Citizens League supporters and friends:
Hello! It’s an honor and privilege to serve as the new Executive Director of the Citizens League – and as I wrap up my first week on the job, I’m feeling deeply inspired by the opportunities that lie ahead.
First, I want to take a moment to thank my predecessor Kate Cimino for her leadership, and the talented staff and dedicated Board of the Citizens League for the opportunity to lead this one-of-a-kind organization. I’m humbled and grateful, and I look forward to upholding your trust as we continue the League’s nonpartisan legacy of civic engagement and advancing public policy solutions by engaging and listening to the people most impacted by those decisions. And in the spirit, I hope to see many of you at our Annual Community Gathering next week! (see more details below)
At the risk of sounding cliché, the League’s work is essential now more than ever, when we find ourselves in a deeply polarized and divisive political environment. Public trust in government is near historic lows, and sadly “while most Americans agree on the core principle underlying American democracy, they no longer recognize that the other side also holds those values.” (Associated Press)
We have so much work to do to rebuild trust in our communities and across political differences. That work will be challenging and take time, but there is no organization more prepared for it than the Citizens League. Building on our history – with your support and an eye to innovation and growth – the League will continue to lead our state down a different and more hopeful path, challenging forces of division that stymie progress and civility.
A paradox of our time is that we’re more connected to each other than ever before, yet we increasingly distrust our neighbors and our country suffers from an epidemic of loneliness and isolation according to the U.S. Surgeon General (and that was even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which only exacerbated the problem).
From social media feeds at our fingertips to a 24/7 news cycle that is often sensationalized, we’re constantly bombarded with information, and it is easy to curate comfortable political bubbles around our lives where we only hear from people and sources that confirm our own biases. But in a state and nation as diverse as ours, that sort of insular thinking can be detrimental to the common good – and to serve its people best, a healthy and effective government must be challenged with comprehensive information from a diversity of sources, experiences and perspectives.
And that’s exactly where the Citizens League comes in: from our earliest days more than 70 years ago, we have been fiercely committed to fostering nonpartisan, civil, and fact-based dialogue and leaning in to the challenging and necessary conversations. Our work today rightly looks different than it did in 1952, but the goal remains the same: Make Minnesota the best place to live and work by empowering people from all backgrounds, parties and ideologies to directly engage with their government and be active in the policymaking process.
Whether you’re a long-time friend of the League or newer to our work, I’m so thankful you’re here – and I hope you’ll join us next week for our Annual Community Gathering!
It’s a free event open to everyone:
Citizens League Annual Community Gathering
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
4 – 6pm
165 Western Ave N., St. Paul
More details here; please RSVP by this Friday, September 22:
P.S. If you can’t make it to our Annual Gathering – or would just like to chat more about the League’s work – I’d love to grab a cup of coffee and talk more! Let me know by filling out this form and I’ll be in touch soon. I look forward to hearing from you!