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How to Get Involved in Local Politics

Join the Community

Some people would like to become more politically involved in their government, but don’t know where to start. There are many opportunities for political participation, and these represent a full range from either minimal to maximum involvement in your government. The first, and most minimal suggestion, but probably also the most important, is that you be registered to vote. Especially in countries where voting elects its leaders, helps to determine laws, and elects representatives, your involvement in this process through being a registered voter and showing up at the polls, allows you a say in how your government works and who represents your voice in the political spectrum.

How to Get Involved in Local PoliticsCitizens can write to members of Congress or volunteer for groups that interact with its members.

While voting may be the single best way to become more politically involved, not all people can vote, such as people under 18. Depending upon the time and energy you have to commit to participating in the political process, you have a range of options for making your voice heard. If you only have time to vote, the very least you can do is to become an educated voter. You may need to “school” yourself on the electoral process, and on how to understand the way in which issues you might vote on affect you.

You can get more informed by reading. You might start with a good book on your government’s history and particularly on your government’s constitution and your rights. You can also follow the beat of politics through a number of online sources that will help you make choices with intelligence and conviction. If you’re not yet able to vote, these are still excellent places to start, and many students learn the basics of history and government in school. While these things may seem “boring,” they do help you become more politically involved because you will make better choices when you vote based on understanding of how the political system works.

How to Get Involved in Local PoliticsPeople can attend political events and engage with local leaders.

Being an informed voter is just the first step in political involvement. Through continued reading and understanding of candidates or issues, another way to become more politically involved is to write or call your representatives and express how you feel about certain issues. Since much of the US political system is based on the way our representatives act and create law, it’s important to let representatives know your stance on issues, so they can determine if they adequately represent their constituents.

Another way to become more politically involved is to join a campaign, even at a low level. If you feel a particular candidate represents your point of view well, you can work toward helping that candidate get or stay elected through volunteering. Volunteering can take many forms, from helping send out mailers, staffing a campaign office, calling registered voters to ask them for their support, or canvassing your neighborhood to distribute campaign materials. You can decide the degree to which you have time for this involvement, and if you can’t or don’t want to work in an office, many candidates now have active online organizations that allow you to help a campaign from home. Even contacting your own friends and family to discuss a political issue helps you make more of an impact.

Other methods of political involvement include signing petitions to help create bills, writing to news organizations to comment on particular laws or candidates, helping out any political party by working on voter registration drives, and donating to political organizations or campaigns. Attending local and/or regional meetings like City Council meetings where you can present issues you care about, or participating in PTA or meetings of a school board allows you to become more politically involved, without much time or effort expended.

In the US, and numerous other countries, there is a certain amount of apathy or resistance toward political involvement. People who become more politically involved are viewed as hotheads, and some families or friends may never want to talk about politics. Don’t let this deter you from political involvement, though you should determine the degree to which you want to press friends or family on political issues. Being involved politically, though, is a means by which you are active in the process of your government, and if politics are truly determined by “the people who show up,” your voice, time, and concern may help shape your own government, even if your involvement in the process is minor.

How to Get Involved in Local PoliticsVolunteering is a great way to get involved in a political campaign.

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

How to Get Involved in Local Politics

Local politics, though much less covered by news outlets and much less exciting at times, are really the most important things you can get involved in, in terms of the importance of your vote. Local politics help things that affect your everyday lives, and those lives of people whom you actually know and interact with.

Another nice thing about most local political scenes is that they are nonpartisan elections. With the presidential election coming up in a couple of months, it has truly been impossible to avoid the divisiveness cast by the left and right in the U.S. political system. This is often the reason why so many people avoid political conversations, or politics all together.

For the elections happening in your backyard, however, those running for local office aren’t influenced by the media nor the powerful elites of the major political parties in the U.S.. They are, generally, just human beings who want the place they live in to be better. With this in mind, involvement in local politics shouldn’t leave nearly as bad a taste in people’s mouths as state and national politics do. Whether you want to run, vote, help campaigns, or just volunteer, here are some ways to get involved in local politics.

Educate Yourself

How to Get Involved in Local Politics

A lot of people in the U.S. have no idea who their mayor even is, let alone a city council. If you want to get involved in the local politics game, knowing the players has to be step number 1. It’s important to know as a voter, it’s important to know as a citizen, and it’s also important to know what kinds of people are winning elections in case you do, indeed, want to get that heavily involved. It also helps when reaching out to state and national leaders and being able to say, “Our mayor, so and so, did this, why can’t you?” and things of the like!

