Local Government Innovation & Redesign

To support local government redesign efforts and recognize the innovative work already underway, the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center has partnered with state associations to create the Local Government Innovation & Redesign Guide and host a yearly Local Government Innovations Awards ceremony.

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Public Leadership Course Offerings

Some might think this PubTalk posting belongs on the Humphrey's Smart Politics Blog. This entry has to do with honoring the public leadership side of our Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center here at Humphrey.

Mike Freeman and I were elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1982. When I met Mike, I recalled conversations I heard at our farm house kitchen table. In our house, Orville Freeman was considered a public hero - someone who understood farmers and ordinary people. When he lost his re-election bid for governor, our house was sad. When JFK picked him a few months later to be Agriculture Secretary, my dad jumped for joy.

My dad got to meet Mike Freeman when he and I shared an office at the Capitol. Public service sometimes offers those special moments. Like his father, Mike, "Orville's boy," has lived a life committed to public leadership, and we get to benefit.

Watch for two Public Affairs course offerings now posted for the coming Spring Semester. Through the lens of a law maker and now Hennepin County Attorney, Mike's "Law and the Making of Public Policy" (PA 5122) course will give students a practitioner's view of the history, logic, and analysis of the law necessary to help use law as a tool to impact public policy. I have served as a guest presenter in this class and watched how a cross-section of students traveled with Mike through the failures and victories of law-making that truly changed how we live in this world.

Humphrey Prof. Larry Jacobs helped us launch this next attraction. : How about that 2008 Senate Recount? Norm Coleman and Al Franken sat on the sidelines with us as Mike Freeman, his deputy Pat Diamond, and election officials from Hennepin County and across the state, step by step implement the laws governing the recount process. This one-credit offering (Saturday February 6 and 20, PA 5920), "Measuring the Fairness of the 2008 Minnesota Senate Recount," will bring us back to the 2008 Minnesota Senate election, one of the closest and most examined elections in Minnesota history. The election involved an administrative recount and an election contest that together took eight months to complete. Al Franken prevailed by 312 votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast. Mike and Pat ask: "But was it fair?"

The course will examine that question using international election standards as a starting point. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures." Mike tells me that he has invited some special guest presenters - some of the "stars" of the recount.

For those of us who see public leadership as a calling, these two courses go beyond the politics of public service and give us an inside look at the role citizens play in our governance.

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The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs or the University of Minnesota. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota or the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.