Opinion: Local government is incredibly important, but often ignored


When it comes time for elections everyone thinks of the presidential race, and maybe the senators and representatives. A few may even think of the governor, but almost no one thinks about the local government. Local government at the town, county, and state-level have the most impact on people’s lives and yet are ignored the most.

During election time political ads and smear campaigns constantly interrupt TV, YouTube, and the radio but they are all for Senators or Presidents, the local level seems dramatically underrepresented. This lack of awareness is a symptom of a larger issue with local government: outreach. 

The lack of awareness is a result of local government officials’ lack of significant effort to get potential voters involved. Local efforts seem mostly limited to the occasional community outreach program or the signs that are packed together on the side of the road. This creates a huge problem in that a small number of dedicated voters are representing the whole of their town or county. A larger voter base can only better the representation the local government provides.

Hotly contested issues are usually determined by the state instead of the federal government, but it is more than just the governor that controls these decisions. There is an entire state legislature to vote for and they decide everything from labor laws to the legal status of abortion. Change is not going to be made by some far-off bureaucrat in DC, change comes from the bottom up by making informed decisions at the district level.


It is a shame that local government flies under the radar so often because local officials are the closest to their constituents and therefore have much more insight into the daily lives of the people they represent. A president who sits in the oval office and lords over millions simply cannot provide the individual attention that a city or county needs. Local representatives are important, they see and hear the people they affect in a way higher leaders can not.

It is not all doom and gloom though, the beauty of local government is that individuals matter much more than at the federal level. This means that there is an easy way to create change: simply start voting or actively look for other ways to participate in local government. Encourage others to vote or visit one of the many websites Arizona has set up. There is a website for just about every town, county, and state has a website that can be found by searching for the name of the place followed by “local government.” 

Local government is where people’s voices are really heard, and change is created. Residents can only benefit by voicing their opinion and ensuring that their community is well represented.