The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and the National Conference on Citizenship recently released the Texas Civic Health Index, the first-ever nonpartisan, state-wide evaluation of political and community engagement in Texas. The study found that Texans may be living with an undiagnosed crisis of civic health.
In 2010, Texas ranked: 51st in voter turnout among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.; 49th in the number of citizens who contacted public officials; and 44th in the number of people who discuss politics.
Like human bodies, societies can survive with less than optimal health, but sooner or later, the costs of poor civic health will be felt - in decreased government accountability and increased citizen disaffection. The inaugural Texas Conference on Civic Life brought together 200 citizens from around the state and across partisan aisles to discuss the future of civic engagement.
Together, we put our crisis in context with the help of nationally renowned experts and scholars and learned from other concerned citizens the innovative methods and tools they use to engage, activate, and inspire.