Once you know the “who,” it’s important to figure out what they’re discussing and why it is important. Town hall meetings are generally the best place to get this information. While most local news outlets do report on town meetings, those reports, however, are limited by word counts and often can’t share every issue and every discussion. So get a front row seat and get informed of all the local happenings.

Be Heard

If your interest in local politics is simply to get a better understanding of what’s happening around you, you may not want to share what you have learned for a number of reasons. If you do become passionate, however, it’s extremely difficult to bite your tongue in a room full of people who don’t know what they are talking about when you do.

Social media is a great platform for social good, and it’s an easy place to reach a lot of people at one time. There is, of course, a line to toe, and shoving information down people’s throats on the internet can be a turn off. It’s important to remember that you, too, were uniformed, and sharing information with a soft touch can help prevent alienation, which is especially important if you want to run for local office.

Run for It

How to Get Involved in Local Politics

If the same tongue-biting phenomenon persists, you may want to take that step up the ladder from being an advocate to actually running for public office. Some people tend to wince at the word “served” when they hear politicians say it in the same way military veterans do, because big time politicians make big time bucks. But when it comes to local politics, there is rarely any real financial incentives, and thus, most who run are genuinely wanting to make positive change in a community.

Never has there ever been a bigger case for local political involvement than in 2020. From the community-level response to COVID or racial justice, to ongoing issues like climate change, far more of our daily life is impacted by local politics than we may have realized. The renewed focus on our arm’s-reach leaders comes at a time where local papers are vanishing, and schooling up on the down-ballot takes a little more work. But you’re a Verse reader—and “challenging” has never stopped you before (brushes shoulder). We’ve got some tips to make getting involved a bit more turnkey.

Connect the dots.

Start with a little research to understand the impact of various local government positions and boards, and what types of things they impact—understanding the connection to various issues will help you to direct your engagement. Here’s a good summary on the responsibilities of school boards, information about mayors and climate change, and the importance of prosecutors.

Suss out the candidates.

We’ve previously talked about Vote Smart but it warrants another shout-out: simply plug in your address and they’ll serve you up some facts about politicians running in your local races. If they’re still up and running, check out your local paper or local public radio (maybe subscribe while you’re at it), as they will frequently endorse candidates and cover pressing issues. If you find a candidate with positions you’re feeling, sign up to get their campaign updates so you can keep dibs on their positions and issues.

Help ‘em win.

Thinking about getting your feet wet with a local campaign? We like this guide from Harvard Law School. Starting on a small, local campaign might be a great way to see what works for you—and you’re likely to be able to interface much more with the actual candidate, to boot. Even during COVID, we’ve found there is still plenty to do to assist.

Hop in the arena.

You might go through all of the steps above and realize that you’re the perfect person for the job. This article lays out some things to consider, but you’ll probably need to start by understanding the local regulations about eligibility (we never claimed it was glamorous). The DNC lists resources for candidates considering a run, and while we didn’t find a similar list on the RNC site, various state GOP sites do offer help to potential candidates.

Remember your interviewer may have different political views than your own, says Wil Barber. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Remember your interviewer may have different political views than your own, says Wil Barber. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

1. For your first job in politics, it’s important to persevere

I can’t remember how many jobs and internships I applied for before I got my foot on the ladder. Make sure you have something concrete to demonstrate your interest in politics and justify a career. For example, volunteer with your local MP or charity – they always need help. We get lots of CVs from people who want to work in politics, but don’t have anything on their CV that qualifies that.

Chris Fairbank, senior political consultant at Dods Monitoring

2. Remember your interviewer may have different political views to your own

Unless you’re interviewing for a role with a particular party, always bear this in mind. I have heard of Tory colleagues who met interviewees telling them how evil their party is, which didn’t sit well. When talking about politics in these sorts of interviews, try to think more like a BBC journalist, offering a fair assessment rather than partisan attack.

Wil Barber, consultant for Hanover Communications

3. Make sure you don’t just apply for anything and everything

Tailor your applications to what your CV is showing – apply for jobs with MPs whose interests are closely aligned with your own and where you can really show you will bring value. In terms of standing out – I’d say the more experience (unpaid or paid) you can demonstrate in this area, the better.

