(PresidentialInsider.com) – At the local, state, and federal levels, elected officials make decisions that impact the average American’s daily life. They decide on issues such as property taxes, law enforcement funding, Social Security, roads, bridges, and even that stoplight at the entrance of your subdivision.
Public opinion drives many of the choices they make for their constituents. Happy voters mean they are likely to keep their jobs when the next election rolls around. But to make the right decisions, they must know what the people they represent are thinking.
That’s where civic engagement comes in. Here are three ways to make your voice heard.
1. Show Up
When your elected officials hold public events, be sure to show up and speak out. Ask any questions you are curious about. Tell them how you feel about a particular issue. Speak about problems that you believe are facing your community, and give your representative suggestions on what they could do to fix the problem.
Remember, every law started as an idea from someone, and your concerns might be just what your representative needs to spark an idea and implement change.
2. Use the Resources Available
Town Hall events aren’t the only way to speak to your public officials. You can also call, fax, and email their offices.
If you aren’t sure how to get in touch with your federal representatives, visit this site for your congressperson and here for your senator. After you enter the appropriate information, it will provide you with your officials’ contact information.
Calling your representatives might be one of the most effective ways to let them know how you feel about particular issues. You can even tell them how you’d like them to vote on bills.
Occasionally, you might have to make your officials hear you. One way to do this is to stage a peaceful demonstration where they are, like outside of their office. The Tea Party did this in 2009 and 2010. Their efforts were so effective they flipped Congress and elected people who felt the same way they did about the direction the country was going.
You can take small steps, like getting involved in campaigns. Or if you are the type of person who believes in the “go big or go home” philosophy, you could run for office. No matter what you decide, just be sure to make your voice heard.
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