Bethany recently transitioned from a long tenure as Legal Counsel for the Senate Democratic Caucus to local government as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for County Auditor Michael Stinziano.
After years of late nights analyzing budget bills and navigating the partisan super-minority in state government, Bethany had decided it was time for a change. Now she feels a bit strange to have finally put the legislative grind behind her. She certainly doesn’t miss working towards policy that likely wouldn’t become law. In fact, Bethany has already developed a new appreciation for the more focused, administrative hub of the County Auditor. “County auditors do a lot of important, but little-known work from housing, to local government budgets, to weights and measures, to dog licenses,” she says, encouraging OWIG members to learn more about how their county auditor can serve them. “Auditor Stinziano also plans on leading by example with policies like 6 weeks of paid family leave so it’s a great team to be part of,” she continues. The fact that her projects will actually come to fruition is certainly a plus as well.
The front lines of public service are vastly different than what Bethany describes as the “30,000 foot level” from which state legislative work is done, but the new perspective makes her excited about what’s possible. She sees her work in public service as driven by an aim to solve puzzles, figuring out what issues need to be resolved and what tools are available to facilitate that. In her words: “County auditors have a defined statutory role, but also a lot of opportunity to engage and collaborate with other offices and organizations. It’s exciting for me to be a part of the team.”
Bethany’s commitment to politics and policy come from her first job out of law school working in organized labor including opposition to the infamous Senate Bill 5. She credits that opportunity with allowing her to connect the dots between public policy and people’s everyday lives, eventually cementing her desire to work in public policy. Although six years in government might jade some, Bethany has remained optimistic. “I truly believe that government at any level can be a way to improve and protect our lives and communities,” she says. In fact, her primary professional motivator is working to ensure her personal contribution aligns with that goal of making people’s lives better.
Outside of work, Bethany continues to do political volunteering, especially in the area of voter protection, about which she is most passionate. She worked for the democratic statewide 2018 ticket doing that very same work. You’re also likely to find her behind a booth at Comfest every year, and she volunteers providing legal guidance at Equitas Name & Gender Change Clinics as well. She is looking for other ways to bring her newfound knowledge of local government to volunteer and community work. We congratulate Bethany on her new position - she’s definitely earned it!