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Do Elections Impact State Technology Organizations?

Eight states have elections for governor next month in which an incumbent is not on the ballot. Arizona CIO J.R. Sloan weighs in on how state IT is positioned to weather the change.

Arizona Chief Information Officer JR Sloan.jpg
Government Technology
For all the uncertainties that election season holds, one thing is sure: Arizona and seven other states will swear in new governors after the first of the year, as the current governors are not running for re-election. But does that transition impact state technology leadership? The short answer is maybe.

Government Technology research on state CIOs (last published in June 2019) revealed just how likely it is that a CIO will survive a transition to a new governor: When a new governor is of the same political party as the last, there is a 39 percent chance the CIO will remain. At last week's NASCIO conference in Louisville, Ky., however, several gov tech leaders pointed out that oftentimes, the end of an elected official's term is just a good time to explore different career opportunities — it doesn't necessarily mean they're out of sync with the new leadership.

We asked Arizona Chief Information Officer J.R. Sloan how he ensures stability in the work of his department despite potential leadership changes and where the state's next CIO is coming from.

"My observations are that a lot of IT leadership across the state of Arizona will survive that process," Sloan said, noting that he doesn't anticipate leaving his post any time soon. "They’ve been in place, many of them have gone through one or two administrations, so we have good, solid, stable leadership in place."
Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including Government Technology, Governing, Industry Insider, Emergency Management and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.
Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.