State Policy Network is pleased to announce the launch of the Center for Practical Federalism— a new initiative which aims to educate the American public and policymakers on the benefits of federalism. Federalism is a system of government where some authority belongs to the national government, and much more resides with states, communities, and the American people.
America’s federalist system of government was crafted to place most authority in the hands of citizens and their local and state governments—ensuring our national government does not exert too much power over the lives of Americans. Federalism places authority in the hands of the American people through their elected representatives, distinguishing us as a nation based on self-governance, rather than rule from above. SPN’s Center for Practical Federalism seeks to remind local, state, and national leaders of this fact.
Our leaders need reminding because American federalism and self-governance has been dangerously eroded. The federal government in Washington, DC has undermined the authority of states, communities, and individuals while gathering power to itself. Worse still, most of this power is exercised undemocratically, by unelected judges and executive agency officials. The American representative democracy that has inspired millions since our founding is now imperilled.
Tony Woodlief, State Policy Network’s Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow with the Center for Practical Federalism, notes:
“Too many decisions have been taken out of the hands of citizens and our elected representatives by officials in Washington, DC. The solution lies in reclaiming self-governance in our states and communities. Political decisions tend to be better, more democratic, and more easily adjusted the closer they’re made to the people who live under them.”
SPN is launching the Center for Practical Federalism to restore the unique American vision of a society where power is distributed and balanced, so that individuals and communities can govern themselves and live their lives without top-down direction.
Through research and storytelling, the Center will promote the benefits of federalism, expose the harms of federal overreach, advance pro-federalism reforms, and inspire citizens to engage locally.
Madison Ray, the Senior Director of the Center for Practical Federalism, added:
“Now is the time to advance federalism in the states, enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power, and reach more people with stories that show why federalism is important for the future of the country. Better policy—and better outcomes for everyone—result when problems are solved closer to home.”