As of Monday, I started a new job as Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor in DC. Technically, I am 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 this was pretty close to an unrefusable opportunity. A central focus of my new job is the reform of overextensive 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. As you likely know, this was a policy interest for the Obama Administration; it is also a policy interest of the current Administration and more particularly 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 work on this issue at DOL.
Perhaps I should have made some sort of announcement on the blog or something. I have just been too busy with the transition to think much about that stuff.
Marjorie and the kids are coming up in a week or so to look at houses and schools.