Town Hall topics generally are chosen a year in advance, using input from an annual poll of the Arizona Town Hall membership and input from speakers and members who attend the Annual Meeting. The state's universities develop a comprehensive research document on the subject, working with a broad cross-section of industry professionals and leaders. This important contribution by the universities plays a strategic role in the development of each Town Hall.
The Town Halls follow a carefully developed process. The background research is sent to invitees in advance of each session. Town Hall participants then meet in small groups for four sessions over a two-day period, all groups using the same discussion questions. On the third day, at the close of these sessions, participants meet in a plenary session to adopt a final report of findings and recommendations. That official report is then bound with the research report and made available to Arizona Town Hall members, the Arizona Legislature and other elected officials, public libraries and is also available to the general public. Many of these reports also are available for download from this website.
Even though enactment of Town Hall findings is not a primary purpose of the organization, the Town Hall recommendations are meant to spread across Arizona in all directions. We encourage participants and community leaders to consider recommendations and take appropriate actions. We are not only about discussion. We are about engaging people and giving them the tools they need to make informed decisions. Many of the topics discussed at the Town Halls have been on political agendas for a long time, but the opportunity that a Town Hall provides to discuss these important issues without pressure or rancor brings about a heightened level of understanding and responsibility among our state's citizens.
As part of a recent grant from the Virginia G. Piper Foundation, the Town Hall has been collaborating with the FrameWorks Institute to frame issues in new ways that more effectively engage the public in solving complex social and political issues.