Bacon Number, Government-Style

Public-sector employees are connected to Kevin Bacon, too.

by / September 17, 2012
s_bukley / Photo by s_bukley /

We’re all connected, and Google is making it easier to see these connections thanks to its nifty algorithms — crunching big data from various sources into meaningful and entertaining ways.

With the massive amounts of meta data that the search giant has at its disposal, Google launched the Bacon number calculator, which is an easy way to determine the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” a game using the Footloose star that’s based on the theory that people are separated from one another by only six degrees.

Bacon Number Calculation

To find a public-sector celeb’s Bacon number, type “Bacon number” into Google search followed by the person’s name. Google will tell you the degree of separation between that public-sector celeb and Bacon.

So how does this relate to government? Government Technology was curious to find out, so we winnowed through our memories to find some of our public-sector celebs with whom we have first-degree connections to see if they can, in fact, link to Kevin Bacon.
Here are a few public-sector employees that we found are connected to Kevin Bacon and their degree of separation, or Bacon number.

Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, Bacon number is 2

  • Rahm Emanuel and Tom Hanks appeared in The Road We've Traveled.
  • Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon appeared in Apollo 13.

    Who knew the mayor is so closely connected to Kevin Bacon. Emanuel has interviewed with Government Technology and Governing many times. In addition, the mayor appointed John Tolva as the city CTO, giving him a Bacon number of 3. Brett Goldstein, chief data officer, worked with Tolva and Social Digital Media Director Kevin Hauswirth, whose Bacon number also is 3. This digital trio was awarded Government Technology’s annual Top 25 of Doers, Dreamers and Drivers award.

    Tolva also is affiliated with the Gang of Seven—CIOs from seven cities who team up informally to exchange ideas. This means that those CIOs can decipher their Bacon score through Tolva or anyone of these public-sector employees who know each other.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California, Bacon number is 2

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Paxton appeared in True Lies.
  • Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon appeared in Apollo 13.

Years ago, the former governator made an appearance at an event hosted by Government Technology’s parent company, e.Republic Inc., based in Folsom-Calif. — home of the Folsom Prison. Schwarzenegger appointed Teri Takai state CIO of California, which means her Bacon number is 3. Takai previously hailed from Michigan, where Ken Theis replaced her at the time as CIO, giving him a 4. The current CIO is Dave Behen, who also could trace his Bacon number from his connection with Theis and Takai.

  Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California, Bacon number is 3

The former mayor of San Francisco and current lieutenant governor of California also is a previous Top 25 winner. In 2009, San Francisco unveiled its 311 Twitter service with Newsom and Chris Vein, who was the city/county CIO at the time. Currently U.S. deputy CTO, Vein’s affiliation with Newsom gives him a Bacon score of 4. Vein has been one of Government Technology’s most high-profile public-sector source, bringing in myriad connections.
If you’d like to calculate your Bacon number, then figure out what your degree of separation to any of the above government workers is — you might be surprised!



Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.