With the Presidential election just a few days away, this time can be a springboard for you to become involved in local politics. Getting involved at the local level can be a great way to meet other like-minded citizens, support issues you are passionate about, and play a role in making issues you support.
Read on for some ideas on how you can get involved in local politics:
It may seem obvious but it’s your duty to vote. Don’t just vote in the Presidential elections every four years. Take an interest in local commissioners, your city council, your mayor, and pay attention to congressional and senate elections. You do have a voice and it should be heard.
2. Get to Know your Officials and Representatives
Research and find out who your political representatives are – start this research at the local level. Find out who the local movers and shakers are in the political world. Send them an email, follow them on social media. Learn about their views and platforms. And, once you know the local political officials, learn more about your representatives and the state and national level.
3. Attend Town Halls and Political Rallies
These types of opportunities put you in the circles of these politicians. Rather than read about them online or in the newspapers, form your own educated opinions by actually hearing and learning about their platforms first-hand. When you attend town halls, for example, this invites citizens to ask questions and watch interactions between fellow citizens and those in the political arena. These town halls can be about anything from school issues, to social issues, to utility and infrastructure issues, to tax referendums. Being in the loop about these issues can only benefit you. Regarding political rallies, it’s a good idea to attend these events (with social distance protocols and masks) to hear about issues that will impact you. These are generally peaceful events and it can inspire you to become a part of a political campaign. You can also meet like-minded citizens like yourself.
Whether it’s knocking on doors and handing out brochures, working in an office stuffing envelopes for a candidate’s campaign, helping to organize a campaign event or doing behind-the-scenes work, it’s personally fulfilling to lend your time and talents to causes you support. For example, if your professional talent is website design, perhaps you can lend your creative edge to improve their website. Local politicians especially don’t have large budgets. They rely on dedicated volunteers. If you support their campaign initiatives, help with your sweat equity.
5. Make a Financial Donation
If you don’t have the time, talents or interest in providing your physical assistance, show your support with a pledge of financial support. Give what you can and take careful consideration. Read their statements on the website and make sure your support starts with a one-time donation.
6. Make Informed Decisions
Don’t believe everything you read, especially the statements on a friend’s social media platforms. Don’t base your decisions on hearsay or manipulated news statements and headlines. Read up on a candidate’s positions and platforms. Learn about their voting records. Read op-ed’s they may have written and read constituent stories and testimonials. Make sure your decisions are true and relevant.
7. Speak Up and Correct a Wrong
We’re not encouraging a heated discussion or fight on social media, but if you see a blatant statement about a candidate, it’s OK to share the information if you know for certain it’s true and accurate. If you are in a social situation and you hear an incorrect statement, it’s acceptable to tell the person they are misinformed. Do this gently, however. People can get very emotional about political beliefs. When you are involved in local issues, you are informed, and will be in a position to share truthful facts.
8. Run for a Local Office
Your political career can start with the resident’s association board in your building to be focused on security, or a local board or council. Having a law background isn’t mandatory, but having experience in grass roots efforts will help. When you put the effort in, the public will realize your commitment. When you decide to run for office, realize your personal history and life will be open for scrutiny. This dissuades some. But, if you are passionate about public service, it will certainly be rewarding.
Your Contribution can Help the Community
Becoming involved in local politics can be personally fulfilling and rewarding. You can attend town halls to learn about issues, take part in organized political rallies to learn more about a candidate’s mission and stand on issues, and volunteer to boost the efforts of a campaign you support. If you aren’t in the position to volunteer, consider a donation to support the cause. Above all, getting involved in local politics can be a good stepping-stone for a future in politics. You can meet like-minded friends along the way, make a difference in your community and support and promote social issues that are important to you.
All these goals are very important, but the most important act you can do is vote. Make sure you are registered to vote and vote in every race you can.