In my latest article that was published in the Oxford Journals, I draw upon my nine years of experience as an elected council member for the City of Artesia, California to identify and organize local activities that will facilitate access to local government.
It is imperative for communities to reach out to their local government because their local government officials are responsible for many of the things we rely upon every day. Some of those include the freeway and street infrastructure that our communities drive on, the public education that our communities enroll their children in, and the public transportation that our communities use to get from point A to point B. Some constituents may feel that there needs to be improvements in the public services offered by local government and some constituents may be right.
But the most effective way to make those improvements is for residents and constituents to engage with city hall to implement those changes.
It’s also easier to access and engage with local officials, than it is to access and engage with county, state, or federal officials. The local elected officials work where residents often work and reside where residents reside. There also various ways to easily engage with local government, such as through residents’ neighborhoods and communities. Neighbors can interact with each other about something that may be concerning their particular neighborhood and, in turn, bring that to their local government official’s attention. Communities can also rally together for a community cause and urge their local elected official to back their concern.
In the article, I also state that not every interaction with local officials has to be so formal. Your elected officials are often at local community events, block parties, or shows. In a more relaxed setting, it may be easier to broach topics of concern or interest with your officials than in the setting of city hall.
Overall, a community’s engagement with the officials it has elected goes a long way in making lasting change. With community’s active interest and engagement in the outcome of its neighborhood, the quality of life will improve for the entire community.