Report on Nebraskans’ behavior meant to be a conversation starter on civic engagement

by Natasha Rausch, Omaha World-Herald

Nebraskans, as a state tourism slogan points out, are nice to one another. But when it comes to political engagement, residents donÕt rate nearly as well, according to a new report. The report, the 2015 Nebraska Civic Health Index, found that 82 percent of Nebraskans interact frequently with family and friends. But when it comes to political involvement, Nebraska ranks 36th out of all states. Just over 12 percent of Nebraskans report contacting public officials, according to the report. The report, which was funded by the Weitz Family Foundation, used census data from 2012 and 2013 population surveys. Kelsey Arends, director of operations and special programs at Nebraskans for Civic Reform, said the study would help start a conversation. ÒThere is a disconnect from how we care about each other in the community to how we care about each other in legislation and politics,Ó Arends said at a press conference Thursday. Although Nebraskans ages 18 to 24 reported the lowest levels of community engagement, three students spoke at the press conference as a testament to the benefits of getting involved in their communities. One of them, University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Gavin Harsh, said he organized a drive-in movie event three years ago in his hometown of McCook. The event turned into an annual weekend of old-fashioned activities. ~1@BODYURL[id=114jbcurl1326]@

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