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Carl Smith

Senior Staff Writer

Carl Smith is a senior staff writer for Governing and covers a broad range of issues affecting states and localities. For the past 30 years, Carl has written about education and the environment for peer-reviewed papers, magazines and online publications, with a special focus on conservation and sustainability. He has guest-edited special issues of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health focused on the Precautionary Principle and the human rights dimensions of environmental degradation. Carl attended the University of Texas and the University of Georgia. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @governingwriter.

Unlike some government jobs, public finance positions often pay better than private-sector competitors. But an aging workforce and departures at senior levels present challenges.
Years of budget cuts and lack of political support left public health officials without the resources to rapidly contain COVID-19. Brian Castrucci, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, discusses what needs to happen now.
Methane emissions have an outsized impact on global warming. A public-private partnership uses data from flyovers and satellites to identify where the greenhouse gas can be found, including government landfills.
Demand for homeless services is increasing. Scores of communities are finding that when providers work in teams and use better data and systems, they can solve the problem person by person.
Mathematicians, social scientists, lawyers and programmers have led the development of a new generation of free tools to make and evaluate redistricting maps. Can they make the process more transparent?
A blockbuster video stars a LEGO re-creation of the city of Arlington, Texas. A city official’s hobby is helping citizens understand how it makes budget decisions.
Natural disasters such as fires, floods and storms are more intense and are developing more rapidly. The “new normal” that climate change has brought to emergency managers is unpredictability.
China’s decision to end imports of recyclable materials created huge challenges and forced a hard look at recycling in the U.S. New legislation aims to increase private-sector responsibility for waste reduction and recovery.
What’s behind distrust of public health advice? Harvard's Rima Rudd, a founder of the field of health literacy, explains the ways that health messaging can go wrong.
State spending on key public health activities has been flat or in decline since 2008 and salaries lag behind the private sector. Stakeholders are exploring strategies to meet the need for these essential workers.