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Making Room for Citizens at the Public Policy Table

Author: SUSAN REUTHER, TAM ST. CLAIRE, and JULIA COFFMAN
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 24 No. 4

Citizen engagement is a critical factor in determining whether devo-
lution, which shifts responsibility for decision-making from the federal
to state and local levels, is a success. Devolved policies and decisions
will be more effective when the community members they affect are
involved in making them. This article presents six lessons from a
citizen-focused project conducted in two communities over two years
on what it takes to get and keep citizens involved in the policy process.
This project showed that, when applied, these lessons will inspire
community members to get involved, create the relationships needed to
sustain their involvement over time, and build their capacity to
understand and problem solve around complex policy issues.

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