Louise Thompson, lecturer in British politics at the University of Surrey

4. Further education vs work experience

For working in politics, unless you want to be an academic I’m not convinced getting another degree is better than getting work experience. To find relevant work experience think about where you would like to end up professionally and do some research about who is working in that field – then contact them asking for information and work experience.

Ed Davie, councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth

5. Don’t send out blanket CVs and cover letters

Try to personalise your CV to the job role you are applying to and tell them why you want to work for them. If a recruiter reads a generic CV they can tell instantly, so try to make it relevant to the role.

Hayley Stovold, head of content for CV app and career site Jobulo

6. Remember it often takes years to develop a full-time career in politics

This is especially true if you are thinking at a national level. Many prospective candidates spend several elections in unsuccessful seats until they are given the nod for something attainable. Working for an MP is a great way to be in with a party and if this is not something you enjoy, then working in public affairs would be your best next option – many of our candidates have stood for election at some point in some capacity (local, national, European).

Joshua Clements, managing consultant at Electus

7. For jobs in local politics, get involved in as many community events as you can

Speak to local councillors or political groups and ask if they would like help or support on a particular local matter. This is a good way to build a local politics network. Every local area has a solid core of strong community groups that work for the good of their area and they are always a good place to start if you want to make changes in your community.

Tony Newman, leader of Croydon council

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How to Get Involved in Local Politics

If you have, by some miracle, managed to avoid all manner of news lately, you might be surprised to know that there’s a U.S. presidential election in less than a month. Even if you are aware of it, you may be reluctant to get involved or just not sure where to start. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that you vote for one candidate over the other, but I would like to make a few suggestions for getting in on some of that political action.

1. Start with your own paperwork

I’m always surprised to find out how many people aren’t registered to vote. Even if you’ve gotten the necessary paperwork in to your county board of elections, you will probably need to confirm that the paperwork went through if you really want to vote on November 4. On top of that, you’ll want to know where your polling place is and the local hours. The easiest way to find out all of this information is to get on to your county board of elections’ website: what information isn’t prominently displayed on the website is available through the phone number also displayed online.

2. Get involved in the process

I know plenty of people who have volunteered for one campaign or the other, but there is one organization that really needs involvement in order to make sure that elections go off without a hitch: the county board of elections. Specifically, it seems like almost every county still needs election judges for the upcoming vote. Qualifications are simple — in most states, polling places are required to be run by an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. You have to be already registered to vote, but beyond that there are very few requirements. Some states will even pay you.

In the same vein, there are a number of non-partisan groups that observe the election to insure that there is no hanky-panky with any of the ballot boxes. The League of Women Voters is one of the best known groups, although there are quite a few. Many of these groups are particularly looking for volunteers with technical knowledge to visit polling places with electronic voting machines.

3. Look at the local

Despite the fact that there’s minimal turnout for local elections, I firmly believe that pulling the lever for my local school board is more important than voting for president. In the grand scheme of things, it’s easier to find someone willing and able to address your issue at the local level than higher up the political food chain. But to be able to make the local political structure work for you, you have to first vote for local politicians who share your concerns about issues. Most states have local amendments and elections on the ballot this fall: take the time to read up on them and consider getting involved at the local level.

4. Support your candidate with more than a vote

Most campaigns — whether for candidates or causes — are run on a shoe string budget. The fundraising done by the two major party candidates is certainly not the norm. And while I’m confidant that those candidates wouldn’t mind either my cash or my time, I’ve thought long and hard about where my contributions will wind up. Sure I’m supporting one candidate for president in particular, but I’m also devoting a little time and money to some candidates in the state government out my way.

5. Consider running yourself

The filing deadline for the 2008 election has passed in most areas, but I think that running for even a small, local position comes with some rewards. I have my eye on a couple of jobs myself and while I’m not ready to run this year, I’m seriously considering it as a future opportunity. After all, it’s easier to get things done if you’re already a part of the system.

To become part of the system, you don’t necessarily need to take office, though. You can also become active in the local leadership of your political party. For some of us who are a little less inclined to the spotlight, such an approach might be preferable: you can still be involved in setting policy, but you’re less likely to find a camera crew at your front door.

