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JC101 teaches residents how to get involved in city government

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Jun 6, 2017 at 9:03 AM

Have you ever considered getting involved in your local government?

For some folks, it can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to getting involved in their community. That’s why city officials in Johnson City have been working for years to help educate residents on how to get involved.

JC101, an adult educational program that aims to enhance citizen awareness and understanding of government’s role in the community, is now taking applications for its summer school edition, which will start June 20.

The eight-week program will be held on Tuesdays from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Becky Buchanan, director of community relations for the city of Johnson City, said the program aims to teach participants everything about local government, including historical background, the inner-workings and ways in which residents can become engaged in public political life.

“JC101 not only gives our citizens a comprehensive overview of how their government works, but it is the perfect way to really get involved in the community, whether you are a lifetime resident or a newcomer,” Buchanan said in a news release.

Buchanan said the program gives residents a chance to see every aspect of city government at work, as well as giving them a clear look at how it works and what goes into it. Participants also get a chance to see every department at work.

“We hit the road too. We hit all major departments — police, fire, public works, parks and recreation,” Buchanan said. “We try to give them an overall view and understanding of our different departments, and we take them (participants) on tours so they can see behind the scenes. All the departments and their chiefs are always involved because they are proud to talk about what they do and how our tax dollars are used for the city.”

Among the city officials and active members of Johnson City political life who have taken part in JC101 are current Mayor David Tomita and former mayors Clayton Stout and Ralph Van Brocklin, according to Buchanan.

“I think a lot of folks aren’t really sure about the general workings of their government, and there's sometimes so much detail that they get lost in it all,” Buchanan said. “So this is a class that gives them a look at it without having to buy a big book or take a bunch of classes.

“Lots of people are very interested in getting involved, but they don't know where to start,” Buchanan said. “For a lot of people, government is a mystery, and this class takes the mystery out of it.”

To participate in this year’s JC101 program, download the application at https://cojctn.wufoo.com/forms/jc101-application. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information, call Buchanan at 423-434-6021.

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