Leading OMB Watch into a New Era
by Katherine McFate
Jul 15, 2011
I am proud to take the helm of this important organization. That OMB Watch is so widely respected for its timely, accurate policy analysis and outstanding record of public interest advocacy is a testament to the values, expertise, and commitment of founder Gary Bass. Thanks to Gary, I have inherited a talented staff; an engaged, supportive Board; and an organization with openness, collegiality, and hard work hard-wired into its culture. Gary has been incredibly generous with his time and wisdom during this transition and I am deeply grateful. He'll always be the "wise head" of the OMB Watch family.
As OMB Watch enters a new era, we will continue to be driven by the belief that a well-functioning democracy and effective, accountable government demand an informed, engaged citizenry. OMB Watch will remain at the forefront of efforts to protect the hard-won air quality, water purity, food safety, and workplace standards that have safeguarded American families and communities for decades. We will work to ensure that information on the flow of public monies, the activities of public servants, and the performance of public investments is broadly available and accessible to all. We will defend critical public programs and build coalitions to protect current revenue streams and to create new ones.
But we face tough challenges. Today, in committee rooms and closed-door budget deals, a fundamental struggle over the appropriate role of government is being fought. Corporate lobbyists are pressing for lower environmental and job standards, relaxed workplace safety rules, and cuts that could result in more un-inspected food, toys, and consumer products entering American homes. The largest banks are working to outmaneuver new rules designed to stop the risky speculation that led to the Great Recession. Our national commitment to care for the elderly, the sick, and the poor is under assault – at a time when more people than ever need a safety net. Under the banner of deficit reduction, far-reaching changes in our political structures and social programs are being advocated, but the majority of Americans feel ill-equipped to weigh in. We'll work to change that.
This new political environment will require us to be more thoughtful and strategic in our communications, to explain what government does, how it works, and the public structures we need to build for the future. Under my leadership, OMB Watch will invest more time and effort in communicating our values to publics outside the Beltway. We'll develop relationships with more state and local allies, and work to bring their voices – and yours – into federal policy debates. And we'll find a name that better represents the full range of activities in which this organization is involved. We won't stop being the wonks you need and want us to be. But we'll be wonks with a stronger message of why this work is important, what it means to you and your community, and how you can get involved.
So keep reading. Stay engaged. Work with us. And let us know how we're doing!
Editor's note: If you'd like to learn about Katherine's background, you can visit her bio page.back to Blog