REP-PP Spring 201​7 Blog: Loyalty

Blogger:  Sean Grove

Law School Year:  ​3L
Placement:  Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott, Austin, Texas

“Loyalty . . .  is about a sense of belonging to something greater than yourself.”

      – Dr. David Prior, Former Executive Vice President and Provost of Texas A&M University

Sean GroveLoyalty is a word with several associated thoughts. One can be loyal to friends, employers, spouses, and so on. Loyalty is a trait we seek out in others, and it is one reason many pet owners love their furry friends. However, in public policy, loyalty has a different meaning. While looking for the best definition to describe loyalty in my placement, I came across Dr. Prior’s quote. I believe his words sum up the essence of loyalty to the public perfectly.

Through my time at my placement, I have seen this type of loyalty in many areas. From conference calls with agents throughout the state worried about the unintended consequence of proposed legislation, to observing decision makers in pushing policy, this value comes up again and again. The people working in our government are not simply pushing a political agenda, nor are they satisfying some self-fulfilling need. The people I work with go to work every day because they have this overwhelming sense of loyalty to improving Texas by enacting conservative principles. Yet whether conservative or progressive, it is this loyalty to bettering the lives of all Texans that drives these people to support certain ideas and actions.

Not only are our policy makers loyal to their state and constituents, but they are loyal to each other as well. A lot of times, the decision to support legislation comes from the very top of the totem pole. Regardless of their beliefs, the people further down support the decisions made because they are loyal to the process and their superiors. This is the only way that an executive office can work. Without loyalty, there would be no singular voice for the executive, and a lot of unnecessary confusion and backlog. This is not blind loyalty, however, and every decision is heavily debated and researched. Loyalty allows the decision-making process to have those moments of intense discourse because everyone knows the motivation of the other people engaging in the dialogue.

It is this display of loyalty, both to the constituents and to each other, that helped me realize I’m in the right field. I value loyalty. That, among other reasons, is what drove me to want to be an Aggie lawyer. Knowing that public policy is filled with people driven by a similar sense of loyalty, gives me comfort in this different, exciting, opportunity.