I went to the New Haven Register's Citizen's Agenda Project forum tonight in Milford. It wasn't a huge gathering but there was a nice mix of people there.
- Reporters and staff from the Register.
- A representative from the League of Women Voters.
- A representative from Common Cause, a nonpartisan, nonprofit lobby and advocacy organization founded in 1970 and now 400,000 members strong in 36 states.
- A very young lady (I'm thinking 9 or 10 years old) who hosts her own weekly radio show and has interviewed Governor Malloy and on down.
- State Rep, Kim Rose, from the 118th Assembly District
- Myself, representing Clearly Derby
- Several members of the public
We talked about which issues have been most popular in previous forums and from online data gathering - most on the voters' minds: the economy, unemployment, health care reform, the national debt, and the banking/financial industry.
To that we added education, how much is spent by candidates, taxes, ...
I introduced the Clearly Derby concept - bringing local government to the people - and everyone seemed interested in this. This turned out to be a good segue into the discussion of how to get greater voter participation. Here are some of our thoughts:
- everyone is too busy to follow what's going on
- the people have lost their confidence in government so they don't want "to play"
- voters won't participate unless they see solutions they can believe in
- we need to break things down (issues and candidate info) for greater transparency
- and my personal favorite ... let's put the polling places in WalMarts and give out 10% off coupons for first time voters! Why not?!?