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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.  

Poll

Will you run for local office?

23%4 votes
5%1 votes
29%5 votes
23%4 votes
17%3 votes
0%0 votes

| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for all the local candidates who ran (10+ / 0-)

    this cycle.  It's really worth doing, I promise you.  

  •  Yes yes yes yes yes (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, mamabigdog, Renee, elfling, rapala

    Worked hard for LOTS of local candidates, particularly judges, city council, etc. Personally ran for Democratic County Committee (with my wife) which leads to major conflicts within the local Dem party. After several years us reformers are finally making progress!

    Completely agree that local races are far, far far more critical than most see them.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 06:48:22 PM PST

  •  I'm in Santa Cruz California ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamabigdog, Renee

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 06:58:54 PM PST

  •  You can work your courage up more easily --- if (5+ / 0-)

    you start attending meetings as a citizen observer.   Helps you see lay of land, issues, and that those serving now are mere humans too.    

    Self governance model --- only works if normal people can understand/learn what is going on.    Most of it is not rocket science.

     

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:16:01 PM PST

    •  Get the kids involved! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      I did this with my own kids for the last 7 years or so, and now they're diehard campaigners in college.  Very gratifying to see them get active and make their peers think about their future!

    •  Very True (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama, elfling

      Attending those meetings can be enlightening.  You can even watch them on local cable access stations in many communities. It's a great way to get your feet wet, learn some of the players and issues.  

      Honestly, there's nothing to be afraid of.  Those elected officials are just people, just like anyone else.  You're exactly right- it ain't rocket science.  

      •  My best job EVER was getting paid to cover (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mamabigdog, elfling, Renee

        County Commission & School Board meetings for a twice a week fish wrapper thrown free on your lawnn --- so the paid advertising had something to wrap around.

        I got PAID to watch a way behind county finally put in building codes and such because the dang yankees on the west side had 3 of 5 members on both bodies for the first time.  

        One day it was so hilarious they threatened to throw out we journalists if we could not stop runaway giggling.  

         

        De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

        by Neon Mama on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 08:18:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Often a local newspaper or radio station (0+ / 0-)

          is really interested in that coverage and would be thrilled to have reports, either paid or volunteer, from various venues.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 09:16:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Go in person and interact (0+ / 0-)

        If you show up a few minutes early, you can even go up and introduce yourself to some of them. They are probably curious who you are and why you are there.

        It is perfectly fine to just be there to see how the local government works. In fact, if you just come in and sit, they may fear that you are stewing for the first hour of the meeting, only to explode about some damn thing just as they are getting ready to adjourn.

        Watching will show you the level of competence among the elected. You may find that you feel that as inexperienced as you are, you would do a better job that some of them.

        Local is really weird also. You may find that the big issue for the leaders is how to make life difficult for some other agency that wronged them a generation ago. You won't learn that from the news coverage. That kinds of bad government can also be an inspiration to run.

        Back to the interaction...it is often possible to ask a question about an issue they discuss. You learn a lot, and don't need to have a position on the subject.

    •  This would be an interesting diary. I'll bet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      lots of us parents have not thought to do this. I certainly didn't.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 09:15:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most of us are here because we learned (0+ / 0-)

        the basics of how to learn.   If you don't like the texts local schools are using --- start learning how they are chosen & what else is available.   Maybe get in on book selection process.  Ask teacher opinions.   PTA used  to be a great PAC & action training place.

        It takes a lot to research thru local budgeting processes -- but they are spending your money.   Baby step can be to take one line item and learn everything about it. Perhaps start with one you already know something about from your work experiences.

         We have sunshine law here -- so most documents are open to public.  

        Never forget --- We the people ARE the government.

        De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

        by Neon Mama on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:34:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes local is where it all starts (5+ / 0-)

    We just took our son and his friend to their first political local meeting tonight and they are all "fired up".

    "We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Gandhi
    "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little" – FDR

    by smokey545 on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:34:57 PM PST

    •  Get the kids involved, second try! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Renee

      I did this with my own kids for the last 7 years or so, and now they're diehard campaigners in college.  Very gratifying to see them get active and make their peers think about their future!

  •  Hear! Hear! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamabigdog, Neon Mama

    This is such an important diary.

    I've been thinking exactly this all day. How utterly powerfully effective we could become in changing our communities at the local and state level.

    It could be the next BIG SEXY...

    **I've got Magic Ladyparts** And I keep a separate pair in my binder!

    by consciousempress on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:39:53 PM PST

  •  I'm not the right sort of person to run (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamabigdog

    for office, but I'd like to spread progressive ideals and support people who will work for those ideals.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:50:53 PM PST

  •  Will be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamabigdog, Neon Mama

    Starting on this next week after a few days break from politics.  We have Council and local elections next year and they will be very important here in NYC.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 08:12:46 PM PST

  •  Great diary, and so true (0+ / 0-)

    If you're a policy geek - and face it, if you weren't, would you be reading this now? - there's lots of really interesting local policy going on all around you.

    Start by going to a meeting or two. Yes, if it's a small meeting, it's weird and uncomfortable to walk in that first time, with everyone wondering what the heck you want and you wondering if you're sitting in the right chair. But sit and listen, and the second or third time you come, they may smile and nod when you come in, glad to see you.

    This is the first step. Whether you run or not, you'll learn a lot about your community and the people who have already stepped up for those positions.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 09:15:09 PM PST

  •  I serve on my school board (0+ / 0-)

    I really enjoy the opportunity to interact with the excellent people who run our schools and the chance to support them in educating the kids of our community.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 09:19:00 PM PST

  •  great point! maybe Occupy can ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Renee

    I know I'm a square for suggesting it but what about next year's "small" races? We're electing a Mayor here in NYC - the fix is in for Quinn IMHO - but the frenzied great energy the Occupiers have put into Sandy volunteerism might translate to across the spectrum respect, and that could translate to VOTES (damn it)

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 09:19:02 PM PST

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