Community conversation on restoring trust in government, April 21

The Charlevoix County Democratic Party will hold a non-partisan Community Conversation from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday April 21, in Community Rooms A and B of the Charlevoix Public Library at 220 West Clinton St. in Charlevoix.

A “Community Conversation” is a small, informal town hall meeting to gain input from Michigan’s residents.

The moderator of the Community Conversation will be Ken Winter.

Winter is past publisher of the Petoskey News-Review. He was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2011.

Winter currently teaches political science and communications at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey.

The topic of discussion will be “restoring public trust in Michigan’s state government.”

Attendees will be asked their biggest barriers to trusting state government, as well as their ideas for what it would take to improve trust. Topics will include state government services, management of the public purse, and oversight of Michigan’s political system.

Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP by April 19 to assist in planning for seating and refreshments.

To RSVP or for more information, email: or call (231) 753-8411.

The Center for Michigan is a “think-and-do” tank founded in early 2006 by former newspaper publisher and University of Michigan Regent Phil Power.

A 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, The Center’s objective is to make Michigan a better place by encouraging greater understanding and involvement in policy issues among the state’s citizens and making sure their voices are regularly heard.

The Center does this by regularly by calling forth citizen views, amplifying those views and projecting them into the halls of power.

The Center’s work can be described in only three verbs – engage, inform and achieve – which work together to make up a dynamic model of social and political change.

Leaders do respond to the results of these conversations.

The findings from previous Community Conversations provided public momentum for state leaders to: approve the nation’s largest expansion of public preschool, institute tougher certification tests for new teachers, approve deeper state investment in the “Pure Michigan” marketing campaign, improve the state’s evaluation system for teachers, reform state business taxes, institute reforms to save taxpayers $250 million in state prison costs and stop the backslide of the traditional 180 day K-12 school year.

This is The Center’s seventh round of Community Conversations.

The Center ‘s initial effort,  Michigan’s “Defining Moment Public Engagement Campaign” launched in 2007 in partnership with Public Sector Consultants, Inc. sought in-depth citizen deliberation rather than the standard telephone polls that allow brief and shallow comments to shape public policy.

The Center worked to collect and disseminate detailed non-partisan information about Michigan’s challenges and, in turn, gathered pragmatic, grass-roots ideas to build a better future.

In 2013-2014, the Center embarked upon a round of Community Conversations that asked nearly 5,000 participants statewide to identify their priorities for Michigan’s future in the lead-up to the 2014 election.

The summation of attendee discussion outlined the issues considered most urgent to our state in the following areas: the economy, education, quality of life, and public money.

In 2015 the Center led a public engagement campaign titled “Getting to Work: Opportunity and Hurdles to Prosperity in Michigan.”

Topics of discussion included career navigation for young people, college value and affordability, and challenges to upward mobility.

The public’s agenda that resulted from this campaign gave recommendations to state leaders for improving workforce development from classroom to career.

Summaries of the Community Conversations are on The Center for Michigan website. The Center also maintains the online Bridge Magazine.