“The People Have the Power: Making a Difference in Your Community” is an interactive, 90-minute workshop that informs citizens how to obtain public records and participate in local government meetings. The program is funded by the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Iowa open government road show
Written by Kathleen Richardson
“The People Have the Power: Making a Difference in Your Community” is an interactive, 90-minute workshop that will introduce you to the tools for becoming an engaged, informed citizen.
You’ll learn how to participate in local government meetings and obtain public records, and we’ll talk about your rights to free speech, petition and assembly — and the limits on those rights. You’ll receive a takeaway “tool kit for democracy” with resource materials. And we’re hoping to generate lively conversations about the rights and responsibilities that we all enjoy as members of our Iowa community.
The program, which will be held in four cities around the state, is sponsored by the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a group of journalists, librarians, attorneys, educators and other Iowans concerned about open government. The Iowa Newspaper Foundation is doing the heavy lifting to organize the workshops, but we’ve also received support from the Iowa League of Cities, Iowa State Association of Counties, Iowa Association of School Boards, Iowa Broadcasters Association, the Office of Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman and the attorney general’s office.
The program is funded by a grant from the National Freedom of Information Coalition, but the “community conversations” we will create together are uniquely Iowan. In several different ways these days, we Iowans are creating a national model for civil, civic engagement.
This project arises from a statewide poll that the Iowa FOI Council commissioned just about this time last year. We found that Iowans trust their government, but they also whole-heartedly embrace the principles of openness. As taxpayers, they want to know how government officials are spending their money. In the tension between openness and privacy, Iowans endorse more transparency and they welcome more opportunities for input into government decisions. These attitudes cross age, gender, income and political lines, and the opinions of government officials and employees and their families are no different from those of other Iowans.
The Iowa Freedom of Information Council
Sept. 6 — Dubuque, Loras College, Alumni Campus Center, Ballrooms A & C
Sept. 11 — Storm Lake, King's Pointe Waterpark and Resort, Awaysi Ballroom A
Sept.18 — Iowa City, Hotel Vetro, Plaza Room
Sept. 27 — Des Moines, Des Moines Botanical Center, Oak-Willow Room
Annual meeting of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council
Iowa Freedom of Information Council will hold its annual meeting on Oct. 12. Members of the newly created Iowa Public Information Board will be guests at the meeting.
Read more from IFOIC's newsletter (PDF/1 MB)
Iowa Freedom of Information Council is a member of NFOIC.–eds.