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Volume 17, Issue 1
January 2019


Civic involvement and the Forum
by Rob Solomon, President, Washington County Public Affairs Forum

rob solomon
Solomon moderates WCPAF meetings each week at Coyote’s in Hillsboro.

Civic education and civic involvement are two of the most important and effective ways to ensure our good but imperfect system functions as well as possible.

Democracy is a political system built on the participation of the people it’s meant to serve. Lack of participation creates fertile ground for autocracy to develop–either by design or by accident. If the “many” ignore or avoid the issues, the “few” will be in charge with little or no accountability. “We the people” have a duty to hold our leaders accountable.

To do that, we need to:

  • understand how government works and how to work with it. A bigger emphasis on civics education in schools would really help.
  • make ourselves aware of the issues: follow “real” news, listen to varied points of view.
  • vote! 
  • seek elective office, or donate time or money to a campaign, or become an advocate for issues important to you.

If we are to cast our ballots wisely—let alone work in the system on campaigns—we all need to seek that basic education and maintain continued awareness of the issues.

That’s why groups like the Washington County Public Affairs Forum are so important. Just like City Clubs you find in many major American cities, your Forum offers the opportunity to interact directly with elected officials, people serving in government, business and the arts. You meet the leaders of your community, you ask questions, you get answers.

Some groups, like the Portland City Club, issue policy statements and/or endorsements. The Forum is neutral. While many of our members are active in some way in the community, and many have strong opinions on issues, the Washington County Public Affairs Forum offers a neutral place to learn, discuss and debate.

The Forum, weekly from September through June, offers programs that enable folks in our county to have access to our leaders and to impact our community. We cater to no political party or organization. We serve the people of Washington County. I am proud to be a part of it.

We’ve been doing it for 63 years, and we will continue through 2019, and with your support....beyond.

Learn more and join us at http://washingtoncountyforum.org.



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Portland, Oregon 97291
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