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NEW MEASURES OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Who Needs Community Listening?
Who Is Being Asked?
Two Ways to Improve
Misconceptions to Improving
New Measures of Civic Engagement
In your lifetime, have any of your candidates or elected officials asked you what your concerns are? Click here to discover that we're not alone.
What are your concerns? Click here to see if you share the concerns of 100 of my neighbors.
In my half-century of life, none of my elected officials has asked me my concerns, whether I voted frequently or not at all and despite having been civically engaged.
How can elected officials represent us if they don't know our concerns? Isn't that the ultimate in taxation without representation – not being asked?
Our democratic woes are blamed both on voters who are apathetic and on elected officials who don't care about us – but it doesn't have to be that way! I believe any democratic flaws lie in logistics, not in human frailties.
I propose the creation of an "Issue-Based Community Listening Infrastructure" to bridge the communication gap between elected officials and those they represent – us. Ideally, this organization would create a "Concerns Bank" by collecting each resident's concerns every year to be used by policy-makers, community organizations, and media.
It is logistically unrealistic to expect our elected officials to ask each constituent her/his concerns.
I don't believe accusations that potential voters are apathetic.
People care deeply about a myriad of concerns. No one asks – but it doesn't have to be that way!
Even if elected officials would, do we want all 48 of them asking us our concerns every year?
Would collecting concerns be a justifiable democratic expenditure?
We're disconnected from our elected officials and each other – but it doesn't have to be that way!
* Of King County's 436 candidates in 317 races in the 2015 general election, 198 candidates ran unopposed – 62% of races.
** Nationwide cost: $1.5 billion. Donations to Republican and Democratic congressional race candidates nationwide during 2014: $1.4 billion.
Copyright 2016 Deb Blakeslee