Frequently Asked
Questions

How are participants selected?


In order to make sure that the selected participants represent their community, community members who are interested in participating will fill out the form which asks questions about the applicant's demographics like their gender, income, ethnicity, education, etc. After the application window has closed, we use a computer program that anonymizes the applicants' identifying information and selects a panel of people whose overall demographic profile matches that of the host community.

When do the application windows close?


Willmar's application window will close on August 11th, and Brooklyn Park's application window will close on October 2nd.

How many people will be selected?


For the community of Willmar (population 19,558) we will select 36 participants; for the community of Brooklyn Park (population 79,707) we will select 50 participants.

What will I have to do as part of the Assembly?


You'll have to attend 7 1/2 days of education and discussion on the topic of local government, what you would like to see it do, and how you would like to see it work. If selected, you'll commit to having civil discussions of sometimes challenging topics and having an open mind as you are exposed to ideas that may be new to you.

How will I benefit from participating in the Assembly?


There are a number of reasons why you might want to participate in the Assembly! They are:

  1. You will have a rare opportunity to learn deeply about local government and learn from the experiences of your fellow community members.
  2. You will get a chance to meet people with whom you may rarely cross paths and strengthen your social network.
  3. You will have the opportunity to influence local government and provide your local government with insight on how you and your fellow community members evaluate its success.
  4. You will earn a total of $1,200, not including transportation reimbursement and possible childcare reimbursement.

What and who is at a Community Assembly?


A Community Assembly is a group of residents, stakeholders, or interested people selected to be broadly representative of the area's population. Participants deliberate on a key issue or issues of importance in their area.

The assemblies vary in size and are meant to capture a diversity of thought and experience.

A Community Assembly is not limited to citizens of a community. It includes everyone who has an interest, concern, or stake in a community. A Community Assembly aims to give everyone a voice in deliberating and learning about an issue and helping find a solution with his and her neighbors. It’s a safe place for everyone to give their ideas and experiences.

A Community Assembly is really a people’s assembly.

Why use a Community Assembly?


In a Community Assembly, participants generally address one policy idea and produce recommendations based on the education, inspection, and discussion in which they have taken part. Community Assemblies demonstrate that different community members often share similar concerns and are able to collaborate and create common solutions.

These activities also help to ensure that the right process fits the right community. It’s a genuine search for ideas by the community to meet the needs and desires of the community.

This initiative taps into the wisdom of local residents and encourages them to work with one another when politicians cannot. Each assembly’s recommendations will inform the best practices for local government and city charter design for municipalities and researchers across the country and planet.

What will we be doing?


There will be opportunities to learn with your neighbors and work with them to identify shared priorities and concerns relating to a specific issue. The Minnesota Community Assemblies are focused on local government and how its structure and processes work, what your city government is doing that works well, and possible alternatives that could be explored to improve local government. You’ll have an opportunity to learn from experts, share your thoughts with other participants, and make recommendations for your city.

Why is this Community Assembly focused on local government?


Local government is often more easily influenced by its residents than state and national governments. As the residents and needs of cities change, it’s important that local governments are set up to help residents engage fully in the political process.

Where are Community Assemblies held?


The assemblies are held in the cities themselves not at Hamline University or the Jefferson Center.

Contact the Minnesota Community Assembly


(651) 523-2180