Date of Award

11-2016

Document Type

Capstone-Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Program Name

Public Administration

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Kandis Wyatt

Abstract

Public participation is a critical element for America’s foundation of democratic strength. To see growth in the number of citizens who are more engaged in the political process, steps will need to be taken to restore confidence in the United States government and its leaders and make the democratic process more accessible to citizens. As it now appears, the looming edifice of Ameri-can government is an intimidating and unwelcoming labyrinth. Through communication with citizens directly, the government and public administrators can understand the priorities and values that will increase public participation and create productive solutions. The components to this process are: 1) a more trusting relationship between government and the public, 2) making government processes more transparent, 3) providing education where needed or desired and 4) empowering citizens to become engaged. This research study used a survey aimed at citizens from diverse backgrounds that determined current satisfaction with the government and agencies, how deeply the respondents have participated in the democratic process, and explored what would motivate them to become more involved. The study also gathered information from an interview with a current member of the United States House of Representatives to observe public participation from a legislative perspective. Exploring the issue from the varying viewpoints allowed the researcher to determine commonalities and avenues that may lead to more successful collaboration.

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