting in Colorado; more than half the class raised their hands, and most of the rest seemed to intend to get out and vote in the next seven days. Even with an estimated 60% voter turnout this year, that is just 60% of registered voters, which in turn make up about 70-75% of eligible voters. That means that only 40-45% of potential voters are actually deciding the course of our country. I expect people in the field of public administration to have a vested interest in voting and participating in the election process, but it was still exhilarating to see proof in the classroom.

In my final class, Leadership and Professional Ethics, we have talked about both historic figures (Gandhi, President Johnson) as well as the contemporary examples of Kwame Kilpatrick and Eliot Spitzer. After the election, we spent time discussing Obama’s leadership style and vision. What challenges does he face as a leader, and how will he prioritize work and carry out policies at the beginning of his term? How has he been effective in reaching people and rallying them? What does the future hold for him and, as a result, for our entire nation?

I feel that being a public administration student during such a pivotal election year has made me a more informed citizen and voter, and also made me optimistic and energized about working in a newly-turned blue state and for an Obama-led government.


Photo Credit: Jeff the Trojan/flickr