GAI Welcomes New Senior Fellow Matt Glassman
GAI | September 6, 2017
On September 5th, I became the newest Senior Fellow at the Government Affairs Institute. I come to GAI by way of the Hill, and I am absolutely thrilled to join my new colleagues at this moment. It really couldn’t be a better time to be researching, writing, and teaching about Congress. This month promises to be the most consequential of the entire congressional session and includes policy choices for Congress that will shape the governance of the nation, as well as the parties, electoral landscape, and internal congressional dynamics for the remainder of the 115th Congress, if not longer. The opportunity to be working with and among such dedicated and smart faculty members on a mission to understand and teach all things Congress is really a dream come true for me.
I majored in government at Hamilton College, and then got my Ph.D. in political science at Yale. I enjoyed academics—and I love teaching— but I knew all the while I wouldn’t be happy that far removed from the actual practice of politics. I spent my last year of graduate school as a fellow in the New York State Senate, and then moved down to DC for a job on the Hill at the Congressional Research Service. I spent 10 years at CRS, covering a portfolio that contained a wide range of institutional issues in Congress, including separation of powers, congressional rules and operations, appropriations, agency design, constituent communications, and congressional history. I continued to teach politics part-time at various universities around DC, and I was a frequent writer and panelist at academic conferences and DC pubic policy forums.
Congress, like any legislature, often appears to be a chaotic, messy, and downright dysfunctional place. And to those unfamiliar with its unique practices and folkways, it can seem like an impenetrable fortress of odd rules and strange jargon. But beneath that outward facing veneer, Congress is a fascinating and endlessly charming institution, one that both represents and reflects the ideals of American democracy. There is no escaping the chaos of collective public decision-making; Congress serves as a stark reminder that the messiness of public disagreement can be solved without resorting to monarchy or anarchy, but instead through deliberation and legislation. There’s something truly inspiring about a legislature in action; it is absolutely beautiful to watch such a decentralized institution craft policy for the collective.
Helping people cut through the complicated process and archaic language to unlock that institutional beauty has long been one my favorite things. I look forward to doing so at GAI, and I couldn’t be more excited to get started.