Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes stopped in Murray today in an effort to gather public opinion about ways to improve the civic health of the state after finishing the Kentucky Civic Health Index earlier this year. The civic health index identifies strengths and weaknesses in the overall public participation and civic literacy.
Education, political and non-profit leaders discussed volunteerism, political action and ways to promote service learning in education. Grimes says the round table discussion provides her staff with new ideas that could be implemented across the state to strengthen communities and the commonwealth as a whole.
“That’s what today is about. It’s about figuring out how we can generate excitement around the civic health of Kentucky,” she says.
Retired state senator Ken Winters says education is the biggest key to boosting Kentucky’s civic health. Winters says to boost community engagement the first focus should be keeping students in school.
“They have not been engaged. They have not found their niche. They haven’t had a fire built inside them toward a certain direction,” Winters says. “An Engineer or a businessman coming to talk to them sometimes builds that fire. Then they move out and they do things to get themselves involved in local community activities and industrial settings and business settings.”
Grimes is heading up the round table discussions, making 15 trips across the state to seek public opinion on how to engage more Kentuckians toward volunteerism and promote a higher voter turnout. Her office’s report on civic health called the Kentucky Civic Index can be found here.