National townhall brings citizens together to solve debt crisis

Thursday - 6/24/2010, 4:51pm EDT

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, president and founder, America Speaks

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The National Debt Clock puts our national debt at roughly $13.1 trillion.

While this has been a topic for years, a Wall Street Journal poll out today shows the public is increasingly concerned about the country's debt.

But there hasn't really been any national consensus about what to do about it.

Well, one organization is trying to get the average American involved by holding town hall meetings across the country.

It's called America Speaks, and Carolyn Lukensmeyer is the president and founder.

She says they are trying to get a real, non-partisan conversation going -- and they want your help this weekend.

It's happening this Saturday in 19 cities across the country at budgetdiscussion.org.

There is still time to register and, because it is a crowdsourcing event, you can even register your own group.

"You could, in fact, initiate your own community conversation where you bring a few people together in your church or your library or even your home . . . [and then] connect those people via the webcast on a computer screen and follow along with exactly what we're doing in the 19 cities. . . . So, you could, with your own group of people, actually recreate that same conversation."

Lukensmeyer says the goal is to get input from different people in the hopes of getting away from the trend of immediately disproving others' ideas and thoughts.

"The role that America Speaks has taken is to develop a set of common information that people can have confidence is fact-based and fair. Using that information [will allow] people to share their views first from their values and priorities for the budget at the national level, and then on these tough issues about spending cuts and raising revenues, if we're actually going to meet the physical challenges ahead of us in the next couple of decades."

She adds that America Speaks is not affiliated with one political party or another and has done work with a variety of groups on both sides of the aisle in all 50 states.

"We believe that democracy has got to have a stronger connection between the collective voices of ordinary people and the people that we elect after the election -- during the governance process when they're making decisions."

Email the author of this post at dramienski@federalnewsradio.com