By Gabe Hartwell
Everyone is wrapped up in the presidential election, but in the long run, what is going to affect your daily life more? Most of the issues you want fixed could probably be solved by a local candidate much better than by the president. A lot of the things the presidential candidates say they are going to change are actually controlled by local government. If they say they are going to increase/decrease school funding they actually have little say in what funding the schools get. The funding is either controlled by the school board or the council members of the city/state council.
In the interview with Dave Norris, former mayor of Charlottesville, he talked about how he finally increased the funding of affordable housing in Charlottesville. If it weren’t for him there could have been many more people still on the streets. The federal government had nothing to do with the housing of those people. Local politicians are also much more reachable than someone higher up like the president; if you send a letter or in some way try to reach out them, you are much more likely to get a response. For instance, when I was in 6th grade I had an idea for a bill related to license restriction due to a DUI, and my mom contacted Dave Norris and he responded happily. He drove us both to the Richmond capitol building and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
The local council also controls the funding for roads, parks, public playgrounds, etc. If you have potholes in your roads or you think your local parks need attention, it is all handled by local politicians. There are also city council meetings that happen pretty frequently in which you can voice any concerns you have. The meeting times for November are the 7th and the 21st. The meetings for December are the 5th and 19th.
Overall, never forget how you can make a difference. Always try to bring out issues you think need addressing and don’t be afraid to speak up. Our local politicians will listen to your concerns and will do what they can to fix them. Don’t ever think local elections don’t matter and “one vote won’t do anything”, because it does.