In late 2010 and early 2011, the Citizens League and TakeAction Minnesota, in partnership with the Bush Foundation, conducted workshops throughout Minnesota to ask citizens what values and priorities should guide solutions to state budget challenges for the long run. Those conversations revealed that participants wanted citizens involved in reform proposals as a method of overcoming barriers to reform. Participants reasoned that involving citizens would improve Minnesotans’ understanding of the need for change and give citizens more confidence in approaches to reform that are recommended.
To restore the public’s faith in government and engage citizens in solving challenges, state and local governments should:
Beyond engagement, however, restoring faith in government also requires that political leaders and civil servants show citizens that they can collaborate in a culture of mutual trust and respect. Without this, there will be little reason to believe that citizen engagement will be meaningful. Success will depend on a network of relationships built on trust and respect, relationships that have been developed over time and through close interaction. These networks can be built through both informal approaches (such as active use of the communities-of-practice model) and more formal approaches (such as building on the model of the current House Redesign Caucus or re-establishing the former Advisory Council on State-Local Relations.)