California Forward Launches 50 State Solution

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Bipartisan effort supported by CA Fwd, a good government organization, will support state-based political reforms being pursued across the country and encourage participation.

States are increasingly becoming true 'laboratories of democracy' as they experiment with new approaches to our political processes.

California Forward (CA Fwd), a California based good government organization, today announced the creation of the '50 State Solution', a collaborative, non-partisan effort designed to support the state-based political reform work being done all across the country and to encourage others to join in the cause.

"We are glad to be playing the role of a catalytic leader in helping to create this platform to support state-based political reform all across this country,” said James Mayer, president and CEO of CA Fwd. “Our organization has been doing this work in California for the past decade and we are eager to help create a national learning community of like-minded organizations and individuals."

Chris Gates, a Senior Fellow at CA Fwd and the former President of the National Civic League, has played a leadership role in the development of this effort. Gates said, "The current partisan gridlock that is strangling our ability to govern in Washington makes it impossible to imagine a reform agenda emerging from our nation's capital. States are increasingly becoming true 'laboratories of democracy' as they experiment with new approaches to our political processes."

The 50 State Solution website,, was also launched today. The highlight of the site is a 'state of the field' interactive map that summarizes political practices and major reform efforts in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia. The 'state of the field' focuses on nine aspects of democratic practice for each state: voter registration; primary system; campaign finance; disclosure; voting administration; voting tabulation; voting technology; voting participation, and redistricting.

The website includes a curated news feed of relevant journalism and a blog series that will feature the voices of leaders and activists in this field. In the future, the ‘state of the field’ section will include a living, crowd-sourced document, allowing the broad field of state-based political reform to keep it current and up-to-date. The site will also provide the opportunity for self-organizing around shared issues or regions.

CA Fwd will host a convening of state-based reform leaders in January of 2017 in San Francisco to talk about the current status of the field and what more can be done to support it. That convening will be co-chaired by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was a founding co-chair of CA Fwd, and Ashley Swearengin, the Mayor of Fresno and a leading Republican in the state of California.

For more information and to get involved, please register for updates at or contact Caitlin Maple at caitlinm(at)cafwd(dot)org.

About CA Fwd
California Forward (CA Fwd) is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, devoted to improving the performance of government in California. It believes that increased emphasis on accountability and transparency will create government that Californians deserve and expect. CA Fwd strongly advocates for confidence and trust in elected officials as being an essential ingredient to good government.


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