This article originally appeared on KPCW.org. Read it in its entirety here.
On Thursday, Action Utah is holding a public forum for community members to meet their state legislators. The organization was created in 2016 to facilitate political and social dialogue with the hope of healing some of the divide created by the presidential election.
All five of Park City’s state legislators have agreed to join in the forum. Co-founder of Action Utah and Park City resident Andrea Himoff says after the 2016 election, she perceived that a lot of people wanted to get involved in issues that affect their lives.
“We really believed that civic engagement was one of the most important things that people could do to come together and heal hyper-partisanship and balance out extremist voices. And create a better alignment between elected officials and constituents in order to tackle the big problems that we’re facing. We founded this organization and now have 6000 members around the state. And we work on educating community members, teaching them advocacy skills, creating leadership development programs and advocacy opportunities on the top issues in Utah.”
Himoff says they use data to determine which issues Utahns care most about.
“They can run across the gambit from public health issues, families and communities, environmental stewardship and government issues. Some of our top ones are health care, K through 12 education and air quality.”
Himoff says the organization will take a stand on issues that are commonly supported, such as improving air quality around the state.
“We do when there is a clear majority of Utahns who are interested in a subject matter. So, for instance, those are the top three issues in Utah that I just mentioned. People around the state really want to see clean air. And it’s pretty simple. There’s data to support exactly what they want. They do want some government assistance to help them change their behaviors and take some personal responsibility to help them clean up the air.”
They hold events throughout the state and provide live streaming on Facebook whenever possible. There are no membership dues and they try to avoid charging for events. They mostly run off donations and grants.
Himoff believes in order to cultivate engagement, it’s important to get to know your representatives and have conversations with them. The event on Thursday is an opportunity to meet the elected officials who represent Summit County. Senators Ron Winterton and Alan Christiansen and Representatives, Tim Quinn, Brian King, and Logan Wilde will be at the event.
“I work with a lot of these legislators across the isle and they’re really great people and I think it would be great for our community to get to know them better.”
Himoff will host the panel discussion and the audience will have a chance to ask questions.
The forum is Thursday, September 12 from 6 to 7:30 at the Park City Library on the 3rd floor. They would like an RSVP so they know how many people to expect but it will be live-streamed on the Action Utah Facebook page.