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Thank you for your interest in IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. This podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, any of the platforms listed above, or wherever you get your shows). Please subscribe/follow and  share your thoughts.



We know what the president’s “job” is, right?  And maybe our governors and mayors, too. But how about judges, comptrollers, secretaries of state and so on? IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us, a podcast series from CITIZENARTS, presents key local, state and federal “public servants” whose work is often little understood but has an immediate, direct impact on our daily lives.

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This podcast is available at Apple Podcasts, any of the platforms listed above, or wherever you get your shows. For your convenience, you can also listen to IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us by clicking the episode links below. For more information, contact

Listen to IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us 

Episode Five

IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. Coroner Bobbi Jo O'Neal, Charleston County, SC


If you're like us here at CITIZENARTS, when you think of the job of a coroner (or, in some locales, a medical examiner) you may imagine a character you've read about in detective novels or seen in crime dramas: the person who declares how someone died. But their role is so much more.

Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal, who oversees Charleston County, SC, joins us for this episode of IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. A coroner has multifaceted “roles” – ensuring justice in civil and criminal court cases, and providing public health information and education, among others – in addition to determining the specific cause and manner of death.

"We speak for people who can’t speak for themselves," says O'Neal, an RN whose career has spanned working with end-of-life patients, ER trauma cases and sexual assault victims, to her present role and in her leadership roles as president of the SC Coroners Association and past president of the International Coroners Association. She views her office as part of the “continuum of healthcare,” supporting affected family members through grief and the ‘paperwork of the deceased,’ and working collaboratively with law enforcement and legal entities.

A priority is reducing the rising incidence and prevalence of opioid deaths in her county through ongoing education, monitoring ‘overdose hotspots,’ and engaging with the community as a Narcan distributor to prevent users from becoming ‘customers’ of her office. The reported numbers of opioid deaths would be far higher, says O’Neal, if coroner offices had the budget and training to autopsy every potential overdose death.

"I was born for this and I can't imagine doing anything else." Please listen to Coroner O’Neal speak with knowledge, expertise, compassion and empathy about her role in people's lives. We think you'll agree the people of Charleston County – and all of us by virtue of her work ensuring national standards – are fortunate to have dedicated coroners like Bobbi Jo O’Neal supporting our communities.




Episode Four

IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Onondaga County, NY


DAs serve a vital role in our court system by ensuring justice and equality under the law for all citizens. In this episode of IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us, CITIZENARTS is honored to spotlight William “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, the eight-time elected DA of Onondaga County in the State of NY that includes Syracuse, one of the state’s largest cities, and is part of a judicial system that is among the oldest continuing courts in the US dating back to the late 1600s.

The caseload is vast, from homicides and special victims, to narcotics and racketeering. About the office’s economic crime bureau, he says “I’ve never seen such an influx of thieves and con artists – especially targeting senior citizens.” DA Fitzpatrick’s judicial innovations establishing best practices are now being used in 30 states and his leadership in codifying ethics standards reflect his core tenet that “prosecutors must be leaders not followers.”

He calls himself “a prosecutor born to solve homicides – to get justice for his brothers and sisters – and to keep the community safe.” A book on the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s baby son in the 1930’s “hooked” then 11-year old DA Fitzgerald with its breakthrough forensic evidence, which ultimately became “a lifelong career passion.” 

Peers in the New York State DA Association have named him prosecutor of the year, and the New York State Bar Association voted him outstanding prosecutor. His constituents have reaffirmed their support by electing him district attorney for more than three decades.

DA Fitzpatrick reflects on proud moments, including a sudden infant death (SIDs) case that garnered national headlines proving a mother had murdered her five children at different times. After convicting her and discrediting a “quack” SIDs expert, SIDs cases dropped by 50% in the US.

Please join us for a riveting look at the high-stakes world of prosecuting defendants – many accused of heinous crimes -- including a courtroom moment when “Fitz” caught a defendant's incriminating verbal syntax slip-up that could’ve come straight out of a true crime TV drama. Justice served!

Episode Three

IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. Jo Anne Simon, New York State Assembly, District 52


With so much news centered on laws being passed by state legislatures, many with heated controversy, we turned to the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So anything not explicitly allowed or prohibited by the federal government is up to "We the People"? Reproductive choice? Voter rights? Firearms? Healthcare? Infrastructure? Marijuana? All of it.

Yes. We the People – via our legislatures – decide what goes or doesn't go. And the make-up of those bodies have the power to enact laws on the multitude of civil and other rights that have significant or profound impact on our everyday lives.

