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Millions of Voices: A Blueprint for Engaging the American Public in National Policy-Making

In 2002, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced legislation that called for a national conversation on health care reform. The following spring and summer, AmericaSpeaks convened more than a dozen leaders in the field of citizen engagement to develop a strategy for making it happen: to figure out how to involve more than a million Americans in deliberations that would identify shared priorities for reforming the nation’s troubled health care system – or any other matter of pressing national importance.

Published in 2004, the Millions of Voices booklet is an articulation of the plan that emerged. The strategies described represent some of the best collaborative thinking in the citizen engagement field, and offer a blueprint for holding National Discussions on issues of great importance to us all. This blueprint is based on the premise that in order to reinvigorate American democratic institutions and engage citizens in the nation’s policy-making, we will need new structures and processes. Put into action, this plan will transform not only how we think about democracy, but how we experience it.

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