Presented by The Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

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OK, so the House wants to reform itself? Here’s what it should really do.

Posted by Kevin Kosar on January 31, 2019

By Casey Burgat & Kevin Kosar. Reposted from

Early this month, on the opening day of the 116th Congress, something unusual happened: The House of Representatives took a step to reform itself. Legislators approved a package of rules changes to fix some of its more glaring problems. Some of these are long overdue: As of Jan. 4, representatives can no longer sit on corporate boards while in office, and members are now officially prohibited from sleeping with their staff.

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2019 - The State of the Alliance

Posted by Debilyn Molineaux on January 30, 2019

Thank you for reading -- and participating on the journey to create healthy self-governance in the United States.

Many of us never expected to be advocates for strengthening the democratic ideals and institutions here at home. Yet that is exactly what is needed for our country to realize the values identified by our founders.

While our country has been battered by the unrelenting forces of corruption, foreign exploitation and a degrading sense of civility, the state of the Bridge Alliance is strong. And in 2019, it will become stronger.

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Reforming Our Definition of Politics

Posted by Jsa on January 15, 2019

By Mia Barkenaes, PNW Governor @ JSA. Reposted from

As a JSA Governor, it is expected that I hold the values of JSA sacred to my heart. Most would even think there’s an unspoken requirement that Governors believe with the utmost faith that JSA’s mission is essential to our democracy. Generally, I believe in this mission. However, throughout my high school career, I’ve had my own reservations- even resentments- about the mission of JSA.

Here at JSA, our mission is to build the bridge between people with differing political opinions. We strive to foster not only discourse, but partnerships and connections between individuals whose values may initially seem incompatible.

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Democracy Won Big in 2018

Posted by California Forward on January 08, 2019

By Jim Mayer, CAFwd. Reposted from 

As partisan gridlock and political turmoil roils the national scene, California Forward’s leaders have grounded our actions and reactions in the confidence that democracies are designed to be resilient.

We have experienced that resiliency here in California with Proposition 11 in 2008, which created citizens’ redistricting; Proposition 14 in 2010, which opened the primary system so all voters could choose from all of the candidates; and, Proposition 28 in 2012, which modified term limits. A number of other political and fiscal reforms have been instigated over the last decade by coalitions of civic organizations like California Forward and the California Forward Action Fund, which worked on all of these measures and more.

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A Model Of Public Engagement In New York City

Posted by Brian Scios on January 02, 2019

By Treston Codrington, Public Agenda. Reposted from

True engagement is about cultivating and maintaining positive relationships between citizens and the institutions that serve them.

On Nov. 7, about 20 community organizers from all over New York City were welcomed with bagels and coffee as they settled in for a full day of learning about effective public engagement. At the start of the Avenue NYC Public Engagement Strategy workshop, we all agreed to some ground rules which included enabling empathy and compassion, accepting a lack of closure, and recognizing the partial nature of our truths. With that small activity, the workshop, hosted jointly by Public Agenda and NYC Small Businesses Services (SBS), became a model of public engagement. The day succeeded in not only helping leaders learn how to strengthen their own engagement strategies, but consistently demonstrated what good engagement looks like.

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Positive Campaigns Produce Winners

Posted by Ted Celeste on December 24, 2018

Reposted from National Institute for Civil Discourse.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse established at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2011 after the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has been focused on efforts to help restore civility to our political discourse. As part of that effort, they sponsored two workshops in Columbus, Ohio late this summer designed to provide candidates with training on how to run positive campaigns and win.

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This Is Not Your Father’s Congress

Posted by Bradford Fitch on December 14, 2018

Reposted from

When I arrived on Capitol Hill in the summer of 1983 for my internship with a House member, I had never stepped foot in a congressional office building. I walked into the office, was led to a corner in the back and sat down in front of an IBM Selectric typewriter. (For younger readers, you can see examples at the Smithsonian.)

A rather intimidating young woman with an impressive title, legislative correspondent, sat me down and handed me a giant tabbed notebook. It was organized by issue topic, each with a paragraph on the lawmaker’s position.

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The Fight for Open Elections - New Mexico

Posted by John Opdycke on December 10, 2018

From Open Primaries.

On November 13th, Open Primaries Education Fund (OPEF) filed a lawsuit against New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver challenging the state’s expenditure of funds to supervise and administer its closed primary elections. New Mexico is one of only 9 states with completely closed primary elections, which disenfranchise the state’s 270,000 registered independent voters -- 22% of New Mexicans and the fastest growing segment of the electorate.

At issue is the unconstitutional use of taxpayer money to pay for primary elections that benefit private political party activities. Specifically, OPEF argues that the current system violates the anti-donation clause of the New Mexico Constitution, which reads:

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