I work for a public entity (public service for a US state government, executive branch), and my field is data science/statistics.
In my personal life I am involved in environmentalism, with expertise in energy issues; this is related to my professional work. I am not dogmatic, I don't think my views are extreme, and I am always willing to change my mind if presented with good data and evidence.
However, today I was reprimanded for a social media post I made on my personal twitter. The account is not associated with my work. I posted about a very poor bill in my locality that essentially does nothing. It is a status-quo bill that is billed as substantial progress when it literally is repeating things already in stated law.
I was, and am, upset that a public official X is pushing this and not trying harder, so I called that official out. I didn't tweet at them, just referenced them. I did not use foul language, crude memes, or anything like that. Just critical words about their work - and no ad hominem.
Is it remotely OK for my supervisor's supervisor to prohibit me from making social media posts that name elected officials? On one hand, I feel bad that I may have looked unprofessional in the eyes of management, but on the other I believe ardently in what I said; I believe I was saying the right thing; I believe it is my first amendment right.
Yes, I work for a public entity, but I am a citizen outside of work. I should have the right to discuss public issues and public officials outside of hours on my personal account (by the way, I do not have a "work" twitter that could be misconstrued).
I am considering raising this to my union. But, I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to handle this with my workplaces' upper management. These are people that I interact with all the time given the profile of my work/visibility of my work despite my relatively lower position.