6. Provide others with the chance to get involved

Something as simple as rounding a couple of friends and taking them to the polling place with you can have a phenomenal affect on the election. There’s a reason that both major political parties consider their ‘get out the vote’ efforts absolutely critical. If you really believe a particular cause, though, go beyond getting involved yourself and help others with similar concerns get involved. That can translate into getting signatures on a petition, recruiting people to help you with a cause and more. No matter what, though, remember that we’re living in a democracy. You can’t get much of anything done politically here if you don’t have the support of at least a few people.

7. Start now

Sure, the next election is less than a month away. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get involved now. These are the days when campaign volunteers get a little scarce, as those who have been with the campaign for months at this point get tired. There are also more than a few campaigns that need only a few thousand votes to tip them into victory. Now is the time to get involved. Don’t wait for next year, or worse, the next presidential election.

I am often asked what the best way is for someone to get involved with their local political party (of all partisan persuasions). This question comes from people who are interested in someday running for office, or who simply want to help thier party’s cause in their town or county. The answer I give them is: “Just do it.” Too often, people who want to get involved in politics think that it will just “happen,” that someday someone will call them out of the blue and ask them to run for office or get involved in a campaign. This is simply not the case. The best way to get involved with your local party organization is to get out there and get started:

1. Go to Meetings

The single best way to get to know your local party leaders and candidates, as well as other activists, is to go to your town or county political committee meetings. These meetings are usually open to any member of the party, and provide a great opportunity for you to not only get to know other people in the party, but to learn about the issues facing your community as well. Call your local party to find out the time and location of these meetings.

2. Volunteer at Headquarters

If you want to stay on top of the latest campaign news, learn how to run a campaign, or are thinking about running for office yourself, there is no better place to learn than at your local party headquarters. Spend a few hours each week at “HQ.” You will start off stuffing envelopes and answering phones, but you will soon have the opportunity for more responsibility and access. Keep your eyes open, and learn all you can.

3. Work on a Campaign

There is nothing more exciting than working on a campaign. Call a local candidate and offer to volunteer on the campaign. More likely than not, the campaign will be glad to have you for whatever amount of time you can spare. During the campaign, you will gain invaluable political experience and contacts, and get to participate in the thrill of political campaigning. Volunteers do everything from planning events to going door-to-door meeting the voters.

4. Start an Affiliated Party Organization

If you are a good organizer and feel up to the challenge, think about starting a local political organization or club in your community. There are any number of clubs that you can start, as well as established groups that are looking to expand into new areas, including the Young Republicans or Young Democrats, party women’s groups, etc.

5. Get your Friends and Family Involved

Once you start to get involved in local politics, encourage your friends and family to get involved too. By building your own organization of committed activists, you can provide an invaluable service to the local party. Campaigns will know they can call on you to quickly raise volunteers or hold events. This is an especially valuable tactic if you are planning to run for office in the future.

6. Run for Office

The pinnacle of involvement in local party politics is running for office yourself. There are probably dozens of offices you can run for in your area — start off small and work your way up. Think about running for party offices — such as Democratic or Republican committeeman or committeewoman, as well as civic offices, such as judge of elections, school board, or town council. Call party headquarters to ask what offices are up for election soon, and whether candidates are needed for any of these races.

7. Stay Informed

As you volunteer, get involved, and run for office, make sure to stay informed about local issues, as well as new political techniques and strategy. Read your local paper(s) and regional magazines, and attend civic and town hall meetings. To receive the latest campaign tips by email, make sure to sign up for the Local Victory Newsletter.

Do It!

If you truly want to get involved with local party politics, the time to start is now. Pick out a few of the techniques outlines above, call your local party, and tell them you want to help. Volunteer, organize, work a campaign or run for office… but whatever you do, start today.

this i would be 2022 mp with party of people democratic movement(PDM)

I have to admit that until recently, I had little interest or awareness of local politics. Embarrassingly, my dad is actually a political journalist, specialising in local politics. He even has two published books out on politics, that I haven’t read (soz dad). As I became older, I was slapped with the fact that politics is connected to well, everything. I realised the irony of complaining about environmental and social issues, when I hadn’t even voted every year (the UK is not compulsory voting).

When I moved to Australia six years ago, I became even more aware of the importance in engaging in local politics instead of just being p*ssed off at the useless leaders of both my home country (UK) and my current country (Australia) – even Taylor Swift knows the importance of political awareness.

Aside from focusing on main leadership, which should normally only change every four years, local government is also really important to be aware of. Local government, elected by citizens of that area, look after their specific communities: city utilities, local public services etc. They can create a big difference in the local areas we live in, so here are some tips for getting more involved in your local politics!

