What will it take to get more people engaged with civic activism? Too often, people think of voting as their primary means to make an impact politically. The truth is, you can do so much more than merely vote. Don’t let the media’s narrow focus on national topics blind you from what is going on in your backyard. Mark Epley is here to help unpack this concept of civic activism and how everyone can get engaged.
Mark currently works on Capitol Hill as the General Counsel to Congressman Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mark handles a wide variety of tasks for the Speaker and his daily agenda includes functions such as briefing the Speaker on current legal issues, organizing and participating in strategy meetings, and negotiating with the staff of other Representatives to build support for proposed legislation.
What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks
- [0:45] Mark introduces his guest, Mark Epley.
- [3:00] Mark talks about working in the US Capitol building.
- [6:30] The role of civic activism in our democracy.
- [8:30] What is the impact of storytelling in policy creation?
- [11:15] How do elected officials conduct oversight of the Executive Branch?
- [19:40] The value of effective writing in government work.
- [24:00] Advice for individuals who want to get involved in policy work.
- [28:00] Why it’s important to get involved in local politics.
Connect with Mark Epley
Civic activism matters
If you are a professional in a given field, public policy needs your voice and input. While that may be difficult to do on the national scene, one place you can start is local. For example, if you are a scientist or engineer, you have a valuable perspective that your local politicians might be missing. Don’t let them move forward with that initiative, proposition, or project without lending your input and professional viewpoint.
It’s vital people like you get out there and get involved. When you take the time to get involved, you not only bring your professional experience, you bring your story as well. While it would be nice if facts and figures were all it would take to change policy, the truth is, we need compelling stories. How can you leverage your story to make an impact in your community?
It may not sound sexy, but oversight is crucial
What do you think of when you hear the term, oversight? For many, it gets cataloged as some boring topic that politicians are involved with but has no real impact on our everyday lives. While it may not sound sexy, oversight is vital to an ethical and functioning democracy. It would be disastrous if we fail to value and properly elevate the role that oversight plays in keeping our government and elected officials accountable in a system of checks and balances as intended by the U.S. Constitution.
Mark Epley says that oversight, in a nutshell, is, “A commitment to surveying facts in our system pertinent to the lawmaking jurisdiction.” He also explains that oversight is the ability for the government to investigate and find solutions to circumstances that harm the public. Highlighting the value of narrative, Mark also explains that through the exercise of oversight, Congress can get to the bottom of issues like airbag failures to name one example. If you’ve ever wondered what role oversight plays in our government and if it’s necessary, those questions get meaningful answers from Mark’s expert perspective.
Learn more from Mark and his unique insights as the General Counsel to Speaker Ryan by listening to this informative episode of When Science Speaks.
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