The news that Rep. William Clinger and Sen. William Cohen have both decided not to run for re-election stunned the federal information technology community. They are two members of Congress who have been personally interested in the issues of information management and policy. Cohen was in line to play an even greater role in the next Congress. Clinger has been leading the drive to procurement reform in the House.
Although we have not always agreed with the legislative solutions championed by either gentleman, we have the highest professional regard for them both. We believe the community has suffered a real loss, as members who care about IT issues are still rare.
The retirements, coming on the heels (relatively speaking) of the departures last year of many senior staff members from the government oversight committees, leave a real void on the Hill for the oversight of agency management of large IT systems, to say nothing of the continuing effort at further procurement reform.
We expect some of the younger members will step up to take on the unfinished tasks.
Industry and government officials alike will need to make a concerted effort to make new members and staff aware of the issues.
Clinger and Cohen are not dead, so we don't want this to sound like a eulogy, but we want to acknowledge the sense of loss we feel at their leaving. We believe the whole community will miss them.