How to Get Involved in Local PoliticsCredit: Ra Dragon.

1. Research

Politics in different countries and even states can be really confusing. People rely on voting to be clear, however it’s really not. People need to learn this sh*t in school, sadly they don’t. Understand the voting system, why people vote for different people and how people win. Sign up to vote and make sure to vote in time . Then you won’t be completely surprised when the same outdated white man wins as your local electorate – and you’ll understand how to create change for next time.

Take a quick look at this Australian Politics for Dummies Cheat Sheet, it’s got everything you need to know.

2. Guess who

The first point of call is to find out who’s who. Do a quick online search of the government’s structure, your local council by state and who your local elected representative. This person is your key contact, note their email and phone number – they represent YOU in issues you care about.

3. Follow your council (not literally)

Once you’ve found your council, follow them on social media and keep up to date with what’s happening in your local area. You can also read newspapers, online or offline, to follow local government news, changes in policies as well as elected public officials who are embroiled in corruption scandals.

4. Get vocal

Remember to phone and / or email your local representative if you have something important to discuss or voice. There’s also a lot of meetings and opportunities to input your voice, for example Town Hall meetings are announced across council’s social media and give local people the opportunity to interact with their local representatives and local issues.

5. Donate your time

It can be really rewarding to get directly involved with your local community. Volunteer for local council events (these are normally announced on social media or website) or even assist a local representative that you support. This could be as little as wearing their shirt, handing out flyers at your local markets or put their poster in your window or fence!

6. DIY

If there’s no-one out there that aligns with your values or they aren’t doing a good enough job – do it yourself. You can join an existing party or run as an independent candidate. Here is a full guide on joining local politics and working your way up! You can also jump on to your local council’s website as it will have an information guide on where to start if you’re considering becoming a councillor.

Recommending reading:

Feature image of Mona Hecke, a qualified Australian naturopath who is running as an independent candidate in the 2020 Gold Coast Mayoral Campaign.

If you clicked the title of this article, you’re probably looking for a way to leave a mark on your local community. But it’s easy to get sucked into the grind of everyday life.

When we’re juggling work, school, hobbies, chores and family time, participating in your local government seems like a great idea in theory. But how do you possibly make time for it?

The good news is that participation doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. There are many things you can do as a citizen to uplift your community and the people in it. Some of them will cost you little to no effort, but with such a tangible impact on your neighbourhood , how could we ever call them ‘small things’?

Let’s take a look at different ways to get involved and leave your mark on politics and public life — without having to clear your calendar.

1. Stay up to date on (local) politics

Do you know who’s in charge? Who has the decision-making power, and what are their plans for your community? Knowledge is power, so make sure to stay informed on what happens around you. Read the local newspaper or the town newsletter with your Sunday morning breakfast. Follow local politicians on social channels and, if you want, ask questions directly. Talk to your neighbours about the decision-making in your community and share your thoughts, or attend town meetings if you can find the time.

2. Volunteer in your community

Get your hands dirty if you can! Every small act of volunteering goes a long way. After all, you’re directly impacting the existence of important organisations , charities and individuals in your city or municipality. It doesn’t matter whether you’re walking a shelter dog every weekend, signing an online petition about a local cause, or serving beers at the school’s yearly fundraiser. A community is built on its active members, and volunteering now and then is a great way to make a difference.

3. Share your ideas and spark the debate

Is your city or municipality launching a digital citizen participation project? Great! That means that your administration is actively asking for your input. After all, who knows better what a community needs than its citizens?

On the platform, you can share your ideas, voice your concerns, and discuss local topics that matter to you, all without even having to leave the comfort of your own home. An added bonus? Participating on a digital platform gives you a clear and direct overview of the course that your administration is planning to take. Like we said, knowledge is power!

4. VOTE!

We get the chance to let our voices be heard every couple of years at the ballot box. It might not feel very impactful when you’re checking the name or party of your choice, but the importance of casting your vote can’t be understated.

Elections allow citizens to keep the administration accountable, and to weigh in on the direction and prioritisation of policy. Safe to say, getting informed and voting for your favourite candidate is one of the best ways to engage as a citizen.

5. Check your privilege and create space

Almost every person in this world is born with a certain amount of privilege. That means that they have a special advantage over certain other people or groups. Whether it’s about ethnicity, social status, gender or physical ability, it’s important to be aware of the privileges you hold, because if you use them in a powerful and positive way, you can truly transform society. Get informed on topics that don’t affect you directly, and create space for voices that aren’t heard as often in your community.

