Policy Making Isn’t Just For Legislators (Civic Engagement Update)

Posted by on October 24, 2019 at 5:14 PM

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At the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, we tend to call this movement to revitalize the United States the “democracy movement” -- a reference to our nation’s form of government. This description, of course, isn’t as precise as it could be. We do not live in a pure democracy. Instead, we vote for representatives to enact and shape policy on our behalf.

On the other hand, it is understood that representatives often take cues from their constituents. Therefore, having an informed citizenry that understands the policy making process is important for healthy self-governance in our country, regardless of how we label our form of government. (Technically, we live in a Federal Constitutional Republican Representative Democracy).

With that in mind, Bridge Alliance members have been doing incredible work helping citizens work through the policy making process and then using the results to inform elected representatives, as well as fellow citizens. For instance…

Voice of the People (VOP) and Common Ground Solutions recently collaborated on a policymaking simulation where a representative sample of residents in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District were presented with arguments for and against proposals on independent redistricting, campaign finance transparency, and Citizens United. The participants were then surveyed about their stances. Those results were then presented directly to the participants’ member of Congress. You can see the results of the simulation starting at the 2:03 mark in the video. You can also view the results of other surveys on VOP’s website.

Meanwhile, Healthy Democracy will soon host its first city-based Citizens Jury. A representative group of citizens in Milwaukie, OR will meet from November 9th-12th to deliberate on the issue of city council member compensation. Similar to the VOP policymaking simulation, these citizens will hear arguments from differing perspectives and then come to their own conclusions. The citizens will then present their recommendations to City Council on November 12th. The entire process will be live-streamed (that information will be posted on this page), and you can watch the selection process for the Jury here.

As always, thank you for your support.


Bridge Alliance Education Fund


Think we missed a big news story involving a Bridge Alliance member? Email us at [email protected] and we'll make sure to get the story out on social media.

Bridge Alliance Members in the News:

R Street Institute - Washington Times - 21st century robber barons? Push to break up Big Tech divides conservatives

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget - Voice of America - Bipartisan Shrug as US Budget Deficit Nears $1 Trillion | Voice of America - English

Better Angels - Ames Tribune - Better Angels to show 'Reuniting America' documentary