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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.

Record rain and snowfall are easing drought pressures, but California can’t overcome long-term water challenges if infrastructure is neglected.
An initiative in Orange County, Calif., is taking an innovative approach to reducing social determinants of poor health. Screenings are vital, but social and environmental factors set the stage for the problems they detect.
Even though no congressional Republican voted for the biggest climate bill in the country’s history, red states were among the leaders in green power generation last year.
Pandemic assistance to families at risk of food insecurity has ended. As a “hunger cliff” looms, programs in public libraries can fill gaps.
As an attorney, Elizabeth Tanner was frustrated by how hard it was to create and run businesses in Rhode Island. As the state’s commerce secretary, she’s leading a technology-driven program to change that.
For decades, America dropped the ball on teaching students about democratic governance processes. Now it’s being seen as essential to repairing a battered democracy.
The gap between Black and white homeownership rates in 2022 was wider than it had been in 1960. Habitat for Humanity is leveraging a generous donation and government assistance to expand the number of homeowners in priority markets.
Hardscaped schoolyards present health risks in a warming world. A school forest initiative in California reflects a potential national trend to change the character and function of outdoor spaces.
State and local governments are short over 500,000 jobs, bringing crisis conditions to agencies that operate around the clock. New strategies are needed to fill these gaps, say union experts.
Republican and Democratic legislators can be counted on pulling in opposite directions on ESG investing, police reform and LGBTQ issues, where the focus will be on transgender rights and school curriculum.