Rochester to offer intro to government civics course

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Signups are available now for the first class on Jan. 9 (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Rochester officials have announced a new program called Civics 101, a community-based learning course offered by the Office for Public Information and Community Engagement.

The course outline features several topics, including 'How Rochester's Municipal Government Works', 'How to Find Information', 'How to Vote (and why it's so important)', 'How to Make Your Voice Heard', and 'How to Get More Involved'.

According to City Manager Blaine Cox, the presentation and discussion aims to encourage participants to explore skills needed for active citizenship and recognize how individual civic actions can affect change.

"Citizen knowledge of how our municipal government works is critical to our success, in that with this knowledge comes the ability to provide public input," said Cox. The city acknowledges and affirms the value of and need for public input as it conducts the city's business. Public input and comment periods during public meetings is an essential part of local government. This is the opportunity for members of the public to inform the City Council and other boards and commissions of their views and offer unique insights regarding topics the governing boards are discussing."

The City's Public Information and Community Engagement Manager, Matt Wyatt, says it's the mission of his office to encourage Rochester residents and business owners to get more involved in municipal government, exercise their rights, and "make their voices heard".

"Getting involved in municipal government can feel overwhelming to anyone that has never done it before," said Wyatt. "The goal of this beginner's course is to put people at ease, provide the tools and resources needed to find the facts, and empower citizens to make informed decisions."

Civics 101 is a free, one-time course held quarterly in the City Hall Annex, 33 Wakefield St., on the second floor. Wyatt says that each respective class will be scheduled at various times in order to be more accessible.

"We realize that it's best to schedule classes at times that are convenient to working people," said Wyatt. "There will be one in the morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend. Hopefully, people will take advantage of it, find it helpful, and encourage others to participate. If there is a greater demand, we'll expand it."

Signups are available now for the following dates/times:

  • Monday, January 9, 2023, at 9am
  • Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 10am
  • Thursday, July 27, 2023, at 6pm
  • Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 9am

Civics 101 is available to Rochester residents and business owners only. Registration is required. There is no cost for entry. Participants are encouraged to bring paper and a pen for note-taking. Laptops, tablets, and other Wifi enabled devices are optional. Click here to register online.

For additional information and general inquiries, contact Matt Wyatt at (603) 330-7195 or

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