Local elections are important - often more so than state and national elections. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Hello, I’m Johnicon George Sr., owner of Icon Connects, LLC. Welcome to the Real Social Change Blog.
First, let us take a look at the Office of the President. According to whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/our-government/the-executive-branch/, “The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress.”
The website further states, “The President also appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal commissions, such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as federal judges, ambassadors, and other federal offices.” And, “The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses.”
Regarding governors, “As state managers, governors are responsible for implementing state laws and overseeing the operation of the state executive branch. As state leaders, governors advance and pursue new and revised policies and programs using a variety of tools, among them executive orders, executive budgets, and legislative proposals and vetoes. As chiefs of the state, governors serve as the intergovernmental liaison to the federal government on behalf of the state.” See www.nga.org/governors/powers-and-authority/.
While these positions are vital and affect our lives, local laws affect our daily lives on a larger scale.
An example I heard a while back went like this. If a street light is out in your neighborhood, understand the issue connects to public policy, which connects to public dollars, to a local politician who will either fight for the issue, give constituents endless excuses, or ignore it.
So, if your county has a sheriff department that has no oversight board and the sheriff refuses to accept any oversight, voters can vote him or her out of office at the voting polls.
Suppose your county has a district attorney who fails to prosecute police officers who disproportionately murder unarmed minorities and/or prosecute minorities. In that case, voters can also go to the voting polls and vote him or her out of office.
If there are inequities in your school district and the governing body fails to correct them, voters of that county can potentially change the situation at the voting polls by no longer supporting specific school board members.
You may have issues in your neighborhood that are not adequately handled and promptly corrected. As a voter, you can enact change using your voting ballot by not casting a vote for that county board supervisor and/or city council member.
We must be intentional about our civic engagement because elected officials are responsible for many things we rely on daily. Such as the local street we drive on to get to our local grocery store.
Quite often, changes happen in our community that we disagree with. Yet, we often remove ourselves from the political process.
I recall several planning meetings in which opportunities for community input and citizen advisory committees could have led to change. Unfortunately, we were not at the table!
Being intentional about our civic engagement also means holding elected officials accountable to their campaign platform and promises. We must rate them on their performance. If they do not follow through with their promised agenda, you guessed it, as voters, we can go to the voting polls and vote them out of office.
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Until next month, Happy Thanksgiving!