Technology Implications of the 2011 Governors’ Elections

Deltek Sr. Manager Chris Dixon reports.

2011 marks the low point of the four-year cycle of gubernatorial elections. None of the races was a hotbed of technology policy debate. However, the three of the four states that held elections this year all have extensive IT pedigrees that are very likely to continue under the extended terms of current leadership. Only Mississippi elected a new chief executive. However, the new governor has a track record for IT implementation dating back to a previous term in statewide office, providing a basis for more high-profile IT utilization than was seen under the previous executive.

Gov. Steve Beshear (D) cruised to a surprisingly easy reelection. Running solely on his record (and pointedly criticized by his opponent for having ”no agenda, no ideas”), his campaign platform included technology only as an economic development consideration. However, Kentucky was far from dormant on the IT front and was an aggressive participant in the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ (NASCIO) 2011 Recognition Awards, submitting nominations for the Kentucky Health Information Exchange, a Suspicious Activity Reporting System (SARS), a system for tracking meaningful use by Medicaid providers, a paperless invoicing system, and a fire safety app.

As expected, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) faced only nominal opposition in his bid for reelection. Like most candidates in his position, he was more than happy to let their record speak for itself. His campaign website featured praise from the Shreveport Times, describing him as “wonkish on matters of policy and technology.” On the eve of the election, the Jindal administration won significant recognition for its investments in technology for social services. NASCIO gave its annual State Technology Innovator Award to Ruth Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services. Ms. Johnson implemented a wide-ranging modernization of the department’s processes, which had previously been mired in ridiculously manual work flows.

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