I find myself guilty. I am guilty as charged with the offense of not paying attention to local elections and giving them the importance, they deserve. The election is upon us and we are focused like never before on who will be the next President of the United States. While the election of the President is important, it is as important to pay attention to local elections and the candidates who run for these offices.
Who are these people who want to serve and what do they stand for?
I admit that I have faltered in this area. I recall on occasion casting my vote at the top of the ballot with great enthusiasm and knowledge of who I was voting for but failing miserably as I moved further down the ballot. There, the names were less familiar to me almost to the point of no recognition.
The positions varied from election to election and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Sometimes it involved voting for a city or a county council member. On other occasions it was for a prosecutor or a judge. And on other occasions a school board member or a member of a board or committee. I embarrassingly admit that at times, my memory, jogged by a political sign or slogan or an unusual name became the deciding factor for my vote. Or if that failed, I voted along party lines. Neither path is acceptable to me. Yes, it is challenging to learn in-depth about these candidates and their platforms. They do not get the coverage or attention of national candidates. But regardless, as a citizen it is my responsibility to know more.
I admit I knew very little about these down-ballot candidates and I regret it.
Because, as we have seen over the last several months these positions have a great and direct effect on our lives.
The decisions on COVID shutdowns, criminal prosecutions, school closings, business closings, health issues, economic issues and what to do about soaring crime rates are some of the decisions made by our LOCAL politicians.
We have seen about three and a half months of rioting in Portland as well as other cities. We have seen the Minneapolis city council call for disbanding the police. We have seen local politicians surrendering parts of their cities. We have seen police ordered to stand back while statues are torn down without any input from anybody but the mob… and the list goes on. To be fair some of the elected local leaders acted with great courage and purpose, others not so much.
These decisions as well as decisions regarding taxes, land use, economic revitalization, conservation, the quality of schools and many other important issues are under the control of our LOCAL elected leaders. And they most assuredly impact the quality of our lives.
So yes, the election of the President is important but local elections are important too.
Don’t take my word for it, just ask the people of New York City, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco. I think they would agree. I for one will be paying more attention.
Stephen Phillip Monteiro is a law enforcement, security and intelligence consultant. He’s held senior leadership positions with consulting firms in Washington, DC and is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service. Visit his website: http://www.thegoodamerica.com to leave your comments.