Some 700 years ago, Sweden used an “ombudsman” to represent citizen grievances with the king. The word “ombudsman” means “the peoples person”.
Today, many U.S. local governments have an ombudsman to receive grievances by the general public.
New York City’s Public Advocate has been a voice for everyday people since 1993. As Public Advocate, now-Mayor Bill de Blasio fought for universal pre-K, tenants’ rights and fairness for students. He created a list of “New York’s 100 Worst Landlords”. His successor – Letitia James – has continued by fighting for working people, foster children, and fairness in the workplace.
In 1982, Chicago voters overwhelmingly approved an advisory referendum which led to creation of the Illinois Citizens Utility Board (CUB), now the state’s largest consumer group.