MISSIONS OF LIGHT SERIES
Mission 6 — Local Politics
by Aspen — ABCU|8 team
“People get into local politics for reasons as varied as having a say in their community, trying to make a difference, or wanting to change policies they don’t agree with.” 
Some warriors exert their influence in the local sphere. They attend town or city council meetings, get a role in the homeowner’s association, voice their opinions to the planning board, or run for a position on the school board. They write letters to the editor or publish a neighborhood newsletter. Through participation in public life, they establish liaisons with other patriots. While serving their community they become an advocate for local citizens. For some, a local beginning precedes their rise into state or national politics. 
You can become an involved citizen by researching, volunteering, and using your voice. Are there issues in your community or on your local ballot that need a different approach?
The first step is to get a good understanding of local political structures. The internet offers a wealth of information.  Local officials might be called alderman, city council, town manager, mayor, county board of supervisors, county administrator, commissioner, selectman, etc. Also consider smaller bodies close to home—homeowners’ association, school board, or planning board. Stay informed via local newspapers, TV, newsletters, or representatives’ social media.
Research your elected officials. What are their names and roles? When are the elections held? Who are the incumbents? What initiatives or policies have they enacted or supported? How do they communicate with the public? What by-laws, statutes, charter, or regulations do they enforce? Find out where these local laws are documented and read them. Learn about the local budget and how the local government spends your taxes. Is there oversight over spending?
Attend meetings. Find out what open meetings a citizen can observe. “City council, board of education, and other board meetings are typically open to the public… they will help you understand the inner workings of your government and see your representatives in action…”  Another venue is a town hall meeting, where officials solicit the public’s input. Come prepared to meetings with questions about policies, rules or viewpoints you want clarification on. This is also good preparation to become more comfortable speaking to the public.
Contact your representatives. There are many ways to share your point of view: social media, telephoning their staff or voice mail, writing letters and emails, and visiting their office to speak in person.
Are you prepared to take action? The only qualification is a desire to take on the responsibility! Leadership experience acquired by managing a small business or in the military may be helpful.
You could join a citizen advisory board. In this role, you work with other community members, giving your unique perspective on issues that affect you. You participate by doing research, taking public testimony, reviewing reports, and creating recommendations for local problems.  
Finally, consider running for a local government office. There is no better way to create changes locally than by running for office yourself! After identifying an office of interest and submitting the paperwork, assemble a team and begin knocking on doors to make yourself known. If you’re affiliated with a party or group, ask them for support.
Be the change you want to see. A warrior with the local politics mission translates his or her belief and commitment into action! 
1. Missions of Light – Introduction, https://abcu8.co/2020/11/21/missions-of-light-introduction/
2. Local Politics, https://ballotpedia.org/Local_Politics
3. How to Get Involved in Local Politics, https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Involved-in-Local-Politics
4. Local Government Citizen Advisory Boards, http://mrsc.org/getmedia/72061479-9ba8-48b4-ab1f-cfa62cf7d4f1/Local-Government-Citizen-Advistory-Boards.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf
5. 25 Ways to Be Politically Active, https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/15/politics/ways-to-be-more-politically-active-trnd/index.html