‘The Internet Has Made Us Dumber,’ and Other Lessons Government Officials Learned in 2020

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Route Fifty on 1/15/2021 by Kate Elizabeth Queram

State and local officials weigh in on what they’re taking from—and leaving behind in—the dumpster fire that was last year.

The first month of a new year is typically a time of reflection and recalibration—a chance to consider what went well in the past 12 months and what could go better in the next. That tradition seems particularly poignant this January, wrapping up a historic—and, broadly, miserable—year while heading into an already-tumultuous new one. I wanted to commemorate it by doing a quick check-in with state and local government leaders across the country. I boiled it down to two simple questions: What did you learn from 2020? And what do you hope to do differently in 2021?

Beyond that, I set no rules or guidelines. Respondents were free to talk about whatever they wanted: personal or professional, serious or funny, short or long. All I asked was that they be candid and honest.

Here’s what they said.