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National Partnership for Reinventing Government

From the Editor

Welcome to Small Reinventing Government Logo.

Recently, we at Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR) did one of our periodic progress reviews. As we did, we heard a number of compelling stories about how the effort to reinvent government has touched the lives of ordinary citizens. Some of the stories are hair-raising accounts of close brushes with death, others are milder, but still profound. What they share is that none of them could be told were it not for a government reinvented to work better, cost less, and, above all, get results Americans care about.

This issue of REGO is the first of a series that will tell some of these stories. We have included other information as well, a frankly comical retrospective on some Federal foolishness banished through reinvention, as well as pieces featuring business concerns.

Two remarkable Federal employees graciously agreed to interviews with REGO. Both have positively influenced the lives of people in this country. One such employee is Shirley Watkins, Under Secretary for Food and Nutrition Services at the Department of Agriculture, who is working tirelessly to eliminate hunger among our children, an inarguably noble goal. While her beginning as an abandoned infant defied the name of her hometown, Hope, her life-story typifies it. The other is Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle and the first woman to command a Space Shuttle mission.

When Col. Collins agreed to let us interview her for REGO, I jumped at the chance to assign this story to someone who has worked hard and long on this magazine, namely - myself. In my defense, it's hard not to give in to the temptation to meet a famous astronaut, visit the Johnson Space Center in Houston, climb into the cockpit of a working flight simulator - you get the picture.

In her interview with us, Col. Collins covered a wide range of subjects, but I was struck particularly by her admonition to students to push themselves academically. Listening to her, I was reminded of another day in Houston, over thirty-five years ago. On that day, President Kennedy explained to the students at Rice University, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…"

Under Secretary Watkins and Col. Collins seem to have taken this attitude to heart. Likewise, we certainly didn’t make the easy choice with our earthbound venture to reinvent the Federal government. But, like them, we did make the right choice. Their stories, and the other stories in this and future issues of REGO, demonstrate why.

For more information about NPR and the Federal government’s reinvention initiatives and success stories, visit our Internet site or email me.

William W. Ryan's Signature

William W. Ryan, Editor


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