The Regionalist Papers were developed by the Future of Hampton Roads (FHR), a public service, non-profit organization. At the very beginning of a multi-year study of regional collaboration practices, including national comparative analysis, FHR used the Regionalist papers as one of the early ways to manage regional research. This effort was designed to jump start the Regional Structure Project. It was effective in doing so, and it, especially, served to assist the broader FHR organization to become comfortable with and to learn much about current day, state-of-the-art policies and procedures used elsewhere in the United States.
The concept of the Regionalist Papers was based on "The Federalist Papers" which served our founding fathers in their quest for an approved and ratified Constitution. Just as "The Federalist Papers" sought to inform elected leaders and the electorate which placed them in office of the complex and intricate rationale for the proposed federal government, our Regionalist Papers endeavor to do the same for the Hampton Roads elected municipal leaders, the electorate which put them in office, local and regional opinion leaders, local and regional organizations such as the Chambers of Commerce, the media and their editorial boards and the businesses upon which the economic vitality of the region depends.
The Regionalist Papers do not purport to provide answers. Instead they serve to frame the pertinent questions surrounding the concept of regional governance. They share with readers the results of a years worth of analyses, research, brainstorming, debate, conferences and questions in a way that supports the "Report Number One: How the Region Works" published by the Steering Committee in June 2005.
Unlike "The Federalist Papers", the Regionalist Papers do not have an instrument of governance for which they are seeking acceptance or approval. Rather, they seek to stimulate thought on questions such as, "Should there be such an instrument, organization or governance structure for Hampton Roads or components thereof?"
Raymond Aron, a renowned French political philosopher, says, in his book, "The Dawn of Universal History", "A person’s passions will always outweigh a person’s interests." Was this the influence at play when the region’s voters soundly defeated the Transportation Referendum two years ago? The Regionalist Papers endeavor to shed some light on this and other related questions. Do Hampton Roads voters need to have an out of state personage with a passion come in before an election and tell us how to vote which some suggest is what happened prior to that referendum? Or are we sufficiently well informed to come to our own conclusion about what is in our interest?
We hope that readers will gain insights into how FHR began its multi-year and very significant Regional Structure Project that over time involved several hundred of the most interested and best minds in Hampton Roads. The Regionalist Papers are how we started and they reflect our early-day learning and thoughts. Regionalism or effective and statutorily sponsored regional collaboration is a very complex topic. We hope to stimulate dialogue and all comments are welcome. Help us address this complicated subject.
Regionalist Paper Contributors:
Raynor A. K. Taylor, editor
James F. Babcock , IV
Joseph F. Bouchard
James N. Bradshaw
Edward E. Brickell
Arthur L. Collins
Glenn Allen Scott
Vincent J. Thomas
Byron E. Tobin
Harry D. Train II
Index of The Regionalist Papers