We The People...

The White House petition process is aimed at giving people on opportunity to share concerns and get responses from their government. Here’s how it works.


Perhaps you’ve seen the news that Callahan & Associates Chairman Chip Filson is spearheading an effort to change the way NCUA Board Members are selected.  He stated recently, “Cooperatives are different by design, and a vital component of this structure is the democratic involvement of member-owners in the choice of their leadership. Selection of NCUA board members through a public campaign, versus the more traditional back-door route, models important behavior for current and future credit union leaders.”

The avenue he’s chosen is a relatively new one, yet based in both core cooperative tenets and our nation’s founding principles: a public petition on We The People.

 “We the People” launched as a section of the White House’s website on September 22, 2011.  In their own words:  “We created We the People because we want to hear from you.  If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue and official response.”

 Here’s how it works:

  • In order to create or sign a petition, you need to create a WhiteHouse.gov account.  You’ll be required to provide your first and last name, your e-mail address, and your ZIP code.
  • With an active account, you can open a new petition.  You have to provide a key summary phrase, and you have 800 characters to review the details. 
  • Once you’ve created the petition, you are provided with a web address (URL) for your petition.  You then have to use whatever means at your disposal (e-mail, FaceBook, Twitter, listservs, etc.) to share this URL and get folks to sign it.
  • After your efforts garner 150 signatures, your petition then becomes searchable on the “We the People” site.  Anyone visiting the “We the People” site can search for, find, and sign your petition.
  • If a petition receives 100,000 signatures within 30 days of being initially posted, that petition will be put in queue for review by the administration. 

If a petition reaches the threshold, the“White House will convene a regular meeting with representatives from all of the major policy offices (like the National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council and others) that will review petitions that have crossed the signature threshold for a response.  This group will help determine which policy office in the White House or federal agency should review and respond to petitions and ensure that petition responses are posted as quickly as possible.” 

When the White House responds, everyone who has signed the petition in question will get an e-mail from the White House regarding the response.  

This is an efficient and easy tool for participatory democracy, and it gives a voice to individuals who may not normally have the administration connections to gather support (and a response) to key issues.

Follow the progress of the NCUA petition at petitions.whitehouse.gov. Be sure to sign on!


Feb. 26, 2013



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