In this new episode of our CITIZENARTS’ series IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us, we talk to New York State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, who ensures the voices of her constituents are heard loud and clear. 

Assemblymember Simon is a self-described lifetime fighter for equal rights and is nationally recognized expert on, and advocate for, the rights of people with disabilities. She is an exemplar of community activism who’s been elected to state government with over 90% of the vote in her Brooklyn community.

Join us for an engaging discussion with this fighter from Brooklyn who gives us an insider's view of the sometimes rough and tumble workings of state legislature – and how the 10th Amendment is relevant to our lives.

Episode Two

IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. Justice Adrienne Grover, California 6th District Court of Appeal


In the latest episode of the CITIZENARTS’ series IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us, we focus our lens on the U.S. judicial system and meet Justice Adrienne Grover of the California 6th District Court of Appeal. Justice Grover -- a self-described “nonjudgmental judge” -- speaks definitively and inspiringly in a time of mounting misinformation, distortion and hyperbole aimed at the role of law and our judiciary. 

As Justice Grover puts it: “You are just confronted with so much humanity in each case; ultimately you come away with a deep appreciation for the human condition.”  Justice Grover presides over a vast array of cases: the CA Courts of Appeal see the largest number of decisions appealed to the state supreme court and to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 6th District alone decides over 900 appeals and disposes of 500 writ petitions annually. 

We are grateful to Justice Grover for expanding our insight into and deepening our knowledge of the essential role justices perform at the state level. We learned so much spending time with the justice – and expect you will too.

Episode One

IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, Washington state


What does a state Secretary of State do? The headlines are all about certifying elections. But there’s a lot more to it. IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us, a new podcast series from CITIZENARTS, kicks off with Steve Hobbs, the Secretary of State of the great State of Washington. In a candid, informative, sometimes provocative conversation, Secretary Hobbs discusses his many roles – from helping to ensure election integrity by controlling misinformation and cyber security to  protecting freedom of speech in libraries to issuing credentials for corporations and charitable organizations. Critically important, multi-functional public services – the apt bailiwick for Steve Hobbs, a self-described “extreme centrist.”


IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us


Here’s CITIZENARTS founder Jim Gabbe with a word on our newest podcast series, IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. In interviews with key local and federal “public servants,” we shed light on how their work may be often little understood but has an immediate, direct impact on our daily lives.

DA Fitz


Our heartfelt gratitude to the elected officials and their hard-working staffs for taking the time to give us insights into their roles and responsibilities, and taking on these challenges every day for their constituents. 

Steve Hobbs - Secretary of State, Washington state

Adrienne Grover - Associate Justice, California 6th District Court of Appeal

Jo Anne Simon - New York State Assembly, District 52

William Fitzpatrick - District Attorney, Onondaga County, NY

Bobbi Jo O'Neal - Coroner, Charleston County, SC


Stephanie Prentice, Community Engagement Officer for Steve Hobbs

Susannah Pasquantonio, Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon


Allison Mingus, Director of Community Outreach & Scheduling for Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon

Michele Robbins, Administrative Officer for District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick

John Fudenberg, Executive Director, The International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners


Our deep gratitude to Kathleen Chalfant for introducing us to Assemblymember Simon

Thanks to Grant Reeher Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and host of The Campbell Conversations podcast for introducing us to DA Fitzpatrick 



Jim Gabbe - Host and director

Jill S. Gabbe - Executive producer

Jeff Lewis - Co-producer and technical director


IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us is courtesy of gabbegroup Productions. All rights are reserved. CITIZENARTS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.



We'd love to hear your thoughts about IN THEIR WORDS: What public officials do for us. Please drop us a line.

What a wonderful series! Just what we need to learn how government functions apart from the political partisanship and circus.

- D. K., via email

Another fantastic CITIZENARTS series. I particularly hope a lot of high school students will listen to these, in addition to all voters, as the information learned will help them become better informed voters.
- Ron, via email

Listened to the latest episode of IN THEIR WORDS featuring Justice Grover on Amazon Music. What a great talk. Another fantastic program from CITIZENARTS. So hearty congratulations for that!
- Stan, via email

I like the series, and with his dedication and humility, Steve Hobbs is certainly an exemplary public official! 

- BJ, via email

This is so incredibly impressive! I can’t wait to share and discuss this with friends.
- Jeremiah, via email

What a great theme for a series! I think you hit the nail on the head – this is so desperately needed today. I appreciate your work in creating space for civil civic discourse.

- Demetrios, via email


I am so pleased IN THEIR WORDS popped up in my Spotify podcast feed this morning. Fantastic job. Looking forward to the next episode.
- Pat, via email

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