March | April 2017

How had New Media Affected Your Work in State Government?



Jackie Winters
Oregon Senator | 2012 Toll Fellow
“New media has certainly hastened the speed at which any information I might require becomes immediately accessible to me wherever I may be working, in my office or at home. I can choose to print hard copies, read from the screen of my iPad, or scroll on to find supplemental materials as needed. Realistically, however, speed and access are only helpful if they serve my basic needs for accuracy and clarity. Shall I make a mistake quicker or solve a problem sooner? And I never forget to say thanks to the IT specialists who support me daily!”


Bob Hunter
Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals | 1994–95 CSG National Chair
“I sit on approximately 300 cases per year. I write the opinion in about 100 of those. Except for court days in Raleigh (about once every two weeks—12 cases per day), I have the option of working from my home in Marion, about 215 miles away. Electronic filing means I can access anything I need to prepare for cases and to work on opinions. Moreover, my law clerks can email me case memorandums and opinion drafts, and I can access them by laptop, iPad or smartphone. Still, I go to Raleigh weekly for personal contact with staff and colleagues.”


Mary Russell
Chief Justice, Missouri Supreme Court | 1997 Toll Fellow
“Given potential ethical restraints, Missouri’s court system does not use social media. This has not affected the transparency of our work, however. We have a long tradition of providing robust information online, including the parties and status of cases statewide, all appellate opinions, audio streams of high court arguments, orders disciplining attorneys, information about individuals nominated for nonpartisan judicial vacancies and much more. To help deter potential damage new technologies might have on the important work of our juries, our instructions now clarify that the admonition that jurors not investigate case-related issues or communicate outside deliberations extends to their use of the Internet, cell phones, popular social media sites and the like.”


Bryan Townsend
Delaware Senator | 2013 Toll Fellow Class
“Immediate updates to constituents; real-time feedback that helps me to improve legislation; sharing Delaware-specific developments in a media market dominated by news from Philadelphia and Baltimore. These are just some of the benefits new media has brought to my work in the Delaware State Senate. Perhaps most importantly, new media enables me to interact directly with constituents and enhance the transparency and accessibility of state government at a time when many Americans seem increasingly skeptical of government at all levels. Engaging more constituents in the political process is a benefit to all, and new media makes that possible.”


Tre Hargett
Tennessee Secretary of State | 2010 Toll Fellow
“The new media have provided our office with tremendous opportunities to deliver messages in an unfiltered manner. Our office is no longer just in downtown Nashville. It is open 24/7 on our website. Our website and presence on social media allow us to communicate directly with our customers, Tennessee’s taxpayers. Whether it is the use of Twitter to provide real-time election results or Facebook to tout the services of our State Library and Archives, we are engaging directly with our constituents. We are excited about embracing new media to deliver our messages to Tennesseans who wouldn’t have been accessible otherwise.”