TICO Presents: Local Government Revitalization
Local Government Revitalization (LGR) Training for a Post-Pandemic Style of Civic Engagement
Summary of Program:
The people best equipped to run local government are community members themselves.
According to the Manhattan Institute, “nearly three-quarters of Americans trust their local governments. And Congress? Just 40 percent trust our country’s legislative branch — the lowest of all major institutions in this country.” So why don’t we have more programs and accessible opportunities for people at the local level? For this reason, The Institute for Civic Organizing is launching the Local Government Revitalization Program in order to have constituents engage with their local governments to create systemic change.
The failure of the national government to act quickly and appropriately in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic has shown us how out of touch our national government institutions and leaders are with the people they serve. During this time, local governments have been given the burden of protecting their communities, whether this be through community food drives, the creation of contact tracing units and local testing sites, curfew, social distancing protocol, and more. However, government failure and disengagement with public interest is not a phenomena confined to COVID–19, nor is the distrust in the federal government and renewed faith in local government.
Thus, now more than ever, it has become clear that the people best equipped to run local government are community members themselves and civic organizing is an effective way to work towards that. There are many avenues towards civic organizing, including running for local office and leading community projects, that might be the opportunity for you to shape your local government.
Summary of Projects within the Program:
The Institute for Civic Organizing Handbook for Local Civic Organizing
The Handbook for Local Civic Organizing is a guide that offers ways for people to understand the structure of local government, how to get involved and help develop key research skills to manageably address an issue within your local government. We aim to be an accessible resource to help you create ideas for change within your local government. The recommendations in this handbook are the synthesis of interviews with experts in communications, politics, academia, and law, as well as innovative research related to revitalizing local government. These are baseline recommendations, not a guaranteed way to win local office or to have a project be successfully implemented.
After introducing the reasoning behind this work and the contributors that made it happen, the guide will move into an introduction of testimonies by those who have been successful in organizing and running for office at the local level. It will then move into details about what exactly is local government and how to interact with the systems in place. There will then be an overview and explanation of voting ethics, rights, and registration across the United States, before launching into a break-down on running for local office. This work all leads to a section on how to fully utilize your position to make the most change in your community. This handbook is an all comprehensive guide into how to run for local office but also how to interact with local government structures to implement a project or program. The guide blends theory with practice, creating a strategy for post-pandemic local political activism and civic engagement. By the end of the guide, we hope that you will have the tools to create a viable, completing, scalable and actionable campaign to address the challenge in your community.
LGR Triple R Training Course in registering for, running, and revolutionizing local office
As a compliment to our Handbook for Local Civic Organizing, The Institute for Civic Organizing is creating a free, publicly accessible Register, Run, Revolutionize “Triple R” Training course as part of our Program, targeted towards vulnerable communities that could benefit most from running for local office—primarily young people. This course seeks to break down the Handbook for Local Civic Organizing into an easily digestible applied organizing course, taught in 3 hour-long sessions that are modeled off of corresponding sections from the guide. The course helps you take your idea, identify the best office to make the impact you want, connects you to others taking the course, and launches you into running for office. The Institute for Civic Organizing featuring your campaign on our website as an alumnus of the program, allowing you to connect with other alumni.
Mapping Research and Impact Analysis
TICO's research division aims to analyze the impact of our Local Government Revitalization Program to fully understand which aspects of the Program have the largest potential to create lasting change. We are forming an interactive, virtual map displayed within the handbook. The map will include Triple R Training participants’ community projects, and participants running for local office. This map will be coupled with information from various counties and can be used as reference points for anyone interested in starting the course. This interactive map will give people from various communities the opportunity to support and connect with colleagues to form a Local Government Revitalization community. This interactive online community will allow for the creation of a Local Government Revitalization Alumni Network, which would connect those who have completed the program to others who are interested and/or newly engaged in local government. We hope that this work will maximize those who benefit from the initiative, specifically students from vulnerable communities, while also creating a space for interdisciplinary civic organizing work. We aim to incorporate technical expertise that could support the Program through implementing a system to access it publicly, in order to allow full participation from disadvantaged participants who do not own their own computer.
The Local Government Revitalization Training program combines two formats. The first format, as previously stated, is a free, publicly accessible course that is both interactive and participatory. This course serves as a complement to our main product, The handbook for Local Civic Organizing that will be partially available online. To view the entirety of the playbook, individuals will have to fill out a google sheet with a suggested donation link in order to join the Local Government Revitalization community. These funds will aid in the day to day operations of TICO and the creation of other innovative and exciting products.
How to Get Involved:
Sign up to be notified when The Handbook for Local Civic Organizing and Triple R Training Course are released.