This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Aidan Elliott 1 week, 2 days ago.

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    Learning Objective: Understand the role of checks and balances amongst the three branches of government and the citizenry.

    1. Citizens, Interest Groups and the Media As Watchdogs

    Answer the question:

      Do you consider yourself a 鈥榳atchdog鈥? How does one become a watchdog?

    Michael Wile

    I am a watchdog by virtue of being on the HFA leadership committee. We are a special interest group looking out for people with bleeding disorders. We are watching the US Government it’s agencies, insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, blood banks, hospitals, researchers and other interest groups and stakeholders to make sure their interests align with our intersts. Our intersts include product safety, data collection, accessibility, affordability, and availability of the products that we require to live well and not just survive! When our interests don’t align, we take action by lobbying congress, suing, protesting, writing letters, voting, campaigning and raising funds. That’s how one becomes a watchdog.


    Natalie Parker

    I do not consider myself a watchdog, simply because I don鈥檛 know that I鈥檓 as intimately informed with local issues as I鈥檇 like. I personally believe that a government watchdog needs to have the following elements:

    – Connected within government
    – Constant vigilance
    – Understands pressure points and keeps up-to-date with all issues
    – Isn鈥檛 afraid to make difficult decisions or call out those in power

    Here in Philadelphia, I work for a few political organizations that I would consider 鈥渨atchdogs鈥. Because of their collective power, organizations are able to hire people with many different skills and experiences to keep a watch on the government. The Committee of Seventy is well-connected within city and state government and intimately understands the processes and levers that it needs to pull to make change. It has a good-sized board and officers within the organization that develop policy platforms and keep abreast of local political news.

    I’d like to become more of a watchdog, or at the least, use the information from other watchdogs to inform my work, opinions, and actions.


    Steve Spears

    I don’t consider myself a watchdog. I just want to take action to address issues faced by families with bleeding disorders.


    Ken Martin

    A watchdog can bark at all the people it wants to as they pass by, but if it is chained to the porch there isn’t a significant impact to many other than noise.

    Take that dog of the chain and then it can make a difference.

    We are all watchdogs that have be let off the chain by getting involved with those people passing by. Some of us may wag their tail and others just might bite if provoked.


    Aidan Elliott

    We are all “watchdogs”. I would assert the only criteria for being a watchdog is an interest in the organization you are watching, some limited knowledge of the system the organization is operating in, and a willingness/ability to bark if necessary.

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