Capitol Comments

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA--Political polarization and economic inequality dramatically affect civic education in the United States, speakers at the session, “Understanding and Promoting High Quality Civic Education,” said.

Diana Hess, senior vice president of the Spencer Foundation at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said the movement to the political extremes leaves very little in the middle. In fact, she said, only 35 of the 435 seats n the U.S. House of Representatives are competitive.

The U.S. electricity sector is undergoing quite a bit of transition, partly because of regulations like section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

But those aren’t the only reasons, Jennifer Macedonia, senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Institute, said during Monday’s session, “A Closer Look at 111d.”

“We’re also dealing with an aging fleet of generators, which at some point … will need to retired,” she said. “So many of our fleet is past 30 and 40 year mark.”

Ask Bruce Atchison, director of the Early Childhood Institute at the Education Commission of the States, if college- and career-readiness begins in preschool and he answers with a resounding yes.

Executive function and self-regulation—the ability to hold onto and work with information—are key components of workforce readiness, Atchison said.

When Susan O’Malley was in junior high school, she wrote a paper about what she wanted to do when she grew up—be president of an NBA franchise.

While her teacher gave her high marks for the paper, she told O’Malley it was an unrealistic goal for a young girl.

O’Malley was the first woman to serve as president of a professional sports franchise when, in 1991, she was picked to lead the Washington Bullets. She left the NBA Board of Governors meeting in May wondering how she would turn around what she called “a mess of a franchise.”

So she turned to the lessons of leadership she learned at home, the same lessons she shared with the attendees at Sunday’s luncheon session, “Seven Leadership and Life Lessons.” She threw in an eighth rule for good measure.

Smuggled tobacco comes with many challenges and costs, and it’s not just lost tax dollars for states, speakers at the session, “Smuggled Tobacco: Straining States’ Bottom Lines,” said Sunday.

“The amount of money that become involved is enormous,” said G. Stewart Petoe, director of legal affairs for the Virginia State Crime Commission. “You make absolute fortunes trafficking black market cigarettes.”

As one dealer noted in a recording...