Capitol Comments

Divisive politics can be disheartening for both constituents and elected officials, but collaboration across party lines still happens in government.

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat, is proud of efforts that have been made in his state to put individuals before party affiliation. A former state representative and former state senator, Zuckerman said members of the minority party have served in some of the committee chair and vice chair positions for most of the 20 years that he has been in office.

The Council of State Governments convened its final meeting of the organization’s CSG Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, in Las Vegas last week culminating with a presentation to CSG’s national membership and the release of two major reports that detail best practices and associated case study materials resulting from the past three years of research by CSG, and its Technology Working Group, on ways technology can potentially advance military and overseas voting.

The Council of State Governments’ 2018 national leaders were announced Saturday, Dec. 16, during the CSG 2017 National Conference in Las Vegas after confirmation by the CSG Executive Committee.

Best-selling author Hampton Sides called the 1879 voyage of the USS Jeannette, and the hardships of the men who aspired to reach the North Pole, one of the greatest survival stories of all time. Yet the story—now detailed in his most recent book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette—fell through the cracks of history and was forgotten.

However, there is much to be learned from the USS Jeannette’s two-year drift through ice and the 92-day trek by 33 men and their dogs toward the coast of Siberia after the ship’s demise.

Postsecondary education representatives, business leaders and policymakers continued a conversation about workforce development Dec. 10 spurred by the August release of The Council of State Governments’ report, “A Framework for State Policymakers: Developing Pathways to Ensure a Skilled Workforce for State Prosperity.” The report outlines recommendations for state-level policies that help ensure students are prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce.