Our social culture has made it clear that our political process is an important aspect of our collective history. Democracy permits each of us to make conscious decisions around the individuals that will enact legislation to advance our country in the right direction. In recent years, it has become evident that the opportunity to exercise our vote is an impactful choice that can profoundly shape many aspects of our daily lives.
Now, local and state elections are more important than ever.
The US midterm election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and early voting takes place in the days before the official date to cast your ballot. No, this is not the time to vote for a presidential candidate, but it is the time to directly impact our local and state agencies.
According to Swift Wellness, local and state elections can be even more significant than taking to the polls in a presidential election. Midterm elections allow voters to cast ballots in favor of congressional candidates and local representatives, which are the individuals who decide on a variety of selective policy matters that intersect with our regional communities. Because of this, local and state elections enable politicians to take a comprehensive approach to how they plan to serve their constituents based on their own needs and interests.
Local and state agencies build decisions around:
- Outdoor spaces (ex. public parks)
- Energy conservation
- Urban development and maintenance
- First responders
- Library services
- Public transportation
Local and state governments hold the momentum to act quickly on many of the public policy matters listed above — even faster than Congress. This is why it is crucial to select candidates that set plans to solve the issues that you value most and even understand the varied pillars that are woven into their campaign or platform.
Local government is an essential component of our democracy and is at the center of climate action and sustainability.
According to Voice of OC, local governments can actively pursue climate solutions by developing public transit and affordable housing. From an online conference at Chapman University, experts suggest that “local city and county officials can do things like join renewable power agencies, improve bicycle transit, and redirect government purchasing power to buying zero-carbon products.”
If we aspire to visualize improvement in the way our community can contribute to climate-positive initiatives or programs, it is crucial that we seek local representatives that can make this possible. As states like California enact regulations that prompt all new vehicle sales to be either electric or zero-emission by 2035, it is apparent that local and state officials maintain the position and power to compose and adopt plans that encourage climate change.
Additionally, sustainability is much more than climate action.
From criminal justice reform to waste management, local and state governments can develop policies that advance equity and ensure the health of our planet and its people. The focus of local and state officials should expand beyond climate neutral policies, but to consider how public works intersect with the identity and experiences of those in their community.
Our vote is a persuasive tool that can define the course of action taken by our local and state governments. If we hope to imagine effective programs that mobilize sustainability, we must grab a friend, cast our ballots and hold our government bodies accountable.
For resources on voter registration and where to vote, click the links below:
Register to Vote: How to Register to Vote | USAGov
Find a Polling Place: Polling Place Locator – Vote.org
HAPPY ELECTION DAY