The Citizens Campaign announced at a press conference at the New Jersey State House the launch of The Civic Challenge—a campaign to move our communities, our state and eventually, the nation, onto the powerful path of pragmatic problem solving, getting us out of the rut of rigid ideology and blame game politics.
As part of the Civic Challenge, all New Jerseyans will be urged to make a Civic Pledge “to leave one’s community better than they found it by pursuing pragmatic solutions” that are: (1) cost effective (2) based on evidence of success and (3) advanced in a no-blame manner.
Citizens who take the pledge are asked to spread the pledge by asking their friends, neighbors and social media contacts to join them. They are also invited to activate their pledge by: (1) becoming a proponent or teacher of Solutions-focused Civics Classes in high schools and adult venues; (2) becoming a Solutions Newsgatherer to introduce evidence-based solutions into news stories on local government issues; or (3) becoming a Civic Trustee, committing to at least one year of service working with like-minded citizens in monthly no blame, problem-solving sessions of local Civic Trusts.
People who activate their pledge will be supported by a combination of online trainings, do-it-yourself guides, and a “dream team” of volunteer experts in government law, administration, media, and the political strategies of policy implementation. Among the most powerful tools available to Civic Challenge participants is a Menu of evidenced-based local solutions and a Guide to No Blame Problem-Solving.
Harry Pozycki, Chair of The Citizens Campaign, said, “Today, our politics and government are gridlocked by partisan polarization, rigid ideology and the ever present blame game, leaving pressing challenges unaddressed. Making progress on our biggest problems requires putting pragmatic problem solving front and center. That can only happen from the bottom-up by citizens working together to improve their communities and creating the foundation for a more pragmatic, solutions-focused approach to governing at all levels of government."
Pozycki continued, “Our goal is nothing less than the creation of a new kind of solution-focused civic activism. To see how important this is you don’t need to look any further than this dispiriting Presidential election, which is shaping up as the most negative in history.”
The Civic Challenge seizes on the opportunities for a more powerful role for citizens created by greater access to government records detailing current policies, including staffing and costs, and the technological ability to search for solutions with evidence of success. Citizens Campaign leaders noted that up until recently, this kind of information, which gives regular citizens the potential to play an active policy-generating role, was the exclusive province of elected officials or well-funded special interest groups. The Civic Challenge Campaign also aims to take advantage of the ease with which citizens can now share information with their neighbors, friends and online acquaintances through social media and the relatively new citizen right to initiate discussion and adoption of solutions at local government meetings,
The initial goal is to get 10,000 New Jerseyans to take the Civic Pledge and for a substantial percentage of pledge-takers to activate their pledge. The Citizens Campaign brings a proven track record of facilitating citizens to advance solutions on the local, county and state level to the task. The Civic Challenge incorporates the lessons learned over the past 15 years.
The Citizens Campaign is a community of problem solvers dedicated to empowering citizens with an evidence-based, no-blame approach to getting results without waiting for the political establishment.