Seeing the CIR in the larger context of democratic reform
With Hollie Russon-Gilman, a colleague at the New America Foundation, John Gastil wrote an essay for the Washington Post online on February 19, 2016 entitled, “These civic experiments are getting citizens more involved in governing themselves.” In the essay, the authors argue that bringing the public back into the business of government can yield not only better public policy but also, potentially, more public confidence in government itself.
…Processes like the Citizens’ Initiative Review and participatory budgeting could prove particularly valuable for millennials, who volunteer at a higher rate than other generations, engage in consumer activism and are spearheading civic uses of social media. A majority of this generation believe government has the potential to be a positive force in solving societal problems, and the 2008 election inspired many to become politically engaged. This may be a way to help mature that initial enthusiasm.
A public event at the New America Foundation followed on February 25, under the title, “Rebuilding the Public’s Trust Begins with Trusting the Public.” In the event, moderated by New America’s Political Reform Program Director, Mark Schmitt, Gastil’s research on the CIR was juxtaposed with comments by Hollie Russon-Gilman on participatory budgeting and Carolyn Lukensmeyer on deliberation and public engagement. A full video of the event is available at the New America website.