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I Found a Dinosaur!

Posted by Thom Little on February 26, 2019

Reposted from

I found a dinosaur- or at least something that I thought had become as extinct as the dinosaur: a high profile, competitive statewide campaign that was about issues and not personalities. In fact, it appears that the two candidates actually liked each other and treated each other with respect and dignity. Who knew such an animal still existed?

In 2018, two-term Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton could not seek re-election due to term limits so there was an open seat for the position. After long and hard-fought primaries, the Democratic Farm Labor party (DFL) selected six-term Congressman, military veteran and former teacher Mark Walz and Republicans selected County Commissioner and former state legislator Jeff Johnson, their gubernatorial candidate in 2014, as their candidate. Johnson defeated former GOP Governor Tim Pawlenty in a contested primary to gain the 2018 nomination.

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How to Kill Public Service

Posted by Pete Weichlein on February 19, 2019

Reposted from

Democracy Dies in Darkness, according to the Washington Post. I disagree. We’re seeing democracy’s demise in broad daylight, played out on television, in the halls of Congress, on social media, and via a dearth of leadership that unfortunately has infiltrated both parties. Among the many, many collateral damages caused by our current hyper-partisanship and political dysfunction, killing the notion of public service in the next generation will inflict the most lasting damage to our democracy.

I cannot blame anyone looking for a job for bypassing an industry that is maligned by its top executives, is accused by candidates for office of collecting nothing but lazy underachievers for its workforce, and cannot keep up with most other employers when it comes to competitive compensation. (That last one’s true, actually.) Not to mention volatile job security: at the whim of the top executives (i.e, the President and/or Congress,) the place gets shut down and you’re either told to stay home because your job is simply not that important, or that you have to come to work, and figure that whole “paycheck” thing out later.

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Does Unlimited Political Spending Support Democracy? Why We Don’t Think So

Posted by American Promise on February 12, 2019

Reposted from

A strong majority of American citizens support an amendment to authorize limits on the influence of big money on our political system—an influence that has exploded since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. Whatever their beliefs on specific issues, Americans see how unlimited political spending is undermining representative democracy, distorting our economy and undermining public trust—and they want it to change.

But, what do the opponents of the amendment believe? What were the arguments that led five Supreme Court justices to decide in favor of Citizens United? Their primary argument was that unlimited political spending strengthens democracy, by increasing access to office and fostering productive debate. Conversely, they argue, limiting spending enables government to limit speech about political candidates and elected officials.

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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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