Day 66: Attend a Local Government Hearing!

Find out what local commissions are up to!

DAY 66 ACTION: Identify a local government meeting in April that handles a topic of interest to you. Plan to attend the meeting or watch it on TV! Make it a social event – invite friends!

The Conservation Commission of Burlington, Massachusetts.

Local government is making decisions that affect your daily life.

Last week, we learned about local government, and then contacted our local governments about an issue that we care about. Today, we’re exploring another way to participate in local government – board and commission meetings.

Chances are, your local government holds many public hearings and meetings. Your city or town council may convene as often as once a week. In addition, a number of boards and commissions may meet on a wide range of local issues. For instance, in our town over the next week, the Condominium Review Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Conservation Commission, and Fair Housing Commission will all host meetings. 

Some of these boards and commissions are elected; others are purely voluntary. Some of them are permanent entities; others are created for particular projects. For instance, in our town, the High School Building Committee was created to oversee construction of a new school.

Every local government is organized a little bit differently, so the best way to figure out what types of boards and commissions you have is to look online! Many cities, towns, and counties have helpful websites with a calendar of events and descriptions of existing boards and commissions. (Some may be advertising vacancies . . . but more on that at a later date.)

Spend some time looking at the possibilities. Chances are, whether you care about affordable housing, the environment, animals, the arts, better policing, or some other issue, there is a board or commission for you!

Today’s Action: Study the upcoming hearings and meetings happening in your community, and pick one to attend in April. Alternatively, see if a meeting will be aired on public access TV – this is required in some jurisdictions. Invite friends or family to join you!

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