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Topics to Be Discussed at NKY Libraries Ahead of 2020 U.S. Election

The Northern Kentucky Forum is hosting a series of events to lead discussion about pressing issues in the country ahead of the 2020 Presidential election.

The series of events is presented in collaboration with the National Issues Forum and is titled Hidden Common Ground.

The goal is to ask citizens to meet in small groups and discus three leading issues: health care, immigration, and the economy.

Locally, the events will be held at libraries in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties. It starts in March and runs through October.

“All are welcome. Indeed, the greater the diversity of voices, the more we’ll learn from each other, which is the real value of these dialogues,” said Mark Neikirk, executive director of the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement at Northern Kentucky University.

The Scripps Howard Center is a partner in the Northern Kentucky Forum along with the Boone County Public Library, the Campbell County Public Library, and the Kenton County Public Library. The purpose of the Northern Kentucky Forum is to foster civil, civic dialogue in our region.

A typical Northern Kentucky Forum event involves a speaker or panel of speakers but the Hidden Common Ground project takes a different course:

  • Each event will be small-group discussions involving six to eight people per group. Each library can host several groups.
  • Each event will focus on one of the three topics: health care, immigration, and the economy.
  • Those attending will be asked to review an issues guide in advance.
  • Each guide sketches out the issue being discussed that evening and offers some ideas about how to address that issue.
  • The issue guides, prepared by the National Issues Forum, are carefully designed to be nonpartisan, factual guides that small groups can use to understand a particular issue’s dimensions and challenges
  • Led by a facilitator, each group will talk about the issue. The goal is to explore whether there is common ground in finding ways to address each issue.
  • A discussion may or may not lead to a consensus; that isn’t the goal. The goal is to take time to explore an issue with neighbors, whether or not your perspectives align.
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Hidden Common Ground is a joint project of USA TODAY, Public Agenda, the Kettering Foundation, and the National Issues Forum. USA TODAY will be reporting on the dialogues nationally. Participants will be asked to complete an anonymous survey and the overall results will be reported nationally. Learn more at https://www.nifi.org/en/hidden-common-ground.

Below is the schedule for the local forums. You can RSVP to one or more of these discussions at https://nku.eventsair.com/shcce/nkyforum.

HEALTH CARE

Discussion question: “How Can We Bring Costs Down While Getting the Care We Need?”

More info: https://www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/health-care-2020

Sunday, March 8, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring Branch, 3920 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076

Thursday, March 12, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger Branch, 401 Kenton Lands Road, Erlanger, KY 41018

Tuesday, March 31, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Boone County Public Library, Hebron Branch, 1863 North Bend Road, Hebron, KY 41048.

IMMIGRATION

Discussion question: “Coming to America: Who Should We Welcome, What Should We Do?”

More info: https://www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/coming-america

Sign up for a discussion group convenient for you. There are three options in our community:

Thursday, May 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m, at the at the Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger Branch, 401 Kenton Lands Road, Erlanger, KY 41018

Sunday, May 31, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Campbell County Public Library, Fort Thomas Branch, 1000 Highland Ave, Fort Thomas, KY 41071

Thursday, June 4, 6:30 p.m to 8:00 p.m., at the Boone County Public Library, Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY 41005

ECONOMY

Discussion question: This guide is still being developed; information and material will be available this summer.

Sign up for a discussion group convenient for you. There are four options in our community:

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Campbell County Public Library, Newport Branch, 901 East Sixth St., Newport, KY 41071

Thursday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger Branch, 401 Kenton Lands Road, Erlanger, KY 41018

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Boone County Public Library, Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY 41005

-Staff report

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