All taxpaying citizens should want to have their voice heard. This is especially true when it comes to elected officials passing laws and making other decisions that can make a difference in how the government will operate or spend money in a particular jurisdiction. Even if you aren’t registered to vote, you should make sure to have your opinion is heard. Remember, your tax money is what supports everything the local, state, and federal government does. Elected officials are put in place to protect the interests of all citizens and should not make any distinctions as to whether they are voters or not. Voting can help ensure that you get the person in office that is more in line with your political views, but every elected official is expected to uphold their official duties for the greater good of everyone. The following are a few ways to have your opinions heard outside of the voting booth.
You’re not likely to run into the President of the United States on your way out of the local supermarket, but you certainly have a chance of meeting the town mayor or a state senator. This is the perfect time to voice your opinion on an informal level, after exchanging a few pleasantries. Feel free to drop by their local offices and see if you can catch them in. They are very busy with speaking engagements and meetings usually, but you might be able to find them in their office and available for a few minutes to talk.
The Importance of City Council Meetings
The city council is an important governing body for everyone. They help determine the local tax base, property tax rates, codes, and city ordinances. All of these things directly affect your life every single day. You should want to have your opinion heard at their town hall style meetings. Most offer any citizen three minutes to express their opinion about any matter that has been brought up for debate that night. This is your time to get three minutes of undivided city council attention.
It’s easier to contact state and federal officials by writing letters. You can voice formal complaints regarding policies or fiscal matters in an orderly and concise fashion. This can include any elected official, including departments like Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, or the Department of Justice. Most conservative senior organizations encourage letter writing campaigns since it’s one of the easiest ways to make sure you have a voice in what’s happening at the state and federal level. Traveling to state capitols and Washington, D.C. is not always an option.
When Calling Counts
Although a phone call may be considered an informal way of voicing an opinion, it can prove very effective when there are times that controversial legislation is headed for a show down vote. These are the times when elected officials need to hear from constituents on what they feel the desired outcome should be. You could end up talking to an answering service, but you can bet your representative will get the message and your opinion will be counted. They don’t always listen to every message, but they have aides that will tally up what the consensus is and pass them along for the official to make a good decision for the people. Don’t ever think that your phone call is wasted. They hear your concerns loud and clear, and firmly voiced opinions have been enough to change an official in midstream.
No elected official is put into office to serve themselves; they are there to ensure that the rights of the people are upheld. When you contact your elected officials to let them know your stance on certain issues, you are opting in to playing your part in governmental responsibility.
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Written by Joseph Green. Joseph loves to fish and and spend time with his family.