6. Scratch that cultural itch

Going to the library, visiting a local museum or heading to a concert isn’t just fun and enriching, it’s also beneficial for your community as a whole. Cultural organisations enable local people to read, write, and appreciate arts and music in an inclusive and accessible way. Getting a library card or buying museum tickets can really make a difference in the way these organisations function.

7. Settle down with a book

We told you engagement doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, right? We weren’t lying! Grab a drink of your choice, get settled in the cosiest nook you can find, and dive into an interesting book on politics or democracy. Don’t know where to start? Take another look at our curated list of top 10 must-reads that’ll inspire you to get involved. Not much of a bookworm? Check out these interesting podcasts or political documentaries!

8. Support local businesses

That cosy family bakery on the main square? The vegetable stand that’s been selling leeks and carrots on the market for 25 years? The new coffee place across the street? For them, it makes a huge difference where you buy your croissants, zucchinis or latte macchiatos. Instead of shopping in bigger chains, try spending your hard-earned money at a local business. It’ll make your community flourish!

9. Watch your ecological footprint

You don’t want to live in a smoggy nightmare full of dirt and litter, and your neighbours don’t, either. Keeping your community clean and healthy is an individual responsibility for everyone. Reduce the amount of useless plastic or non-recyclables you buy, see what you can re-use, and recycle the rest! Or maybe join #TrashTuesdays and take 10 minutes to pick up litter while you’re out walking that shelter dog?

10. Take matters into your own hands

Agreed, this one takes a little more time and effort. But is there a certain topic that’s close to your heart, and are you passionate about making a change? Then why not get started with your own citizen proposal? Gather the signatures you need and put your proposal on the council’s agenda, join a group of like-minded peers, or why not join local politics? Become a member of a local party, help them with the campaigning in your city or municipality, or even get on the list yourself!

As citizens, we hold more power than we think. We can drastically change and improve our communities and the lives of the people in them if we put our minds to it. So let’s get to work! How are you going to start?

Politics is an area that you may feel like you don’t have a say, but your participation can make a big difference. You have control over the amount of time (and money) you want to contribute, but one thing is critical — you must vote! If you don’t vote, you have no right or leverage to complain about politics, politicians, or government. Check out the following things you can do to be politically active:

Register to vote.

Vote in every election.

Join a political party.

Vote in primaries.

Read and listen to the information about the candidates — cast an informed vote.

Ask questions of candidates and elected officials.

Don’t hesitate to tell officials when they’ve done something you don’t like.

Thank officials when they do something you do like.

Use your phone, the mail, your fax, your computer e-mail — let your representatives hear from you often.

Circulate petitions and join with others who think as you do.

Become a delegate to a national convention

About the Book Author

Ann M. DeLaney is currently a Standing Trustee in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for the Southern District of Indiana. She was the first woman to serve as Chair of a major political party in Indiana and the first woman nominated by a major party as a candidate for Indiana Lieutenant Governor. She has been a delegate to state and national party conventions.

Regardless of what you believe about politics and politicians, local politicians are often much more beholden to their constituency than national politicians. It seems the higher up the food chain you go, the more the politicians are not only corrupt, but they’re often spoken for and bound to the special interest groups that helped get them where they are. You see, on the way up, people aren’t the only ones who politicians make promises to. A special interest group is a group of people or an organization seeking or receiving special advantages, typically through political lobbying. Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials in a government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups).

How to Get Involved in Local Politics

T.D Jakes said “Jesus told the church to go into all the world and somehow we [interpreted that to mean] bring the world to church.” With so much disenchantment about politics going around, it’s easy to throw your hands up and be totally done with it all. The flood of information in this day and age makes following conflict of any kind exhausting. While that’s understandable, it hasn’t been so exhausting that people have stopped spouting off at the mouth about the current state of affairs. Political memes and rants on social media timelines abound.

All that said, talk is cheap, and internet talk is cheaper. Local politics are the best place to have the kind of impact that affects your day-to-day life. If you’re looking to get active, LocalVictory.com is a website that exists for one reason—to teach candidates, campaign staff, political organizations, volunteers and activists how to win political campaigns. They have some great pointers on how to get involved in your local political party:

1. Go to Meetings
The single best way to get to know your local party leaders and candidates, as well as other activists, is to go to your town or county political committee meetings. These meetings are usually open to any member of the party, and provide a great opportunity for you to not only get to know other people in the party, but to learn about the issues facing your community as well. Call your local party to find out the time and location of these meetings.

