Date Started: August 15, 2011
Date Returning: May 1, 2011
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Courses: Ethics for Public Administrators, Political Economy, Human Resource Management
Year in School: Second Year Graduate Student
Program: Master in Public Administration
Hometown: Shalimar, Fla.
Entry No. 6 | Jan. 23, 2012
Sorry for a delayed blog this past month, it has been a busy one to say the least! After a nice relaxing break from Tallahassee and the Fellowship, things are back in full swing. We continue with our weekly meetings with the entire group to meet and interact with some of the great leaders of Florida. This semester will include the likes of Attorney General Pam Bondi and Speaker of the House Dean Cannon. The legislative session is also underway, two months earlier than most years due to the Florida Constitutional mandate to redraw the Congressional, House and Senate districts after the national census is released. This is an integral process to our Florida political system and thus far has proven to be as fair and transparent as any years prior.
I have continued to enjoy Tallahassee as a town and have the benefit of being in the best of both worlds, as the capital of Florida and as a college town. The benefits, if taken advantage of, can be great for someone with a career or background in government or the university system. There is also a Deep South charm that can be seen in the changes of the season and the leaves that cannot be found in Tampa; this is something that I have missed over the years being away from the panhandle.
We have a very busy schedule planned for the semester, which includes a trip to the nation’s capital, where we will be able to see the process from a much higher level that will provide a different perspective than what we have become accustomed to over the last 6 months. We have also been working closely with the Florida Youth Commission, a body of high school students that are assembled every year to advocate on behalf of children throughout the state. Their busiest week that they will encounter all year will be next week during Florida Children’s Week, where they will take place in a Teen Town Hall Meeting to advocate for their cause, amongst other events. This has been a great experience for me personally and I know that the rest of the Fellows feel the same. More to come, as I hope to be more consistent with my entries in the coming weeks. Hope all is well with all of you and the semester is off to a great start.
As always, GO BULLS!
“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule -- and both commonly succeed, and are right.” -H.L. Mencken
Entry No. 5 | Dec. 7, 2011
This past month has been an exciting one for all of us! My day-to-day job continues to be monumental in my development to be the best public servant possible. I learn every day from the best and brightest within my agency and throughout the state of Florida, as they impart the ways in which they have lived their life both in the workplace and at home. As our weekly meeting progress we all were afforded the opportunity to meet with Gov. Rick Scott multiple times to discuss such things as his plan for the state of Florida and his path to the Governor’s Mansion. I often sit back and am amazed at the complex minds and innovative people that I have been able to meet with throughout this fellowship; I have been blessed!
A couple of weeks ago all the Fellows took an economic policy trip around the panhandle to learn about the growth and sustainability of some of the oldest parts of the state. We learned about such areas as the oyster industry down in Apalachicola, the effects of the oil spill along the beaches of South Walton, and the future economic plan for Pensacola by the Mayor himself. It was a great opportunity to get out of Tallahassee and broaden our knowledge of all the beautiful assets of the state of Florida that we all want to thrive!
If I don’t get to write again before Christmas, hope everyone has a great break and a Merry Christmas!
As Always GO BULLS!
Entry No. 4 | Oct. 10, 2011
After a couple of weeks off from writing I wanted to make sure and give you an update over the last busy couple of weeks! The second round of committee hearings was under way to provide legislatures to prepare for the upcoming legislative session, which this year it will be early due to the redistricting that takes place every 10 years. The committee that Highway Safety presents their budget and proposed legislation to is the Transportation and Highway Safety Committee. Also, for those of you who are not familiar with the redistricting process, every 10 years the constitution gives the powers to the states to redraw both state and federal legislative districts after the census report is released to allow for legislative representation based on population. For some states like Montana and South Dakota, their representation rarely changes, but for states like Florida with a population that it is ever changing, our congressional representation constantly changes along with it. The lines also are redistricted for the state legislatures in an attempt to have equal representation in that arena as well. This is a highly political process and one that will be heavily debated in the upcoming months.
The fellowship found us meeting with such influential figures in the state such as Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and also the unique and humble experience of meeting, who I believe will be the next president of the United States, Gov. Mitt Romney. He was meeting with state leaders that day and the fellows were afforded the opportunity to meet and greet with the Governor during his very busy schedule. We also will be taking a retreat this upcoming week to Camp Blanding, and have the opportunity to take a ride in an apache helicopter and also to take part in some team building exercises during the two days we will be there. Classes also are starting to pick up for me and the other fellows as we reach the mid-way point in the semester with tests and papers galore! As always I continue to be blessed with so many opportunities that without this fellowship would not be possible. So many new and exciting experiences that keep me busy throughout the week, and Tallahassee has been a great town to experience thus far! Look forward to talking with you all soon, and as always GO BULLS!!
