This weekend will be a busy one for people active in local and state politics. Marion Chamber of Commerce will have its annual legislative coffee at 9 a.m. Saturday with our state representative and senator present to hear from constituents. And at 3 p.m. Sunday, the Record will sponsor a forum for city council and mayor candidates to answer questions from the audience.
I’ve said as much before, but getting involved in politics is the surest way to get your complaints addressed, and local politics are where a single person can influence the most. You get one vote out of more than 100 million in a presidential election, one out of hundreds of thousands in a House of Representatives election, and one out of about 300 in a Marion city election. That’s right, the latest city election in 2012, with a tightly contested council race, drew 306 voters to the polls.
Voting is an important part of being involved in the political process, but elected officials need input and feedback from the public to know what matters to constituents. Recent editions of the newspaper have shown how a few interested people can change policies. The school board reinstated the spring play to the budget in January when a group of supporters spoke at a meeting. And earlier this month the board reversed a policy change that would have prohibited youth basketball from practicing Wednesday nights or Sundays.
See? As long as people are willing to put in the effort to organize and let their elected officials know what matters to them, the system works. It’s when people expect others to do it, or assume that they can’t change anything that things get stagnant.
So if you have a concern, a question, an idea, or a complaint, let your legislator, a city council member, or school board member know about it. This weekend has a couple of perfect opportunities to do exactly that.
— ADAM STEWART