Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC President's Agenda: Civic Participation Is Focus for '97

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC President's Agenda: Civic Participation Is Focus for '97

Article excerpt

NLC President Mark Schwartz is calling on elected officials across the country to strengthen our local democracies this year and create new partnerships between citizens and government -- "partnerships that are based on civility and responsibility."

The 1997 President's Agenda, "Connecting Citizens and Their Government," will build on the 1996 Futures Report which reflected the results of the Advisory Council's year-long study of democracy and civic participation. The agenda is one of three leadership priorities established earlier this year by the NLC Officers focusing, in part, on preparing the nation's cities and NLC for the 21st century.

In a report to all NLC members which was distributed during the 1997 Congressional City Conference, Schwartz said: "My interest in civility as a national priority emerged from the tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 -- an event that shocked the world and tore at the very fabric of day-to-day life in my community and throughout the nation. We have rebounded in Oklahoma City, due to both the strength of our community and the outpouring of love and support from individual and organizations throughout the world."

Schwartz said that tragedy raised questions about civility and responsibility in our country and the important role local officials can play in bridging the sometimes wide gap between government roles and citizen expectations.

"As the leaders of our nation's cities and towns, we must rethink what government does, how government carries out its responsibilities, and how we, as elected leaders, create an environment of trust, civility, and responsibility in our local democracies," Schwartz said. …

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