Was at Highlands High School
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 21, 2017) — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was at at Highlands High School in Northern Kentucky today as part of her statewide tour on improving Kentucky’s civic health.
The tour is in response to results from the Kentucky Civic Health Index, which measures the state of engagement and civic literacy in the commonwealth through the study of several indicators.
The index showed that Kentucky improved in national rankings in social connectedness, 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 (49), Montana (50) and Utah (51) for public confidence in media.
“Engagement is the key to solving the issues that face Kentucky communities,” Grimes said. “We have to find a way to bring every Kentuckian to the table, to get every Kentuckian involved in their neighborhoods, their schools, their places of worship, their civic organizations, and their communities. More people engaged means more voices for solutions.”
Part of today’s conversation centered on the importance of civic education to help build trust in our government.
“If you don’t understand the fundamentals about what government is doing and what it can do, the less like you are trust government. The foundation of trust begins with understanding,” said Highland student Kayla Groneck, who served as a panel member in todays’ discussion.
Dr. Mike Farrell, executive director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky, was also a panel member. “We talk all the time about how we are among the freest people in the world, but there’s little discussion about what our responsibilities are as citizens,” he said. “We need to continue to work to improve the discussion of what it means to be a citizen.”
Highlands student Lily Fennell and Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery also were panel members.
Pendery made a plea to the students in attendance to get involved in local organizations. “Pick any civic organization and you find that younger people are not involved,” he said. “Younger people are not only welcome, they are necessary to our local civic organizations.”
Partners on the Kentucky Civic Health Index are the Secretary of State’s office, the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility at Western Kentucky University, the National Conference on Citizenship, and the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.