Idaho stories for understanding and accountability

It’s hard to ignore Idahoans when they’re open and honest and on camera.

Cam Crow
Cam Crow
Apr 18, 2019 · 3 min read

“In this age, in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” — Abraham Lincoln

Make Idaho Better was built to be the easiest way to be a part of state and local solutions. Our mission is making people more informed, more understanding, and making it easier to find and implement better solutions in Idaho.

When we began, we focused on surveys.

Our agile, affordable research helped organizations understand all sorts of important Idaho issues. We pioneered freely available public results, analysis, and leader interviews. This was a hit, and our surveys now can collect over 1,000 responses from across the state.

But, not everyone “thinks in data”.

Geeks love our charts and insights, but this isn’t what most people are into. We’ve been looking for other ways to reveal insights about Idaho opinions and culture.

We’ve been inspired by Cole Valley Speaks.

It’s a movement focused on transparent story-telling, community organizing, and collaborative problem-solving with a Christian school in Meridian. Their methods have been innovative and powerful. We think they might work for bigger and wider applications as well.

We’re deeply concerned about accountability in Idaho.

There were some big wins for Idaho in the 2019 legislative session, but there were also some seriously troubling developments. In particular, the “Revenge Against Voters Act” had the goal of making it virtually impossible for Idaho voters to pass law via ballot initiatives. That’s one of our constitutional rights, and it would have been essentially taken away if not for a governor veto.

The House and Senate crossed a line. They showed that our leaders need to be reminded about their job of listening to and respecting the will and rights of the people.

We will reveal public opinion in new ways.

In addition to our surveys and data, we’ll road trip and couch surf to reveal and elevate all kinds of Idaho stories and perspectives. Our tool of choice will be uncut video recordings of honest conversations with elected officials, community leaders, and normal residents of every kind. We’ll work to show what people experience, feel, think, and believe, in every county of Idaho. It’ll look something like this.

We’ll bring attention to the patterns and themes.

With these stories out in the open, with real names and faces on them, we’ll be able to categorize and articulate the themes and patterns we’re seeing. Besides making it easy for elected officials to listen, we hope to put pressure on them to do so.

If these resources are just sitting there, readily available, why wouldn’t you use them? We believe that, if leaders actually look and listen, it’ll be harder for them to disregard the people in the future.

Would you tell us your story? Could we crash at your place?

This will be a crowd-sourced project. We want to talk in person, and we’re coming to you. If you’re interested in being a part of this, please fill out this brief survey to tell us about yourself.

Let’s do this!

Source: Giphy
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Cam Crow

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