Public Policy in Practice with Cecilia Muñoz

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Mollie Williamson, MPA '19
October 31, 2017

On October 13th, 2017, Cecilia Muñoz visited Fels to talk about her life and professional policy-making experiences as a part of the "Public Policy in Practice" discussion series. Fels MPA student Mollie Williamson covered the event.

The pursuit of justice is a driving force in the Public Administration program, whether at an organizational, community, or policy level. This pursuit of justice was also a core theme of this month’s Policy in Practice event, featuring Cecilia Muñoz, Vice President of Policy and Technology and Director of the National Network at New America, and former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza.

During her talk, Muñoz emphasized that the ways one responds during “ebbs in justice” determine long-term outcomes. She discussed some of the ebbs she encountered when implementing the work she is most proud of: DACA, The Affordable Care Act, and convincing nearly every state in the nation to set higher educational standards for their children.

Additionally, Muñoz discussed being a woman of color in her various roles, saying that it was a unique but fulfilling experience in the Obama White House. She also talked about the experience of working in the White House immediately after Donald Trump’s election, shedding some light on the transition process and emphasizing the message of hope and perseverance that the former President continued to spread after the election. Muñoz also answered a number of student and community questions, offering suggestions as to how to best discuss immigration issues with non-latino communities who do not feel that these issues are their issues and discussing what her advisory role may be in future transitions of power.

A longtime advocate and organizer, Muñoz developed her expertise organically through her work in the community. Before bringing her experience to the White House, she studied topics she loved and volunteered for organizations with missions for which she felt passionately. When asked how she managed to continue these advocacy efforts in such a multi-faceted political arena, she stated, “There are times is is your responsibility to help people understand things they didn’t come to the table knowing.”

Looking towards the future, Muñoz says that she enjoys working with a think tank, developing 21st century solutions to 21st century problems with people who find deep meaning in their work. Her advice to the crowd: “Listen to yourself in respect to ‘what is mine to do right now?’ You will know that. You will be good at that. That is where you’ll make your mark.”


You can watch the full event here

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326

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