In conjunction with the Rebooting Democracy conference happening this week in Portland, The Bus Project Foundation, which promotes democracy and civic engagement in Oregon, is asking the public to weigh in on how to a build a strong economy and strong communities throughout the state. There are six ideas for “doing democracy right” listed on GOOD Maker, and until today at noon PST you can vote to determine which three will be presented to the participants at the conference as solutions. This is your chance to influence change in Oregon and change for our democratic system.
GOOD spoke with Noah Manger, special projects director at The Bus Project Foundation, to find out more about the organization and potential for the challenge and conference.
GOOD: What are you trying to achieve at the Rebooting Democracy conference?
NOAH MANGER: We have three goals with Rebooting Democracy this year:
1. Bring new people into the process: We've gone to great lengths to transform what has been a traditional policy conference into a city-wide cultural event. There's still the nuts-and-bolts wonkiness in there, but we've added films, comedy, tours and more to draw in a wider variety of voices than ever before.
2. Build a stronger movement: Rebooting Democracy is a big tent event. We draw everyone from the Governor's leading policy advisors to film-makers, community activists, designers and coders, 16 year-old volunteers and young professionals just getting their start in democracy. There's no other event out there that draws all these different voices together to build capacity for meeting the needs of the public.
3. Chart a course forward: The attendees at Rebooting Democracy and voters in the GOOD Maker Challenge will help determine which policies the Bus will organize for in the current biennium. Furthermore, by having frank and imaginative conversations about our biggest challenges—things like building a 21st century economy, creating a truly equitable society and transforming our democracy—with all the right voices we will spark innovations and ideas that we can't even predict.
GOOD: What are you most excited about?
MANGER: We have two incredible keynote speakers on Saturday in Tom Perriello and Erica Williams; we're hosting a hackathon with Code for America to break ground on a brand new civic app; we've got over 30 different workshops on policy and social innovation with leaders from Oregon and around the country; we're having an awesome dance party on Saturday night with an internationally-touring DJ and local nine-piece disco group; and we're calling on the wisdom of the masses to help decide which policy the Bus should advocate for over the next two years.
GOOD: Why did you want to open up the Policy Contest to a public, online vote this year?
MANGER: We believe in democracy. We think the more people participating, the better we all benefit. Partnering with GOOD Maker makes so much sense, both to harness the wisdom of crowds as well as to expose these six policies to a wider audience than ever before.
GOOD: Do you have any advice for voters as they read through the six policy ideas and try to decide what to vote for?
MANGER: All of the policies are truly inspiring. They're innovative, they're thoughtful, they're strategic and they will do real good for everyday Oregonians.
GOOD: What do you hope the Bus Project Foundation achieves in the coming year?
MANGER: All eyes are on the youth vote this year to see if we actually show up to the polls again. And I'm confident we will, but it's going to take a lot of work. I hope the Bus Project both delivers a strong, positive message about civic involvement and that we execute the largest youth-driven field effort we've ever done. Keep an eye out for your local Trick or Vote event this Halloween to help us scare out the vote.
Want to learn more about GOOD Maker? Drop us a line at maker[at]goodinc[dot]com or sign up for our email list. Visit maker.good.is to participate in a current challenge.