ISP Influencing Social Policy News Past Events Student Opportunities

St. Louis policy leader Mallory Rusch shares lessons learned with Graduate Policy Scholars

Mallory Rusch shares her policy experiences in a discussion led by Dr. Gary Parker

Mallory Rusch, Executive Director of Empower Missouri, joined Gary Parker, Director of the Clark-Fox Policy Institute, and students from the Graduate Policy Scholars program on Friday, November 17th for an intimate conversation over pizza. Mallory shared stories of her biggest policy wins and losses and how she works to advance progressive legislation in a conservative state. “You’re always going to have more losses than wins in policy work. But with hard work and persistence, change is possible,” Rusch told the scholars. The Graduate Policy Scholars program offers students the opportunity to supplement their Brown School coursework with experiences and training outside the classroom to build advocacy skills, learn how to effect change, and engage with policymakers and civic leaders.

Rusch leads Empower Missouri, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to secure basic human needs and equal justice for every person in Missouri. She emphasized the importance of building relationships with legislators from both sides of the aisle. “Poverty is not a partisan issue. It’s an issue that everyone must be a part of solving.” Rusch said.

Students engaged Rusch in a question-and-answer session where they asked her how she bridges the increasingly partisan divides in politics. Rusch shared her experiences on finding common ground and holding up successful partnerships as examples for other lawmakers. She encouraged students to abandon their assumptions about someone based on their political affiliation, saying, “Right now, working across the aisle is not popular, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Learn more about the Graduate Policy Scholars program.

Rusch meets with the 2023-2024 Graduate Policy Scholars and program advisors Dr. Gary Parker and Stephanie Andersen.