Why local offices matter

I work in politics, but in the hours after Sandy struck New York, the only elected officials on my mind were those in my neighborhood.

I admit it. There are times I don’t think much about my local elected officials. Until disaster strikes. I’ve been moved by the response of our Mayor, Governor, and President, but it was my local elected officials that made sure fire hydrants were opened on streets without tap water, that churches and volunteer organizations were knocking on doors to see who needed help, and tracking downed trees, transformer explosions, and flooding, and sharing all that information with the utilities companies, agencies, and other elected officials who could make a difference.

In the world of politics, these are the first responders.

A few of the issues that get decided by the municipality and the state:
Environmental regulations:

  • Fracking
  • Coal standards
  • Investment in solar or wind energy
  • Investments in highways and/or public transportation

Women’s health:

  • Access to contraception
  • Restrictions on abortion
  • Insurance coverage for low-income children
  • Hospital closures, OB/GYN care in hospitals


  • Class size
  • School Budget
  • Charter School Rules

The race between presidential candidates will be close this year. Really close. But that isn’t the only reason it is imperative that we all get out to vote tomorrow. There are important choices on your ballot that affect your neighborhood, your children’s schools, and your community spaces. Your city and state elections can influence national clean energy and women’s health policy. So get informed, and call your neighbors, and vote down the ticket this election.

About the Author

Jessica’s expertise is in expanding the electorate to include youth, union members, people of color, and low income voters. Jessica directed New York State’s largest legislative advocacy organization, the SEIU-backed Healthcare Education Project (HEP), and managed the nine top priority states for the historic election of Barack Obama.