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Donald F. Kettl


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 degree 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), and the co-author of Bridgebuilders: How Government Can Transcend Boundaries to Solve Big Problems (2023).

He can be reached at or on Twitter at @DonKettl.

The arguments over border sovereignty have never died away in more than two centuries of American life. Now they are coming to the forefront again.
There’s a big audience for it. But people listening to police radio creates serious privacy challenges. They can also hamper law enforcement.
Our federalism expert makes predictions about climate and the culture wars and how states will take the lead in policy in 2024. He also owns up to what he got right — and wrong — over the past year.
Localities have always been creatures of state government. But their freedom to act independently is up against ever more stringent limits.
Vulnerable homeowners need financial help when flood, fire or dangerous winds strike. But whose job is it to provide the money?
The federal space agency is contracting out rocket-making. The results can be alarming.
If you live in rural America, your Internet access can still be hard to come by. States can change the situation.
The state brought together a remarkable coalition and waived red tape to get traffic on I-95 moving again just 12 days after a bridge collapsed. That kind of focus on results, not procedures, can help restore trust in government.
As the presidential campaign gets underway, some Republicans are pledging to wield federal power to nationalize their states’ policies. It’s an approach that seems at odds with the party’s history.
The costs of treating cancer are soaring, just at a time when some states are moving to save money by cutting Medicaid enrollment. It’s sure to worsen health-care inequality.