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Donald F. Kettl

Columnist

Donald F. Kettl, a columnist for Governing, is a professor emeritus and the former dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. Until his recent retirement, he was the Sid Richardson Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a senior adviser at the Volcker Alliance and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Kettl, who holds a Ph.D. and master's degrees in political science from Yale University, is the author of several books, most recently The Divided States of America: Why Federalism Doesn't Work (2020) and Can Governments Earn Our Trust? (2017).

He can be reached at Dfkettl52@gmail.com or on Twitter at @DonKettl.

Lots of governors have their eyes on the Oval Office. Most of the action will be among Republicans who will be zeroing in on Democratically controlled cities to score points on issues ranging from immigration to crime to spending.
They increasingly bear most of the burdens of the disasters that climate change brings. Those that combine strong building codes and zoning that keeps people out of dangerous areas will fare the best and better protect their most vulnerable residents.
Wastewater surveillance is a valuable tool in the fight against infectious disease, but it has the potential to be used for other purposes that could further erode Americans’ trust in government. It even worries Vladimir Putin.
The fierce rhetoric flying between state capitols is a reflection of “the big sort,” as we increasingly seek out those with whom we share values. The common ground essential to governing is getting harder and harder to find.
On indicator after indicator, health care lags in the states that ban abortion or are likely to in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Will the abortion-ban states be able to catch up?
Consensus among the states on issues of national importance now seems as elusive as it was in the nation’s pre-Constitution days.
Counties and their public health officials have been on the front lines of the COVID pandemic, struggling amid white-hot politics that has weakened the nation’s response. Can we do better when the next pandemic strikes?
We’re used to thinking of it as a waterfall of policies and fights flowing down from Washington. But increasingly it’s about ideas and movements that are erupting from the states.
The stimulus program that followed the Great Recession was a model for tracking projects and spending down to the ZIP code level. We don’t have that with the American Rescue Plan, dooming us to fight about what matters most.
Too often local governments aren’t prepared, with well-trained staff in place around the clock. That has big implications for emergency management and homeland security.