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A Good Start for Good Government

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    Among those attending the Good Government Initiative Launch were, from left, Joe Natoli, UM senior vice president for business and finance and CFO; Sorenson; former Miami-Dade County Manager Merritt Stierheim; and William Scott Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education.

    With several prominent figures from South Florida’s political landscape in attendance, the Good Government Initiative, a collaboration between the University of Miami and former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson to help develop the leadership skills of newly elected officials, held its official launch event at UM’s Newman Alumni Center on March 21.

    At the event, Sorenson said elected leaders are often unprepared for the challenges they face after taking office and forced to learn many of the skills they need while on the job.

    “The best comparison to being elected I’ve heard is having a baby,” Sorenson said. “You go through hours of labor, birth, and recovery at the hospital, and then, when you are ready to leave, they hand you your baby and say, ‘Good luck.’ There’s no mandatory parent training—you’re just thrown in there, handed your child, and you have to get going. You have to start making decisions, important decisions, right away.”

    Sorenson called the Good Government Initiative a boot camp, saying it will teach newly elected officials how government and the legislative process work by exposing them to case studies; diversity, ethics, and media training; rules of procedure and budgeting principles; and other teaching aides.

    “The goal,” she said, “is to help them develop into thoughtful, effective leaders for our community and our region.”

    Visit the Good Government Initiative website at

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