Baylor program lobbies for better government

Taken during President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Washington, D.C. offers Baylor students access to political activity. A representative of the Data Coalition is visiting our campus this week to discuss his lobbying work for citizens to have access to information that would not be available without their elected representatives in Congress. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

The Baylor in Washington program and the Baugh Center will host the Data Coalition’s policy director, Christian Hoehner, from Washington, D.C., for the “Lobbying for Better Government: Agenda Setting and Coalition Building in Washington D.C.” event.

Hoehner has been the policy director at the Data Coalition for a year. The Data Coalition is an organization that advocates for government information to be published as machine readable data, according to its website. Its principle belief is that if government information is collected in a uniform manner, it will be easier to access and interpret, Hoehner said.

“It’s [taxpayer] data,” Hoehner said of why citizens should care about the Data Coalition’s mission. “Taxpayers’ money goes into funding missions that the government approves of to provide services to the public. In order to understand how to take advantage of those services … you need the management data, which is the agency’s financials, where the money ends up [and] tracking the funds all the way up to the eventual grant contractors. The populous isn’t able to get that information if their elected representatives in Congress aren’t easily able to access that data.”

The Baylor in Washington program coordinator, Grant Jones, said the Baylor in Washington program chose to invite Hoehner because of his experience with coalition building in Washington, D.C. Jones also said that coalition building is part of the foundation of a democratic society, and it is how people with competing interests find compromise.

Jones said Hoehner can provide insight into the topics that students should study to enter the workforce. He also said the information Hoehner will provide will be beneficial to all students, not just political science majors. The ability to work with people is a skill that everyone needs to learn, Jones said.

Hoehner will talk about how businesses can advocate for their causes in Washington, D.C., the history of the Data Act which was passed in 2014, according to the Data Coalition website, and the importance of coalition building.

“I think it’s good for all business sectors to really understand how D.C. functions … There’s a lot of misperceptions out there … I just want to demystify it,” Hoehner said.

Before becoming policy director at the Data Coalition, Hoehner lobbied on behalf of Baylor in Washington, D.C. He helped Baylor receive federal grants for research and track the budget process of those grants.

“I really do enjoy the Baylor mission,” Hoehner said of why he wanted to come to Waco and speak to students.

The event will be held on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in the 211 Foster. Lunch will be provided. If you plan to attend the event, contact Grant Jones at