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Strengthening Efforts to Engage the Hispanic Community in Citizen-Driven Governance: An Assessment of Efforts in Utah

Authors


Patria de Lancer Julnes is an associate professor and director of the doctor of public administration program in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore. Her research interests include government accountability and performance, citizen participation, and government reform. She is a past co-chair of ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance.
E-mail:pjulnes@ubalt.edu

Derek Johnson holds a master of science in political science from Utah State University. He currently works for a nonprofi t organization in Washington, D.C. His research interests include philanthropy, nonprofit management, and performance management.
E-mail:derekjohnson@gmail.com

Abstract

How can the Hispanic community in Utah strengthen its active engagement in government? Interviews by the authors with key government and community-based organization representatives offer evidence on (1) who is being engaged in the Hispanic community, (2) what are the barriers to engagement, and (3) which modes of engagement are likely to be effective and under what conditions. Findings indicate that only a small elite in the Hispanic community is currently involved. Even for the elite, engagement is fairly superficial. Historical patterns characterize the Hispanic community limited interaction. The peculiar nature of Utah government also reduces their participation. Pragmatic lessons are drawn to enhance substantially improved partnerships, build comprehensive action plans, and strengthen government commitment to civic inclusion that transcend Utah and apply to diverse minority communities everywhere.

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