The July-August issue looks at partisanship in legislatures, renovating capitols, pay for lawmakers, the challenging job of chief of staff, the costs of legislation and much more.
Our initial survey to legislators and staff helped identify some of their attitudes toward and practices concerning their constituents. Those legislators and staff who responded are motivated to connect with their constituents and want to learn new ways to facilitate more interaction and have citizens play a more meaningful role in those encounters. They believe those discussions would offer the constituents a closer connection to democracy, give the legislators more valuable information about how to solve important problems, promote respect and understanding of different viewpoints and promote a sense of identity and community in their districts.
However, those respondents also identified the key challenges of finding time, partners and funding in creating activities that promote a stronger legislator/citizen bond. With family, work and legislative obligations, many legislators think they don’t have time to plan and hold these kinds of discussions. Many would like to find partners to share in the planning and running of these discussions and funding or other resources to achieve these goals.
The take on the survey responses is that we may have a limited number of legislators and staff who will participate in our project. However, this endeavor will be successful if we help those who are interested to see and read about successful legislator/citizen discussion models, address the key challenges of time, partners and funding, and learn from their colleagues. We may have lost some potential interest last time, because the models for discussion seemed cumbersome and would take an enormous effort and amount of time to replicate. This time, we will be more focused on moving legislators to expand on their existing practices to make them more interactive, stressing a greater role and responsibility for the citizens.
7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800
444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069