Democracy Forum 6/21/19: Town Meeting- “Doing Democracy” in Your Town

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

We talk about practicing politics and democracy at the most personal level, in local government, and the unusual experience we enjoy in the form of the New England town meeting.
Does the town meeting still work? Is participation up or down? Is partisanship creeping in? Is money “from away” taking more of an interest? If you’ve never been, what do you need to know?

Susan Clark, is coauthor of Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home. She serves as Town Moderator of Middlesex, Vermont.

Susan Lessard, Town Manager for Bucksport. She’s worked town government in Maine for over twenty years in a diverse array of communities, some with and some without a town meeting form of government.

Dick Thompson, an experienced moderator for the Towns of Palermo, China, Vassalboro, and others, Dick conducts moderator training for the Maine Municipal Association.

To learn more about this topic:
Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home, Susan Clark and Woden Teachout, 2012.
Managing Town Hall meetings so that everyone benefits (and relatively few are miserable), Della Rucker in Creating a Wise Economy, May, 2015.
Citizen’s Guide to Town Meeting, Maine Municipal Association.
For the People, by the People: What I saw when I participated in one of the truest forms of democracy, Amy Crawford in Slate May, 2013.
Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore: As participation in civic life has dwindled, so has public faith in the country’s system of government, Yoni Applebaum in The Atlantic October, 2018.
More citizen education from the Maine Municipal Association here.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: