By: Mauricio Cordova Flores, ASU Sustainable Food Systems graduate student.
His passion for solving social-economic issues has driven Chad Maisel’s career through positions at the USDA, Senator Cory Booker’s office, and two positions at the White House. He is currently the Special Assistant to the President for Housing and Urban Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council. My graduate cohort had the opportunity to meet with Chad on May 8th, 2023, the first day of our Applied Food Policy immersive class in Washington, DC.
Chad shared with us his experience working in the Domestic Policy Council, where he concentrates on policies related to housing, homelessness, and economic development, among others. One of the White House initiatives he is currently working on is part of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness's Federal Strategic Plan, in which they have a set a goal for a 25% reduction of homelessness in the US by 2025. Chad is currently focused on all the necessary services needed to support this effort, such as policy efforts to provide more housing, mental and physical health, substance use services, and workforce development.
Chad is a master of finding balance and alignment between what the White House and government agencies want on their policy and program initiatives. He is part of the intra-agency policy committee and coordinates tools and communication among government agencies to ensure the President's policy priorities are moved forward. Collaboration among all agencies is a crucial component to be able to achieve everyone’s goals. Sharing resources and relying on each other is the best way to get things done. He has learned to grow and build relationships with stakeholders and partners in many other agencies to achieve this.
Chad prepares memos for senior White House leadership as part of his day-to-day responsibilities. He simplifies complex information for these memos to be more concise and digestible. Examples of the information gathered for these memos are analysis of discussions on current bills, their impact, the status of a bill through Congress, and press issues. He shared that the skill of gathering complex and detailed information and being able to communicate it in a simple way is crucial for a staffer. Chad also emphasized that collecting internal and external data is vital to provide a balance report in his memos.
His relationship-based approach to building partnerships and consensus among different points of view provides us with a road map of how to move a policy forward. Coordination between all stakeholders is key to the success of moving policy goals forward. Using this approach will be beneficial when I work on food-related policies.
Chad, thank you for your passion and commitment to moving social-economic policies forward to help communities thrive.
This blog is part of a series from the May 2023 Washington D.C. Immersive component of the Swette Center graduate programs. Students met with federal food and agriculture focused officials at USDA, the White House, and Congress alongside many other important influencers of policy in industry and non-profits.