Day 60: Learn About your Local Government!

All politics are local.

DAY 60 ACTION: Learn about your local government and identify a local issue that you want to tackle!

Is there a dangerous intersection near your home that you’d like to fix? Study your local government to figure out how! Credit: WSB-TV Atlanta.

Think globally, act locally.

For the last 59 days, we’ve focused on aspects of federal and state government. But there’s a level of government even closer to home . . . your local government. Local governments come in many varieties, from municipalities authorized by state constitutions to self-organized towns. Sometimes counties run the affairs of the towns within their boundaries; in New England, towns have primary authority. Local governments are run by mayors, county executives, managers, or councils.

Local government has enormous influence over our lives. From zoning and permitting to public schools and quality of life issues, you are more likely to interact with local agencies in a given day than their state and federal counterparts. This is also where you can really make a difference in your life and the lives of your neighbors, if you choose to get involved.

Your local government probably has a website that explains its structure. In addition, some local governments invite participation – websites hosted by Boston and Savannah are two examples. Your neighborhood listserv may also be a good resource for learning about local government.

** This is a helpful checklist for getting involved in local government – check it out! **

Spend a few minutes today getting to know your local government. Then, identify a local issue that really fires you up. Is there a busy intersection that seems dangerous? Was there a police shooting recently? Is a fight brewing over a proposed development? Is your town a sanctuary city?

Today’s Action: Learn about how your local government operates and identify a local issue that you want to address.


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