Since forging a partnership with Colorado’s Future to support the “Build a Better Colorado” Civic Engagement Project and realize a more prosperous form of direct democracy,the Institute has traveled across Colorado working with more than 700 “grass top” leaders from six Colorado communities. All 700-plus individuals participated in the deliberations on the Colorado initiative process and processes for amending the Colorado constitution. So far, the Institute’s work in Greeley, Granby and Steamboat has helped build a new relationship between legislators, civic leaders and citizens who care about sustainable policy and the democratic process. Hopefully those relationships will continue to grow over the next several months as another nine communities participate in this process and continue to work on several of the legislative bills or referred measures that are now being developed. With a focus on dialogue and representatives concerned for the vitality of life in Colorado, the Institute and Colorado’s Future have worked to identify solutions concerning state-wide fiscal matters as well as the establishment of support networks that can be relied upon in times of legislative change. These meetings, and others in Pueblo, Grand Junction and Lakewood, have all been highly successful, bringing in hundreds of participants and creating new diplomatic channels while simultaneously establishing a democratic presence with emphasis on participation. By using community models that focus on positive problem solving, the Civic Engagement Project hopes to build trust and respect within communities, and thus realize a more colorful Colorado while never underestimating the power of citizen initiatives.
Visit the project’s website at coloradosfuture.org for more information.