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It’s Election Day – Five Reasons to Care

- November 9, 2023

We as Americans are consumed with national news and national elections. So much so that we often turn out for presidential elections at far high numbers than we do for any other type of election.

Today is not one of those presidential elections. It’s not even an off-year election, where we don’t elect the next members of Congress. This is an off-off-year election. We won’t vote for governor or lieutenant governor or attorney general.

Instead, today we vote local.

Turnout for local elections traditionally produces the poorest turnout of all election cycles. Here are five reasons we are putting our emphasis on the wrong elections, and why people should prioritize local elections.

  • You can get to know these politicians – Unlike national level politicians, we live among local politicians and have direct access to them. School board members, council members, and members of the board of supervisors aren’t doing this as a career. Most work jobs outside of government service. They live among us, and as such are supposed to be accessible. When problems or concerns arise, citizens can often reach out directly to their representative – not someone like a chief-of-staff who is paid to run interference. Local leaders are on the frontlines of representative democracy. And when they are not, voters grow upset. Spotsylvania School Board has become a story this year is in large part because four of the members made a conscious decision to not speak with or communicate with those they disagree with.
  • Over $1 billion – The 21 elected officials who serve as board of supervisor members or city council members in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford manage more than $1 billion in funds each year. As citizens with the ears of their representatives, it’s possible to directly lobby these officials about spending priorities and ensuring funds are distributed efficiently and for the purposes that best serve the community.
  • Building the future – Whether it’s education, housing, public spaces, business development, or another issue critical to citizens, the people we elect today will have more to say about how we address these problems and take advantage of our opportunities than anyone at the state or federal levels. This region’s sense of place will be mostly in the hands of the people we elect today.
  • Preserving our past – As important as tomorrow is, remembering and telling the stories of where we came from is equally important to building local community. As with building the future, preserving our past hinges mostly on the people that we put into office today.
  • Democracy’s Health – Local leaders have more to say about what happens in the communities we live than does anyone on Pennsylvania Avenue, or in Richmond. We spend a great deal of time fretting about the future of our democracy at the state and national levels, but the truth is, democracy works best at the local level. The hope for building a strong national democracy begins in building a strong local democracy.

Yes, national and state level politics matter a great deal. But it’s your local officers who will most directly affect you and your future.

Today, take five minutes and do your part to ensure that the community we are building, and the ideals we wish to preserve, are in the hands of those who have your best interests at heart.

Vote local.

Martin Davis is Editor-in-Chief at FXBG Advance.
- Published posts: 238

by Martin Davis EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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