Civic Leadership for Arizona’s Future was the topic of this year’s Town Hall meeting held on March 7 at the Douglas Country Club.
Arizona Town Hall President Tara Jackson and formal Sierra Vista Mayor Bob Strain held a presentation and action focused discussion on recommendations for civic leadership in Douglas.
The three main components those in attendances felt would increase civic leadership in the community were educational institutions, businesses, and elective leaders/government.
One suggestion was to improve civic leadership in Douglas; there needs to be a way to increase outreach to the high school and better engage the students.
Another method for accomplishing this might be to approach the parent organizations to help bridge the gap and encourage students to become more engaged in civic leadership.
Civic leadership can also be accomplished through business partnerships by recognizing business who encourages their employees to be civic leaders.
Continuing to support efforts that have worked in Douglas to encourage and build both civic engagement and civic leadership.
The audience also felt that it is important to locate funding for civic leadership programs, perhaps through partnerships with economic groups. A strong economic development and chamber of commerce initiative would help better develop civic leadership in our community.
Several in attendance expressed that when someone runs for public office in a small town, they often lose the ability to have a personal life and they must deal with the negative stigma that can come with holding public office.
Many factors can prevent people from choosing to run for office and it is necessary to counter these negative influences by better supporting such efforts.
One method to overcome these negative influences would be to have school programs that bring students and elected leaders in the community together.
Another suggestion was to educating the public and youth on how to run for office and what it takes to be a respectable civic leader by providing them with materials from groups like the Flinn Foundation.
All of these factors would help remove barriers to those who may want to run for office but who do not have the knowledge of how to do so.
Strong civic leadership can create a ripple effect that impacts us as individuals, in our local communities, and ultimately statewide in a positive manner, Jackson said.