ON-Lion Letter

"Kansas and Maine have made headlines in recent months for enacting conservative reforms to their human services programs for low-income residents," begins an August article by J. B. Wogan for Governing magazine.  "Now a burgeoning national organization wants to spread initiatives like those and provide a place for officials to exchange other conservative ideas for reforming the safety net at the state level.

"In recent decades," Wogan continues, "groups have sprouted up to represent all sorts of state and local government officials:  Governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state, state legislators and mayors all have national political bodies with specific ideological bents."  There has not been an "equivalent for state officials who oversee public programs for the poor.  That's the purpose of the Secretaries' Innovation Group (SIG), which brings together conservative state secretaries of human services ...."

Members of the group adopt an "activist" approach to reforming the nation's safety-net programs, SIG executive director Jason Turner told Wogan.  "[Y]ou don’t want to be just presiding over a government agency.  You want to actively promote change." 

Turner ran departments of human services for former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 

SIG seeks to limit government spending, support state autonomy, and tighten work requirements within the nation's antipoverty programs, Wogan reports.  It is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

"So far, SIG has held nine conferences around the country, putting members in the same room with poverty researchers, federal officials and other state secretaries," he writes.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |