This issue explores approaches that develop effective connections between political activity at the local level with ongoing national debates. Contributors examine how forums for public deliberation can become effective tools to engage more citizens in the dialogue surrounding community decision-making processes. The essential role foundations can play in broadening the reach and deepening the impact of national democratic discourse is also detailed. Proposed models for cooperation between the nonprofit sector and the commercial media demonstrate the importance of accurate and reliable information and an informed citizenry. Recent reforms in instant runoff voting and the growing impact of money on state-level campaigns and elections are reviewed for their ability to widen public participation in the democratic process.