Getting candidates to commit to public engagement

Getting candidates to commit to public engagement

Jill Miller Zimon
on Jan 11, 2013

Voters are in charge and should take charge. If we want our candidates to engage with them, then let's tell them that by asking for their commitment to do so. Will you ask? What responses do you want? And how will you act once you get the response?

http://theciviccommons.com/blog/fear-of-commitment


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Anonymous
on 2014-10-25T08:44:30+00:00
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Jill Miller Zimon
on Jan 11, 2013
"Jim, First, I hope you don't mind that I edited your comment to include a link to the League so..."
"Jill, Excellent topic, and excellent timing. There was an article yesterday about the demands..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Jan 11, 2013
"Our community has risen to the occasion when it comes to notable subjects (corruption,..."

Jill Miller Zimon

Jill Miller Zimon - 2014-10-25T08:44:30+00:00 - "Voters are in charge and should take charge. If we want our candidates to engage with them, then..."

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Jill Miller Zimon
on Jan 11, 2013 - 9:26 am

Our community has risen to the occasion when it comes to notable subjects (corruption, regionalism) and put the relevant questions directly to people running for office. Are you willing to do that in regard to public engagement? How will you do it? What do you want to hear and how will you act and react once you get the responses?

 

Responses(2)

Jill,

Excellent topic, and excellent timing.

There was an article yesterday about the demands on our new County Council members in terms of e-mails, constituent requests, and public meetings.  From the numbers, they are doing a very good job of attending local meetings, but we are not doing a very good job of letting them know of our needs (100 e-mails in a month is not a lot).  You are right, then, to challenge the public to get involved.  That is the only way to prevent the sort of corruption that we've faced for the last several years.  While the prosecutors and journalists claim, and deserve, a lot of credit, the work of turning out the corrupt politicians and others began when people began to speak out. 

With The Citizens League, we have formed a vehicle for citizen engagement.  We have some great programming.  Foremost is our Candidates Program, which interviews and rates candidates for county office.  We handled the first race for County Executive in 2010, the first real race for County Prosecutor last year, and the first contest between an incumbent and a challenger for County Council last year as well. Our members are the most educated voters in the County once our process concludes, and we share that information in a number of ways in order to educate all other voters. 

We continue to focus on the County (but there are other groups looking at those local races).  As such, we will monitor the County Charter Review Commission and its proposals this year.  Other programs involve coordinating the efforts of local good government groups and monitoring the County Government and intervening/advocating where needed.  We are also launching a concerted membership drive.  So, for those who read the post and want to take what they learn on The Civic Commons and elsewhere and put it into action, please feel free to get in touch.

Jim Dixon

Chair, Executive Committee

The Citizens League of Greater Cleveland

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Jan 11, 2013

Jim,

First, I hope you don't mind that I edited your comment to include a link to the League so people can go check it out.

And, please let me thank you for the work you're doing and spearheading. The online prosecutors' debate here at the Civic Commons is one of my favorite examples of political candidates seeing by doing that engagement and online engagement in particular does not have to be scary or negative. I know the Citizens League was a big part of getting that accomplished.

What would you say are the key two or three pieces of information that most help citizens to approach the table, so to speak? And for those who do already approach candidates, what tips do you offer them in terms of how to get candidates to relax, trust and be more open generally to genuine engagement?

(And if it sounds like that's asking a lot of citizens and candidates, well, it is only the second week of the new year!).

 
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