Each of us holds the most important title in American democracy: citizen. Yet most Americans believe we are powerless to make government respond or hold public officials accountable. A 2015 Pew Charitable Trusts survey found that 74% of Americans believe that most elected officials don’t care what people like us think. But we can make them listen—if we fully embrace our rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democracy, and use the skills of effective citizenship to make government work for us. This is not just a theory. Americans frequently prove that we can make government respond. We, the people, are the beginning and the end of our democracy—and today, more than ever, we must build and flex our citizenship muscles to fulfill that exalted status.
Chris Hand is a Jacksonville native with a long record of public, civic, and legal service in Florida. He served as speechwriter, campaign press secretary, and Senate press secretary for former U.S. Senator Bob Graham. With Senator Graham, Hand is the co-author of the recently published America, the Owner’s Manual: You Can Fight City Hall—and Win. Hand also served as Chief of Staff at the City of Jacksonville during the administration of Mayor Alvin Brown. Hand has practiced law at several Jacksonville firms. In his current practice, he helps clients anticipate challenges and opportunities with government. Hand graduated with honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also graduated with honors from the Fredric G. Levin College of Law at the University of Florida. Hand is a member of the Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2014 and was recently selected for membership in Leadership Florida Class XXXVI. An enthusiastic hiker, he loves to explore Florida off the beaten path. His most passionate rooting interests are the Florida Gators, Jacksonville Jaguars and anything related to Ireland. The latter affection may explain Hand’s family demographics. Chris is lucky to live with three redheads — his wife Heather and their two children.