(Editor’s note — this post was written roughly one week before it was published.)
About twelve hours from now, I begin a new job: Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, DC. Technically, I will serve in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy. It was a hard decision because I like living in Arkansas and I enjoyed my work at the Advance Arkansas Institute and in state government.
There are not many job offers that would have encouraged me to leave the home where I have been living 15 years and the state where I lived most of my life. But I just could not turn down this opportunity. A central focus of my new job is the reform of over extensive occupational licensure laws and regulations, which is an issue that AAI has been involved in heavily for most of its life. There is bipartisan agreement on the importance of this reform. This was a policy interest for the Obama Administration; it is also a policy interest of the Trump Administration and more particularly of the Secretary of Labor. The fact is that America has plenty of capable and qualified people who are ready to work, but who are held back by legal barriers that favor incumbents and block entry into labor markets. Some of these barriers seem to have little or nothing to do with benefiting the people. That is a moral outrage, and I am grateful that I was asked to lead the Department of Labor’s initiative on this issue.
The work of the Advance Arkansas Institute will continue; ace writer Marc Kilmer will continue to offer his sage observations at The Arkansas Project. (Contact him if you’d like to offer your own thoughts on public policy on our blog.) Marjorie and the kids are coming up to DC in a week or so to look at houses and schools. I already miss them. And I would be delighted to hear from you too; my email address is email@example.com.
And remember, “au revoir” doesn’t mean “goodbye.”