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Talking Transition DC is an innovative civic engagement, policy, and grassroots initiative that transforms the typically insular, closed-door process that occurs between administrations into an opportunity for broad civil discourse – and ultimately a stronger, more equitable democracy.

A partnership of DC VoteDC Working FamiliesNational Institute for Civil Discourse, the Urban Institute with technical support from HR&A Advisors and sponsorship from the Open Society Foundations, Talking Transition DC brought together thousands of Washingtonians to join open conversations about our city’s most pressing public policy issues, share ideas, and raise questions that affect every neighborhood and every ward. Talking Transition DC hosted policy discussions, neighborhood canvasses, an online survey, and a culminating Town Meeting that solicited input from everyday citizens who are often left out of critical leadership transitions. These independent, public conversations took place on five platforms:

TALKING TRANSITION DC HEADQUARTERS – DC Vote’s Metro Center offices served as the headquarters for Talking Transition DC during the month of December. DC residents recorded video messages to the mayor-elect, completed the community engagement survey on an iPad, and added ideas to the Community Vision Wall.  

AROUND THE DISTRICT – The cornerstone and heart of Talking Transition DC was the cadre of canvassers, led by DC Vote, DC Working Families and HR&A Advisors, who were deployed across the city – in every neighborhood, in every ward – soliciting the voice and input of citizens who may not have voted or don’t see themselves as active civic participants. These street teams polled the public on the policy, engagement, and prosperity issues confronting the city, and also raised awareness of the Talking Transition DC effort.

ONLINE – The Talking Transition DC survey was available online for residents across the city to express their sentiments on the most pressing issues at this time of transition. In total, Talking Transition DC’s goal was to obtain the input and ideas of thousands of Washingtonians about the future of a more equitable and prosperous Washington, D.C. That goal was met.

POLICY CONVENINGS – Urban Institute experts prepared memos offering the new mayor specific recommendations drawn on both evidence and convening discussions with civic and community leaders. Five issues are being considered, each of which is important to a more equitable future: inclusive housing, schools that work, open data, economic development, and social and economic mobility.

TOWN MEETING –The National Institute for Civic Discourse presented an innovative, high-tech town meeting on January 17, 2015 that engaged a demographically representative sample of four hundred Washington, DC residents in facilitated discussion. Participants provided input on policy issues and ideas that citizens believe should be the highest priorities for the new mayor.  The interactive, public engagement event included small group discussions and keypad polling to prioritize important issues and choices facing our city. The results of the Town Meeting were shared with the Mayor.

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