For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Aug 01 2017
by Ben Norrito

The Importance of Local Politics for College Students

By Ben Norrito - Aug 01 2017

Oftentimes, our political news focuses on the national and international levels. From Trump to Congress to Russia, mainstream news outlets tend to try to talk about what affects us all. Because of this, local politics is often overshadowed and many people know little to nothing about what is going on near them. Oftentimes, they believe that some positions have no need and that no impact would be felt. However, local politics has a direct impact on your life, and it is important to be aware of it. 

Due to this lack of interest, many candidates run unopposed, or there is very low voter turnout. This means that a very small percentage of the population decides on someone who actually has a large impact on said population. This shows a lack of dedication by the American people to possibly the most important level of government (especially young people, the group politics impacts the longest). Since the United States is a representative democracy, all representatives are important, which is why it is so necessary to pay attention to local politics. 

Local politics affect your water, public transport, zoning and much more. They dictate the basic rules that you have to follow. Some things you might not like in your life probably fall under the jurisdiction of your local government. Since America is a federalist system, state and local government often have more power than the federal government on many issues. If you don't pay attention to these levels of government, issues that are important to you may go a way you may not like. The only way to change the problems you want to be fixed is to speak with your ballot. Vote and tell people how you want politics to be.

Living in a democracy, local politics affect everyone. Even though it may not seem like you can make a big impact, as a college student and a citizen of America, you really have the opportunity to create long-term change that you will actually benefit from. It is important for you to make your voice heard and shape America in the image you want it to be.

Local government is a major and under appreciated part of the United States political system. It gives a loud voice to the common man and allows the area to adapt to the specific needs of its people. That’s the beauty of American federalism. Start paying attention to your local politics, and you can change the world.

Lead Image Credit: Elliot Stallion via Unsplash

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Ben Norrito - SUNY New Paltz

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