“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
Entry No. 3 | Sept. 12, 2011
Another great week here in Tallahassee, and another great week for Bulls football--glad to see we are off to a great start! After an emotional week, saying goodbye to a great pioneer for USF, Lee Roy Selmon and the 10 year anniversary of the Sept. 11, we remember all those that have had an impact on our lives. Furthermore, we remember how blessed we are to have good friends and family in our lives.
The Fellowship this past week brought its shares of challenges and learning tools for the future. Our weekly fellowship seminars brought us Elizabeth Rojas a member of Class VI Fellows program and the pioneer for the D.C. Fellowship. The D.C. Fellowship is a nine-month extension of the Gubernatorial Fellowship located in the governor’s Washington, D.C., office. Yes, Gov. Rick Scott and many governors prior have had an office located in Washington to act as a liaison, when needed, between the State of Florida and the Federal Government. This is an opportunity that I intend to pursue at the end of my nine months here in Tallahassee.
Another development was the kickoff meeting Wednesday for the credentialing project here at Highway Safety, with five agencies represented. This was the initial step to set up the business process and initial logistics. We look forward to working with all of these great agencies throughout the year and expect the number of agencies to grow as we progress. As more develops here I will be sure to give you all an update. Hope everyone has a great week and look forward to talking to you all soon, and as always…
"Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price."
Entry No. 2 | Sept. 6, 2011
I’ll first start of this week but saying what a weekend for the Bulls! I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend the weekend in South Bend to see USF take down the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame! It was a pleasure to see how my brothers fought till the very end to get the victory against such a storied program as Notre Dame. I am attaching some pictures of that day as this looks like the start to a great season for USF football, and I can’t wait to see how they do! I also want to give my condolences to the Selmon Family. As many of you know Mr. Lee Roy Selmon died this past week after battling for a few days after sustaining a massive stroke. Mr. Selmon was one of the finest men I ever had the pleasure to know and so many within the USF community know of his kindness, wisdom and ability to lead. As a pioneer for USF football and a mentor to so many young men, including myself, I will be forever indebted to him and know he will never be forgotten!
As a little bit of an initial outline to the fellowship, I wanted to give everyone a clear understanding of what it entails. There are 13 of us and each fellow went through a rigorous process to determine which state agency they wanted to be paired with. We currently have fellows in agencies such as Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI), Department of State (DOS) and of course my agency The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). This provides each fellow to have a unique experience at the interworking of leadership within Florida’s state agencies, and gives us all a chance to grow as public servants.
This past week in the fellowship program included a meeting with Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning, who is an alumnus of USF (master’s in public administration) and continues to be a great example of success for young MPA students like myself. I also was quite busy with the initial meeting to take place in my main focus during my nine months -- this project will be known as the credentialing project. There will be more to come with where we see the future of this initiative going. The fellowship continues to be an opportunity of a lifetime and a growing experience every day. Everyone have a great week, more to come and look forward to your comments, and as always…
“The first step towards success is taken when you refuse to be captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” -Mark Caine
Entry No. 1 | Aug. 30, 2011
USF, first and foremost I want to say how great of a
benefit it will be for me to be bringing you up to date on the
happenings of being a gubernatorial fellow! This will be a great way
to build a bridge between something that is near and dear to my heart,
the USF community and the fellowship, which is now a large part of my
life in Tallahassee.
My name is Andrew Ketchel and I spent five of the best years of my life
on the USF campus as a student-athlete on the football team. I had the
opportunity to play in front of some wonderful people, and family and
friends who I love, but I also knew that without education, my road to
success would not continue after my playing days were over. So I set
out to attend graduate school while in my last year of competition.
This early understanding of the difference between athletics and
academics gave me the ability to be successful on both fronts.
spring I found out about the opportunity to become a Gubernatorial
Fellow, and take part in 9 months of intense training both in and out
of the classroom. The fellowship provides young adults the opportunity
to work in high levels of state government among many of the agencies
here in Tallahassee. The fellowship also brings us weekly seminars
from other high ranking members of state government that include
executive directors, former governors, legislators (past and present),
and Governor Scott himself. There will be more to come from these
fantastic weekly events!
I really hope that this upcoming year gives
the 13 of us the opportunity to grow as young public
administrators in the hopes to become better leaders in the state of
Florida. Thanks you all for this opportunity, and I look forward to
getting to know you during the next year! I'll leave you with this
quote, from a great man and Founding Father of this country:
"Although a republican government is slow to move, yet when once in
motion, its momentum becomes irresistible."
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis C. Gray, 1815