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We Have a Voice: Engaging Citizens in Issues that Impact Our Lives

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

American voters have lost confidence in the ability of our political leaders to solve the most serious of problems: a staggering deficit, the need for jobs, a broken tax system. They feel frustrated, worried, angry and ashamed by the way our elected officials act. They blame a lack of respectful dialogue in the political system and politicians’ unwillingness to engage across party lines for the Confidence Crisis in which we find ourselves.

In 1995, Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Founder and first President of AmericaSpeaks, created a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.  with a mission to reinvigorate American Democracy by engaging citizens in public decision-making and helping provide them with a real voice in our nation’s governance. For over 15 years, AmericaSpeaks has convened large-scale initiatives to engage citizens and leaders on some of the most difficult and important policy issues. Their work has demonstrated that average citizens have the ability to understand complex policy issues, make reasonable judgments about how to resolve them and commit to supporting the solution.   AmericaSpeaks works not only in the United States, but throughout the world. The international arm of the organization is called Global Voices and it has brought the AmericaSpeaks model to countries around the world.

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