Written by Vishal Kalia
Our previous post, 25 reasons why you should get involved with your local government, received a tremendous response from the community. We also received a multitude of follow up questions; and one of the recurring questions echoed by various constituents was, "How do I get involved in the local government?"
In this post, we bring you thirteen ways you can get involved in your local government and be the change you want to see in your community:
- Join a local board or commission
Each city and county have multiple boards, committees, and commissions; for example, the city of Phoenix has 60+ boards and commissions for its constituents to join. All you must do is go to your city’s website, find the board or commission that resonates with you and apply to be a part of it.
PrimeGov provides a robust solution for all the cities and counties to manage their boards and commissions. Our solution is used by the City of Pleasanton to effortlessly manage their end-to-end applicant tracking process for all their boards.
- Attend city meetings
City council, the board of education, and other board meetings are typically open to the public. Go to your city's website, where you can see the schedule for all the council meetings. As a constituent, you should attend all the meetings that are open to the public. It is a great way to learn about your local government's inner workings and see your representatives in action.
- Tune in to local radio stations
Local radio stations often have programs that specifically focus on the local government's workings and public issues. Your local radio stations will keep you informed on what is going in your area. Tune in to a few of the programs to learn about the key topics, initiatives, and perspectives to educate yourself, and you can participate in those shows by dialing in as an active listener.
- Join a campaign
During the election, candidates are always looking for an extra hand. It is your opportunity to join a campaign to understand how it works and to make connections.
- Serve as a poll worker
You can volunteer to work as a poll worker during the elections. There might be age and residency requirements, so please check with your local city council. Volunteering is a great way to learn about the inner workings of a campaign. This experience could be very beneficial to you if you decide to run for government office yourself in the future.
- Connect with your local representatives
In today’s digital age, almost all local representatives have some social presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You can follow them on social channels, ask questions, engage with them publicly and let them know how you think they are doing.
Local politics and non-profit organizations rely heavily on donations. Donate what you can to support the causes you are passionate about.
- Run for office
There is no better way to spearhead changes for the causes you are passionate about than running for government office yourself. Discover the office/position you want to run for, gather the application information, knock on the doors, get support, reach out to non-profit organizations, prepare a plan, and run for office.
- Work for a political organization
Getting involved in the day-to-day activities of a political organization will give you insights into the workings of the local government. You can join a local political organization and help recruit, train, and support other candidates running for office. You can spend a few hours per month working for a political organization and learn about the decision-making process and how you can influence them in the future.
- Support the candidates after the election
After a local candidate has put in the work to win a seat, it's essential to support the candidate to make right on their campaign promises. Stay involved with the elected officials that you resonate with and support during the election.
- Attend a rally or a protest
The year 2020 has been the year of rallies and protests. If you are passionate about a cause and want to connect with other like-minded individuals, join and attend a peaceful demonstration. I attended various Black Lives Matter protests this year and had the honor of meeting remarkable individuals passionate about the cause. We formed great friendships and often met for coffee to discuss local political activities.
- Join a non-profit organization
As I started exploring non-profit organizations, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many there are. Our team is in conversations with leaders from Education Equity, Vote Mama, She Votes, and many others to create collaborative campaigns to promote these organizations. You, too, can research and get involved in a non-profit organization close to your heart and make a difference.
Finally – don’t forget to VOTE. If you are eligible to vote in your local elections, please do so. Go to your city election or DMV office, and you can register to vote.
The suggestions above are just the tip of the iceberg. As your schedule permits, you can choose any number of activities to get involved in.
If you have additional ideas on how to get involved, please share them with us, so as a community, we can all learn, participate, and make the change we want to see.
Go Beyond the Vote