Thursday, December 17, 2020

Local governments, citizens solve problems as D.C. dithers

While nationwide debate over many issues remains deeply polarized, local governments are quietly finding common ground—and solutions—on a wide range of issues, Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib reports for The Wall Street Journal.

For example, "While national politicians lapsed into finger-pointing over shortages of masks and surgical gowns during the pandemic, two businesswomen in Morganton, N.C., organized a network of small textile companies in the area to begin producing half a million masks and surgical gowns for the region’s doctors, hospitals, businesses and citizens," Seib reports. 

"In the early days it was like Rosie the Riveter," Sara Chester, one of the businesswomen, told Seib. "Everybody wanted to do their part."

"There are potentially big lessons in such small steps," Seib reports. "At a time of deepening national divisions and political tribalism, many Americans have decided to rely less on Washington to deal with problems and have turned for answers to local institutions, state governments, business leaders, their own communities and one another."

"States of Innovation," a new series of case studies from the Pew Charitable Trusts, highlights examples of state governments tackling problems, including "laws passed in more than a dozen states to deal with a shortage of dentists in rural areas by authorizing dental therapists to provide more services," Seib reports.

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