July | August 2017


The Crippling Effects of the Dysfunction in D.C.

by Mary Branham, CSG Managing Editor
Alaska Rep. Craig Johnson’s greatest disappointment with politics today is the inability of policymakers to disagree without being enemies.
“It seems now that if you don’t agree with my policy, you’re a bad person,” said Johnson, the 2014 chair of CSG West. “Just because legislators or parties can disagree, that doesn’t make anyone inherently bad; it just means we disagree. That civil discourse we’ve lost, that ability to debate without becoming enemies, is probably one of the greatest tragedies in American politics.”
That inability to get along in Washington, D.C., is creating problems in the states, Johnson and other members of The Council of State Governments’ leadership believe.
Maryland Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, Arkansas Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram and Nebraska Sen. Beau McCoy—who chair CSG East, CSG South and CSG Midwest, respectively—all point to Washington as the crux of the most pressing issues facing the nation today.
That’s important because it has a negative effect on state economies, said Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, CSG’s 2014 national chair.
“(W)e’re all being hobbled by the crippling effects of the dysfunction in D.C. It’s hobbling our economies,” he said.
Norris and the chairs of CSG’s four regions shared their insights about the state of the country as policymakers prepare for the 2014 legislative sessions.