It’s time for your voice to be heard.
For many years voices on the far right and far left have dominated the conversation around policymaking in Utah. Studies, such as this one from the Utah Foundation, show that there is a large moderate majority in Utah that is either entirely unrepresented or at the very least underrepresented by our delegates and often by the elected officials they nominate.
That means that a majority of Utahns have lost their voice in the policymaking that impacts their lives, leaving them to feel helpless to do anything and hopeless that their voices will be heard.
However, there is enormous opportunity for ordinary Utahns to have sway in the policymaking around them. Last week we talked about 5 of the best ways to make an impact. This week let’s look at some of the best opportunities for civic engagement and zero in on what YOU can do to get more involved.
Action Utah is dedicated to helping ordinary people like you and me become more civically engaged — no matter what political party you are from, no matter if you can commit a little time or a lot — because:
- Civic engagement is EASY
- Civic engagement MAKES A DIFFERENCE
- There are many UNTAPPED OPPORTUNITIES in civic engagement in Utah
How can you get more involved? Keep reading below.
Tues, June 27th, 7:00-8:30p – UACT Member Meetup: “Allyship as a verb“. Live streamed and in-person at Salt Lake Public Library’s Marmalade Branch. Join UACT’s Diversity Team for this new workshop to transform our desire to be an ally into action that can make a difference.
Get Involved with Action Utah
1. Untapping the Opportunities
Community members have long been involved in community lobbying in Utah, but usually around specific issues or rallied by partisan groups. All community lobbying is great and much needed! Action Utah is building on what other groups are already doing and taking a new approach by bringing vetted information and easy actions to ordinary people across multiple issues in a nonpartisan way. Why? This is where we see the biggest untapped opportunities to make a difference. What are they?
- Removing barriers to entry – community members say that the biggest barriers keeping them from being more civically engaged are not knowing what is going on or what to do about it. Action Utah solves both issues by educating community members about community lobbying, providing accessible and vetted information on the issues and offering easy actions anyone can take to impact them.
- Inspiring the moderate majority – long have moderates on both sides of the aisle been absent from the political conversation, whether because of apathy, exclusion or accident. The result is that many moderates have become uninformed and unengaged. But these people represent the beliefs and needs of he majority of Utahns. Educating and mobilizing moderates is a great way to have more inclusive conversations, which lead to policy that better serves more people in Utah.
- Amplifying voices in unexpected and targeted districts – Many of our state legislators (and often our city and county councils) aren’t used to constituents weighing in on the issues. Even a small amount of community feedback in those districts, particularly on certain issues, can make a big impression. Action Utah is connecting with these communities to help them have a voice and to show them that their voice is actually more needed and more powerful in most cases than louder voices in expected places. I’m talking to you rural Utah, Kearns, Vernal, Pleasant Grove, Cedar City, Brigham City, Layton, Riverdale, St. George, Spanish Fork, and many, many more places.
- Building bridges – Angry about policy decisions? Barnstorming is one way to make a splash. But it’s not the only way. Our experience shows us that working across aisles, finding common ground and shifting the way we talk about issues allows more people to come together to make better policy. In truth, when we remove partisan rhetoric most people in Utah (and across the US, for that matter) agree on most issues.
- Getting YOU involved – Whether you are interested in running as a candidate, becoming a party delegate or simply registering to vote and voting, Action Utah provides nonpartisan information on the resources you need and the steps you can take to get involved. Why? Because some political candidates in Utah run entirely unopposed. Because women are an extreme minority in political representation. Because delegates on both sides can make better decisions for their parties with a little education. And because Utah has historically had extremely low voter turnouts. These are all big opportunities to impact policymaking in Utah.
2. Living room conversations
This summer, Acton Utah volunteers are traveling around the state to meet with small groups of community members interested in learning more about civic engagement and how to impact policymaking in their areas and across the state. Want to find out more about what we’re doing and how you can be most effective in your civic engagement? We want to come talk with you! We visit neighborhood action groups, community councils, PTAs, religious groups, professional groups and simple gatherings of friends. Do you know other people who may be interested in hearing from us? Introduce us to your friends! Sign up to host a living room conversation or contact us for more information here.
3. What else you can do:
- Become a member – If you haven’t already, sign up here to become an Action Utah member. Takes two seconds, and we promise not to bug you much. You will receive weekly action lists delivered right to your inbox and notices about opportunities for civic engagement.
- Sign up a friend – Think of five people you know who are feeling underrepresented, hopeless, anxious or simply interested and curious to learn more about community lobbying. Now forward this email to them and recommend they join us too.
- Join a subcommittee – Action Utah is currently working on initiatives in public health, families and communities, environmental stewardship and government policy in order to find and provide opportunities for ordinary people to get involved. Subcommittee volunteers can work under our Issue Captains to help advance these initiatives and create actions for our larger membership to take to move them forward. Find out more and apply here.
- Make a civic engagement plan – Whether it is 5 minutes a day or 5 minutes a week, plan a regular time to be civically engaged on a regular basis so that engagement becomes a normal part of your routine. Plan ahead for exceptional times when you want to do more — like attending an Interim Committee meeting during the next Interim Session on August 23rd.
- Sign up to meet with your legislator – Action Utah is preparing tool kits for community members who want to meet in teams of 2-3 constituents with their state legislators to discuss issues that matter to them most. Want to have a conversation with your state senator or representative about health care, air quality, education, etc? Sign up here.
- Stay tuned for big changes – We are working hard to improve the way we communicate with you and to make your experience with Action Utah even better through better systems and technology. But all of that takes time and money. We appreciate your patience and continued support.
- Donate if you can – Doing our best for you can be expensive. We operate on a shoestring budget with a team of committed and generous volunteers. But there are some costs we can’t avoid. We are bringing on new tools to lift up your voices and make a bigger impact than ever before. We greatly appreciate any contribution you can make to help us achieve great things. Donate here.
We’re in this together
No matter what your party affiliation or political leanings may be, at the end of the day we are all Utahns hoping to protect what matters to us most and improve our communities. The more we can work together, the better off we will be in policy and in our daily lives. At Action Utah we welcome members from both sides of the aisle and everywhere in between. We offer you actions you can take to advance moderate positions that most people can agree on. By raising our voices together we can continue to achieve great things here in Utah leading up to the 2018 State Legislative Session and well beyond. Thank you for taking this journey with us.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah