We've just experienced a terrific night with the President's re-election, so many great women being elected to the US Senate and other equally satisfying wins. We have so many reasons to celebrate, because this was a huge win for progressives nationwide.
So what do we do for an encore? Go Local!
Yeah, I'm looking at you. You, the informed, involved and diehard progressive Democrat. You, the person at the computer, the person who has the signs in your yard, bumper stickers on your car, living and dying by the polls for the last six months. You, the phone banker, canvasser, donator, house party giver, diarist, commentor, activist. YOU.
I've been hammering away about this for a long time, and I'm not going to stop now.
Local races are where it's at, folks. I know, it's not BIG. It's not SEXY. But it is necessary and vital to each and every one of our communities. And do you know who's in charge right now at the local town, city and county level?
Overwhelmingly, it is older white conservative men, many who are wealthy local businessmen. They are making the decisions about what will be built in your communities. Where your roads will go, which businesses to attract, whether green building practices will be encouraged or ignored. They decide who gets all that good local government experience to take into statewide and legislative races. Those seats translate into national races eventually, so start considering the local races the farm team.
They need development, folks. We must start making an active effort to recruit local candidates who are progressives to make sure there is a solid pipeline of people to fill these vital decision-making seats. That recruitment starts with YOU, the activist.
Who do you want deciding on the health of your local water systems? Of how garbage is processed in your community? On whether your community will support the future of electric cars and better public transit? Who do you want making decisions about allowing big business to forgo paying property taxes in order to attract them to your locale? Who do want to see pushing back against unilateral decision making that ignores local citizen involvement?
County races involve decisions about providing healthcare to the poor, providing mental health care, better low income housing options, and whether your local sheriff's office needs more oversight. What's happening in your local county jail system? Don't know? Find out!
These races are about far more than most people think, and believe me it is worth your time to start paying as much attention to what's happening at your local city hall and county commission as it is to what's happening on the national stage. We have to push back on the local level, and we don't have enough people to do it yet. Serving at the local level is 100% worth it- I know from direct experience. It can be frustrating and maddening at times, but it is also be uplifting and incredibly satisfying to get real things done right where you live.
Please get a look at your local races and start planning today. It takes courage and a strong belief in representing your community to make it better in order to be successful. I know so many of you out there have these qualities but are either afraid to step up or make excuses about not doing it. Please don't let another cycle go by without serious consideration of stepping up to the plate for your community. If you're waiting for someone to ask you to run for office, consider this plea.
If you're not ready yet, there are LOTS of local citizen committees who need people like you to step up. That can be your introduction to how your local government works. And don't forget positions like school board, water districts, library districts, soil & conservation districts, etc. Lots of other elected positions need your involvement and expertise and will get you started!
The status quo at the local level isn't good enough anymore. Not after a win like last night. If we want to keep moving forward and get our US House and Statehouses in order, we have to start local. Please consider running for local office, and at the very least taking an active role in supporting local progressive candidates.