Degree: MA 1988
Location: Washington, D.C.
Rick Larsen was born and raised in Arlington, Washington, and has been a member of Congress since 2001. Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, he worked as director of economic development for the City of Everett, Washington, and served as a Snohomish County Councilman and chair of the Snohomish County Council.
Why study public policy?
I went to Pacific Lutheran University, where I majored in political science with a minor in economics. After graduating, I asked myself, “what can I do with this degree?” And I realized that the nexus is political policy. In economics, we look at how economies work at micro and macro levels; in political science we look at the relationships necessary to make policies happen. When you put those two things together, you get public policy.
Why is public policy important?
Elected officials represent 710,000 people every day and those 710,000 individuals have countless opinions about what you should be doing as their elected representative. Public policy and analysis help bring some of these disparate opinions together.
What is the most valuable thing you learned at the Humphrey School?
What I learned at the Humphrey was not just how to get policy right but also the importance of getting it right. Because the more you initially get policy right, the harder it is for the politics to chip away at its foundation.
March 15, 2012