of Californians to participate in unique
Statewide conversation on Health Reform
SACRAMENTO, CA==Thousands of Californians from across the
state will participate in CaliforniaSpeaks, a
live, statewide conversation on Saturday, August
11, designed to give residents a direct voice
into the health care reform debate. Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Fabian
Nunez, Senate President pro Tem Don Perata,
Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines and
other Republican and Democratic legislators will
be involved with CaliforniaSpeaks.
The unique forum, which blends state-of-the-art technology
with face-to-face, small-group dialogue, will
involve the following regions: San Diego County,
Humboldt County, Fresno County, Los Angeles
County, Sacramento County, San Luis Obispo
County, Alameda-San Francisco Counties and
Riverside-San Bernardino Counties.
The eight sites will be linked together by satellite, so that
participants will be able to hear the views of
others from across the state. Skilled
facilitators will lead face-to-face discussions
at each location while ideas are recorded,
considered and voted upon throughout the day
with personal voting keypads.
CaliforniaSpeaks is made possible by grants from The
California Endowment, Blue Shield of California
Foundation and The California Wellness
Foundation. The project is being organized by
AmericaSpeaks, a nonpartisan, nonprofit
organization with the mission of providing
Americans with a greater voice in the decisions
that affect their lives.
"Health care is a crucial issue for all Californians," said
Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Ph.D., president and
founder of AmericaSpeaks.
"CaliforniaSpeaks offers the people of this state a unique
way to talk about the issue with their neighbors
and give lawmakers their direct feedback."
During the meetings, attendees will focus their attention on
the current health proposals that will be
debated in the Californian Legislature before it
adjourns in September. Participants will be
asked to discuss and share their perspectives on
these proposals, and a summary of the
recommendations made by the participants will
then be presented directly to the governor and
the legislature for their consideration.
To ensure that attendees span all different ages,
ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and
political beliefs, thousands of participants
will be randomly selected to participate in the
"This is democracy at its best," said Lukensmeyer. "As we
have organized similar conversations across the
country, we have found that local residents from
all walks of life can make a difference and that
decision-makers really do respond to their
There is growing pressure in California to enact health care
reform. With millions of Californians lacking
health insurance or at risk of losing their
coverage, and health care costs escalating for
individuals and businesses, political momentum
for adopting health care reform has been
Most recently, AmericaSpeaks convened thousands of New
Orleanians to create their city's recovery plan.
AmericaSpeaks has engaged more than 130,000
people across the country on such topics as
shaping municipal budget priorities in
Washington, D.C., creating regional plans for
the greater Chicago and Cleveland regions, and
developing rebuilding plans for the World Trade
Center site in New York City.
To learn more about CaliforniaSpeaks please visit