Policy Fellow Inteview Featuring Garrett Clawson
Name: Garrett Clawson
School: Louisiana State University (Honors College), Class of 2016
Major: Economics and Political Science
Coolest thing you have ever done? One Christmas break, I lived with a friend in Spanish Harlem for a week. I was able to ice skate in Rockefeller Center, see the Rockettes, visit the United Nations, and explore the city. I had always wanted to see the city during the holidays and I feel like I was able to get the real “New Yorker” experience.
Why did you apply to be a policy fellow? I applied to be a policy fellow because I wanted to learn more about the nuts and bolts of the policies our organization champions. During the 2014 AGE Summit, delegates from around the nation were able to talk about the needs of our generation and agree upon several needed reforms. I not only desired to dig deeper into the policy areas but find creative and innovative ways to realize our proposals.
What area of policy are you most interested in? I’m fascinated with social integration, poverty alleviation, economic development, and education. Over the past few months, I have become incredibly interested in early education and have truly enjoyed talking with other student leaders from around the country about the economic and social advantages of investing in children while they are young.
What is your biggest goal pertaining to public policy? How are you going to change the world? After graduating, I plan to pursue a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy. I hope to work with a government agency or legislature to formulate and evaluate anti-poverty initiatives and programs. The concept of the American city has always captivated me; urban centers around the country serve as economic and cultural powerhouses and are shaping the society we live in today. I intend to learn more about income inequality, urban growth, and community development so I can help promote the well being and access to opportunity of all individuals in society, particularly those that are among the most vulnerable.
If you could get any policy passed what would it be? This is probably the toughest question yet! I’d love to see increased funding for public education and health as well as comprehensive welfare reform that truly encouraged marriage and provided impoverished families with the resources they need to escape poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. However, if I had to select one policy initiative at the federal level, I’d craft something similar to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. I believe we must create opportunities for job seekers, laid off workers, veterans, the working poor, and other disadvantaged groups to develop the skills and acquire the resources necessary to obtain high-skill, high-pay positions in an ever-evolving economy. Skilled labor forces not only benefit individual workers but bolster state economies by attracting new businesses and entrepreneurs.