What is ProgressLex?
ProgressLex is a four-year, member-supported non-partisan campaign to help Lexington become the most civically informed and engaged city in the country.
Why a campaign?
ProgressLex restructured into a campaign for a number of reasons:
- It provides a focus and sense of urgency.
- It eliminates concerns about long-term sustainability.
- It makes impact measurement clearer.
- It makes budgeting simpler and more predictable.
- It reduces the chances of mission drift.
Why is this needed?
Fueled by geographic and economic separation and increasingly partisan media sources, the underlying structures of civic conversations are fracturing. This is especially apparent in Kentucky.
Engagement with governmental processes is marginal in Kentucky. Less than 50% of registered voters turn out in non-Presidential election years, with only 30% turning out for the 2015 Gubernatorial election. Only 23% of Kentuckians report discussing politics with their friends and family, and only 11% report having ever contacted or visited a public official. In the 2016 Lexington urban-county council elections, only 1 of 12 district council members ran opposed.
In the media local press is disappearing and national media is not trusted. Only 46.5% of Kentuckians report having trust in media, the 3rd lowest percentage of all states. The Lexington Herald-Leader no longer has a permanent reporter in city hall.
Recent studies show the trickle-down effect this has had into the rest of society. Americans spend 33% less time with their neighbors than they did in the 1970’s. In Kentucky in 2014, only 7.3% of residents report that they have worked together with their neighbors.
Why do you think this will work?
We believe civic engagement and discourse can only improve when all parts of the civic ecosystem are working from a shared set of information and know how to effectively engage with each other. This is a campaign to test that belief at a manageable, local level.