2. Volunteer at Headquarters
If you want to stay on top of the latest campaign news, learn how to run a campaign, or are thinking about running for office yourself, there is no better place to learn than at your local party’s headquarters. Spend a few hours each week at “HQ.” You will start off stuffing envelopes and answering phones, but you will soon have the opportunity for more responsibility and access. Keep your eyes open and learn all you can.

3. Work on a Campaign
There is nothing more exciting than working on a campaign. Call a local candidate and offer to volunteer on the campaign. More likely than not, the campaign will be glad to have you for whatever amount of time you can spare. During the campaign, you will gain invaluable political experience and contacts, and get to participate in the thrill of political campaigning. Volunteers do everything from planning events to going door-to-door to meet the voters.

4. Start an Affiliated Party Organization
If you are a good organizer and feel up to the challenge, think about starting a local political organization or club in your community. There is any number of clubs that you can start, as well as established groups that are looking to expand into new areas, including the Young Republicans or Young Democrats, etc.

5. Get your Friends and Family Involved
Once you start to get involved in local politics, encourage your friends and family to get involved too. By building your own organization of committed activists, you can provide an invaluable service to the local party. Campaigns will know they can call on you to quickly raise volunteers or hold events. This is an especially valuable tactic if you are planning to run for office in the future.

6. Run for Office
The pinnacle of involvement in local party politics is running for office yourself. There are probably dozens of offices you can run for in your area — start off small and work your way up. Think about running for party offices — such as Democratic or Republican committeeman or committeewoman, as well as civic offices, such as judge of elections, school board, or town council. Call party headquarters to ask what offices are up for election soon, and whether candidates are needed for any of these races.

7. Stay Informed
As you volunteer, get involved, and run for office, make sure to stay informed about local issues, as well as new political techniques and strategy. Read your local paper(s) and regional magazines, and attend civic and town hall meetings.

8. Do It!
Don’t wait. Benjamin Franklin said, “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again”. If you truly want to get involved with local party politics, the time to start is now. Pick out a few of the techniques outlines above, call your local party, and tell them you want to help. Volunteer, organize, work a campaign or run for office…but whatever you do, start today.

1. Check your voter registration status, or register to vote, if you haven’t yet!

Check or update your voter registration in Washington at bit.ly/registerWA and in Montana at bit.ly/registerMontana

As a member of SEIU 775, you are part of what’s been called “the most influential labor organization in state and local politics” and a “political powerhouse.”

Every year, caregivers volunteer to knock on doors, pass petitions, make phone calls, send letters and emails, lobby legislators, work on campaigns, and donate money to elect officials who support us and those we care for.

Our political action and the contributions we make to SEIU COPE or the SEIU 775 Montana PAC are one way caregivers hold politicians accountable to do the right thing.

Your contribution to SEIU COPE or SEIU 775 Montana PAC help makes that difference. When we rise together, we win together.

3. Sign up to get other caregivers involved in politics

How to Get Involved in Local Politics

If you’re a caregiver in Washington state and would like to work this election season to make sure we elect candidates who will fight by our side to help caregivers and those we care for, watch your email leading up to elections to apply to be a temporary Member Political Organizer.

The Member Political Organizer (MPO) is a paid internship program with our caregivers’ union, SEIU 775. It is not permanent employment and you will need to make arrangements for your client’s care while you are gone, or request to take time off if you are employed by an agency.

What do Member Political Organizers do?

As a Member Political Organizer, you’ll talk with other caregivers about the election and our endorsed candidates and ballot issues through phone calls, member meetings, and visits at their homes.

You are the key to making a difference in this election and building lasting long-term political power with and for caregivers.

We’re looking for SEIU 775 caregivers who:

  • Have a passion for politics, building political power for caregivers and making a difference in your community
  • Can work at least 20 hours per week between Oct. 7 and the Nov. 5 election, including evenings, weekends, and possible in-state overnight travel.
  • Love communicating with others about why our vote and voice is important
  • Are licensed to drive in Washington, have access to a car (and insurance), and a smartphone.
  • Can work independently and as part of a team
  • Want new knowledge and skills to help them succeed