NASIRE goes to Washington

With the Bush administration settling in, the National Association of State Information Resource Executives, a nonpartisan group representing the states' chief information officers, has hired a consulting firm to be the group's Washington, D.C., presence.

Arlington, Va.-based Collins and Co., consultants on trade, defense, and foreign affairs, will represent NASIRE on Capitol Hill and at meetings with other D.C.-based state government and technology-related associations.

NASIRE president Aldona Valicenti said the organization would have a part-time representative, Shay Stautz, who would track technology-related issues and legislation and relay information back to the organization. Stautz is a senior associate for programs and legislation at Collins.

"It is primarily education and awareness," said Valicenti, who also is Kentucky's chief information officer. For example, privacy is a hot topic on the federal level that would be of great interest to states, she said.

She said NASIRE also wants more opportunities to testify on Capitol Hill. The federal government has solicited the group's expertise for several issues, including help on the Year 2000 computer problem and whether there should be a federal-level CIO.

It was during the Y2K rollover issue that NASIRE officials started thinking about a larger presence in Washington, D.C., Valicenti said. She said NASIRE realized it had "a tremendous amount of information and resources and data we could feed back to the federal government."

She also said the federal government has passed down more responsibilities to the states, and the organization should keep up.

"We need to publicize much more of what NASIRE is doing," she said, adding that politicians are becoming more interested in technology as it takes a bigger bite from budgets. "That in itself is becoming a key not only dollar-wise, but also from a policy perspective for governors and state legislatures," she said.

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