The McConnell Center was a hotbed of civic activity Jan. 26. Not only did the center present its findings from the 2016 Kentucky Civic Health Index, it also hosted more than 100 students from across the commonwealth who were competing in the state’s We the People civic education program.
The index, compiled through a partnership with Western Kentucky University, We the People and the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office, was issued to determine the amount of political and civic engagement undertaken by Kentucky citizens. The findings, ranging from trust in the media to the level of outreach to elected officials, was the focus of a panel discussion that included Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The Index showed the commonwealth improved in national rankings in social , community engagement and voter registration since Grimes released the first report in 2012. But, it also showed that fewer than half of Kentuckians have confidence in media, a decline of more than 10 percent in three years, and fewer Kentuckians are trusting of their neighbors. Overall, Kentucky ranks 48th in the nation, ahead of only New Mexico (49th), Montana (50th) and Utah (51st), for public confidence in media. (Full results are available online).
Grimes’ visit to UofL kicked off her second Statewide Civic Engagement Tour, with an objective of touring the state to hold conversations with Kentuckians about the state of the commonwealth’s civic health.
Earlier in the day, students took part in the We the People competition, a nationally acclaimed civic education program focusing on the history and principles of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Winners of the Kentucky state competition will advance to the national finals April 21-24 in Washington, D.C.