A game-changing project to increase the public’s participation in the state legislative process is taking shape in Arizona, making it a first again for our state. Arizona voters have a new way to make their voices and opinions on bills heard clearly and directly by our legislators. That is the power of AZVoices.gov, an initiative of Arizona Voices Institute, a new non-profit, non-partisan organization built on the vision of amplifying the public’s voice at the Capitol, formed to ensure that the bills adopted by the Legislature reflect the true desires of its citizens.
Now, we the people of Arizona have a new way to register our approval or disapproval of every bill and every piece of legislation under consideration; and to keep our legislators honest. We need to find answers to fund our K-12 educational system, stimulate the economy, and build critical infrastructure. We must find ways to create public policy that has been vetted by all Arizonans not just the special interests that dominate the legislative process. AZVoices.gov is a movement that provides a platform for the voice of reason to be heard, a reflection of the attitudes of votes of Arizona.
The first of its kind in the nation, AZVoices.gov makes it easy for people to leave the sidelines and engage in the process. Every Arizonan no matter his or her political persuasion finally has an equal opportunity to be heard. Many feel they have no voice unless they are financial contributors, know someone with a relationship with the legislator, or travel from across the state to the Capitol. Calls and emails get lost in the sea of sponsored campaigns drowning out the true voice of Arizonans. AZVoices.gov brings voters virtually face-top-face with lawmakers for invaluable public input, creating a more balanced and valuable public dialog.
Yes, only our elected officials can cast an official vote on bills, representing the voters of their districts. However, this innovative platform allows citizens from across the state to cast their “votes,” or opinions, in the form of a five-point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. This gives our legislators a real-time understanding, a running poll of sorts, of their constituency’s position on their bills. With over 3 million registered voters in Arizona, imagine the impact if each and every voice of each and every voter, were heard. That is a true manifestation of our democracy in action.
The time has come for the average Arizona citizen to have a voice on public policy issues. In order for the spirit of our democracy to remain intact, to have representatives of the people of Arizona actually vote the way of their constituents’ desires, we must have more people involved in the process. This movement is the public’s way of balancing the scales of power and influence.
The Legislature has separated the wheat from the chaff and the bills left are moving fast. Get involved now by going to AZVoices.gov, register, and vote on the remaining critical bills. Yes, the more Arizona Voices in the process the better the outcomes and the better future for us all.
Arizona Voices Board of Directors
Steven Betts, board chairman; Ed Fox, treasurer; Wes Gullett, secretary; Beau Lane, director; Carolyn Warner, director; Lattie Coor, director; Margery Brown, director; Art Othon, director; Eve Ross, director; Pearl Chang Esau, director; Rick Shangraw, director; Phil Francis, director; Karl Gentles, president, Arizona Voices Institute.