This past weekend, I participated in The New Hampshire Together Citizens Assembly as a delegate representing the Merrimack Valley region. Organized by The People, a national nonprofit that seeks to help Americans find common ground and take action regardless of party, the convention invited roughly 50 delegates with diverse political backgrounds from all over the granite state.

It was the culmination of a lengthy effort by The People in which the New Hampshire Together team held community meetings all over the state, speaking with voters about the issues that mattered to them. From these conversations, three main policy areas emerged as issues: trust in elections, political responsiveness, and political polarization. These were the policy areas that delegates of the Citizens Assembly were tasked with addressing.

Delegates were divided into 7 groups. Each group was led by its own The People facilitator and included a mixture of republicans, democrats, and independents of varying gender identities and ages. The group I was in focused on political polarization. We were given workbooks that were designed to guide us from the broad concept down to specific policy directives. The groups presented their ideas to the entire delegation, received feedback, and went back to their breakout rooms to fine-tune their proposals. This process repeated several times until the final vote. Each policy directive needed to pass a vote of the entire delegation by at least 75%, a super majority, to make it onto the final policy agenda.

In the end, we came away with four policy directives (two of which, I am proud to say came from my group) that will be introduced to the state legislature just before the upcoming 2025 session. I have expressed interest in continued involvement in this process so I hope to have more to share in the months to come. I will update this post once The People publishes the policy agenda and other materials from the convention.

Of course, it would be incredible to see these directives succeed in the legislature. However, this experience was about the journey more than the destination, at least for me. Putting 50 people with different political beliefs in a room and getting them to agree on anything, let alone four things, is a huge accomplishment in itself. It demonstrates that we can find common ground if we are willing to speak with and listen to each other with open minds. 


Pictured: David M. Scanlon, NH Sec of State


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