Hamilton, Shepard discuss Indiana’s civic health

by Andrew Steele, Northwest Indiana Times

GARY | A checkup on Indiana’s civic health lays out its residents’ strengths and makes clear the areas they can improve Ñ especially voting, and working with neighbors on community improvement projects. Former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton and former Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard led a discussion Tuesday at Indiana University Northwest on the recently published 2015 Indiana Civic Health Index, which measures civic engagement in various areas. “What we want to do is encourage people to get off the sidelines and enter the arena,” Hamilton said. He highlighted voting, volunteering and engagement with other residents on projects to improve the community as areas in need of improvement. “I’m a little uneasy because I think Hoosiers might be a little less engaged than you and I would want them to be,” said Hamilton, now director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He noted a volunteering rate of 26.9 percent, slightly above the national rate of 25.4 percent, but, “I actually thought our volunteering would be better than that,” Hamilton said. The state ranks 26th in that category, he said. A low rate of voter registration Ñ “dead last” in the country, Hamilton noted Ñ and a lower-than-average voting rate had the report’s leaders significantly concerned. “I used to think that Hoosiers did a pretty good job of voting,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s true.” ~1@BODYURL[id=114jbcurl1290]@

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