Your government does lots of things. Builds roads, maintains parks, delivers mail, and inspects produce. The government also provides flood insurance, manages air traffic, funds scientific research, and monitors the weather.
The number of activities is mind boggling. But what makes it even more complicated is the organization. There are levels of government and divisions of government. You probably live in a town or city, which in turn is within a county, which is part of a state. All of the states and territories together form the entire country.
Likewise, your local municipality has departments: police, fire, public works, and so on. There may be city inspectors for electrical work and city planners figuring out where to place the next traffic signal or roundabout. Your state, too, has departments: one focused on statewide commerce, and other on statewide education, another on statewide agriculture, and so on.
And then there is the federal government which is mainly responsible for interactions among the states and with foreign nations. Except also quite a bit more, as the entire United States has a Department of Education, a Department of Transportation, a Department of Veterans Affairs, a Department of Defense, and plenty more.
This is all stuff you may be vaguely aware of, and for which you may have questions or concerns. Because one of the biggest issues with our government is understanding not just what it does, but where in the bureaucracy that work is conducted.
This is a key part of what I think it means to be a member of Congress: navigating the government for you, explaining what it does (and doesn’t do), and working with you to make changes we agree are the best.
Because we have an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. We have an Office of Information Policy. We have an Administration for Community Living.
Right now, I don’t know much about any of these. But I will learn. I will become an expert on the government that should be working for all of us.
That’s a promise.