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"Strengthening our Nation’s Democracy" Gathering Addresses a New Democracy Agenda

A diverse group of 50 advocates, scholars and philanthropists – including many NCDD members – met in Washington, D.C. in late July to develop a democratic engagement agenda for the next administration. Sponsored by Demos, Everyday Democracy and AmericaSpeaks, the conference was unique in bridging the gap that commonly separates the electoral reform, deliberative democracy and community development worlds.

Participants set three primary goals for themselves:

  1. Strengthen the democracy movement by identifying shared goals and values across the fields of electoral reform, deliberative democracy and community development
  2. Articulate a list of recommendations that the next administration can pursue to strengthen our democracy, as well as a set of actions that we can each take to advance the movement for stronger democracy
  3. Develop a strategy to advance the agenda that emerges from the conversation

Final recommendations, now being refined, will be released by October 1. They will call for the establishment of a White House Office of Participation and an executive-level commitment to greater participation; convening a national discussion to provide citizens with a voice in the policymaking process and build capacity for greater participation at all levels of government; and adoption of policy reforms for increasing local participation in public life. Specific action items will include passage of laws that make voting easier, public financing of state and federal elections, and elimination of obstacles preventing federal agencies from using higher quality public participation practices. See Strengthening Democracy doc for more details.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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