November 27, 2000
GCA keeps watchful eye on politics
By Michael Terrazas firstname.lastname@example.org
As were most offices around Emory (and the rest of the country) for the
past couple weeks, the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs (GCA)
has been abuzz with talk of the presidential election.
But, unlike most other workplaces, talk about politics in this office
is actually in the job description.
Yes, you might say the election has dominated the conversation
in our office, quipped Betty Willis, vice president for governmental
affairs. While this election has indeed turned into a circus, at
least it has served to educate people on how the electoral process worksor,
perhaps, doesnt always work.
While she didnt reveal any preference for either Al Gore or George
W. Bush, Willis said there would be pros and cons for Emory regardless
of which man gains the White House; a President Bush might mean less regulatory
intervention and more tax cuts, while a President Gore might mean increased
funding for education, Medicare and arts and sciences.
I think the real winner is the American people, said Courtenay
Dusenbury, new assistant director of federal affairs. There are
record-high levels of interest [in politics], and we may see a record-high
turnout in the next election.
However the race for chief executive turns out, Willis and her staff
are preparing to deal with the legislative side of government when Congress
and the General Assembly reconvene in January.
In Washington, Dusenberry said, a number of issues will directly affect
the University. She has been working with the University administration
to compile a list of Emorys federal priorities for the coming year.
The list might include things like more equitable tax treatment
for students, a streamlined visa process for researchers and increased
funding for the arts and humanities, health sciences and research,
Dusenberry said. I know first-hand that writing letters, making
phone calls and getting involved in the process makes a huge difference.
In Atlanta, Gov. Roy Barnes expected announcement of a comprehensive
cancer initiative in Georgia will be of great interest to Emory, according
to Linda Womack, new director of state government affairs.
Also, Womack said, Emory is very interested in the governors plans
to address Georgias 1.4 million uninsured populations, as well as
recommendations to be made by a joint Senate/House committee studying
indigent-care funding. She said the University will continue to support
funding for both the Tuition Equalization Grant and the HOPE Scholarship
Willis and her colleagues said they will continue to work closely with
Georgias Congressional delegation as well as key committee staffers
in Washington. They plan to invite more state and federal legislators
and their staff to campus to meet with administrators, faculty and researchers,
and to showcase some of the many research and academic programs on campus.
She also said the office will work to enhance Emorys visibility
on both the state and federal levels by increasing the number of University
expert witnesses participating in legislative hearings and bringing more
researchers to meet with lawmakers.
Emory is one of the top research universities in the nation, with
an excellent academic reputation, Willis said. Our state and
federal legislators need to know about the cutting-edge research that
is taking place here and the enormous potential these discoveries have
to benefit humankind. We have so much to tell.
For more information, visit the offices website at www.emory.edu/GCA/.