Engage Dane + Community Engagement
It is critically important that citizens trust their government, understand what's going on, and have a way to give feedback about programs that affect their lives. That's why I am so excited that Dane County is pulling together a coalition of supervisors from across the County to launch Engage Dane, a citizen engagement project.
We're starting the project out by heading out to community events across Dane County, introducing those groups to what the Dane County Government does, and asking, "How does this affect your life? How do you want to hear about it? How would you like to participate? How can we make your engagement easier?" So far, supervisors have worked with the Area Agency on Aging, the Latino Support Network of Dane County, the Beacon Homeless Day Center, and the Dane Counties Towns Association, among others. I'll be joining the Dane County Youth Governance Program in August to discuss youth engagement in local government. If you have ideas of community groups I should approach to start a conversation on citizen engagement, please let me know in the comments!
As we look at what's happening in our state and federal administrations, it is so easy to be demoralized about the ethics, intentions, and effectiveness of government entities. We cannot allow that perception to flow down to local government. When we're demoralized, we lose hope, and become inactive. When we lack a positive relationship with our government, we become disinterested in that government. If I, as a locally elected leader, do not proactively reach out to my neighbors, my neighbors may become disinterested in local government. When my neighbors become disinterested, they become less likely to pass along critical feedback and life experiences that are unlike my own. When I don't hear those experiences and feedback, we write bad policy. My goal is to serve with consistent, reliable, regular communication to you and from you. I want your feedback, your ideas, your priorities. Please reach out at any time, and let's write good policy -- together.
PS. Looking for more information? Check out this article from Madison.com.