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The Government We Need talks with Amanda Renteria about getting public benefits to people in the digital age.

In this episode

For those in need of social services — unemployment, housing, healthcare, food — the safety net isn’t easy to navigate or access.

And the COVID crisis has exacerbated this reality. There has been a dramatic spike in benefits claims, especially in communities of color and those that were already teetering on the edge. …

Shari Davis talks with The Government We Need about building a more inclusive, democratic public budgeting process.

In this episode

Episode: How government can make public budgeting more participatory

Participatory budgeting is a process that empowers community members to help decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB started in Brazil in 1989, and has since spread to more than 7,000 cities around the world. It has been used to decide budgets from states, counties, cities, housing authorities, schools, and other institutions. The New York Times calls PB “revolutionary civics in action.”

In this episode, we talk with Participatory Budgeting Project…

The Government We Need talks with Rick Cole about local government’s role in sustainability.


How government can support climate action

Sustainability is a top priority for environmentally-conscious global leaders, and it’s an issue that we’re all faced with on a daily basis, but what role should local government play in mitigating the climate crisis?

In this episode, we talk with environmentalist and local government leader Rick Cole. Rick served as city manager of Santa Monica from 2015 to 2020, where he spearheaded ambitious initiatives on climate, homelessness, mobility, and the well-being of all residents. Prior to Santa Monica, Rick served…

The Government We Need talks with Brian Elms about how government can ask the right questions and find its true public service purpose.

Brian Elms
Brian Elms
Brian Elms

Sometimes, government works on the wrong problem.

By identifying the right problems to work on — and solving these with a performance and purpose-based mindset — government can better serve its true mission.

Peak Performance” author Brian Elms thinks government should be constantly asking itself questions like, “Should we be doing this at all? Are we the ones that should be doing it? If not, can we stop doing it? Can we figure out a way to get better at all these things?”

When Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he wanted train city employees how to spot and fix inefficiencies…

The Government We Need talks with Code for America founder Jen Pahlka about how technology can be a force for civic change.

Jen Pahlka
Jen Pahlka
Photo: Code for America

Government has historically been challenged in effectively leveraging technology to best serve the people. There are numerous, well-documented cases of public sector mishandling of technology projects, from the very public failed launch of to the many unseen, ineffective IT implementations that occur on a daily basis.

A decade ago, a movement of civic hackers — technologists working for good — inside and outside government began to eschew the trappings of Silicon Valley technology culture, instead putting their talents to use to code a better civil society.

In 2009, Jen Pahlka started Code for America, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing…

The Government We Need talks with Run for Something’s Sarah Horvitz about the changing face of local politics and how to elect diverse representation.

Sarah Horvitz, National Political Director, Run for Something
Sarah Horvitz, National Political Director, Run for Something
Sarah Horvitz, National Political Director, Run for Something

Starting in 2017, a wave of new political candidates began pursuing elected office at all levels of government. Many of them have been historically underrepresented in public leadership. With the support of organizations like Run for Something, fresh faces are getting elected to serve the communities and causes they care about.

In this episode of The Government We Need, we talk with Sarah Horvitz, National Political Director of Run for Something. Sarah ran for an elected position on her local school board while she was still a high school student, and she won! She became passionate about ensuring that our…

The Government We Need talks with Bruce Schneier about internet+ security and government’s role in keeping us safe.

(Photo: Code for America)

The internet was not originally designed with security in mind. In the early days, this was OK, but today the landscape is more complicated because, in the internet+ era, nearly everything is connected to the internet. A spreadsheet crashes, and you lose your data. A heart device crashes, and you lose your life. Both are computers, maybe connected to the same CPU or operating system. The only difference is that the computers are attached to different things.

In this episode of The Government We Need, we interview Bruce Schneier, an American cryptographer, computer security professional, privacy specialist and writer. Bruce…


The Government We Need is a podcast exploring the government of the future and how it can best serve everyone.

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