The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Local politics are wrongly overlooked

Local politics are important to the fabric of our country, and people need to pay more attention to them.
Cody Blissett
The Iowa City Council holds a meeting in Iowa City on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.

Democracy thrives at the local level, but only 15 percent of voters participate in local elections.

Local politicians, such as school boards, mayors, and state representatives and senators, play an important role in the daily lives of the communities they serve, but they only hear the voices of a small percentage of their constituents. This hurts local democracy; A concept the country was founded on.

Many people will ignore or overlook local politics as they feel it is not important, but local politics have a big impact on people’s daily lives, including taxes, budget allocation, and laws and policies that affect the daily lives of the community. Local politics are closer to the more direct democracy we value.

While governors live in capital cities and state members of Congress can spend months at a time in Washington D.C., local politicians are almost always members of their own community. The accessibility of these politicians mimics that of ancient Greek democracy. Today it is easier than ever to reach out to politicians and make your views and priorities known.

Local politics make it incredibly easy to participate in democracy. You are not able to sit in on Congress while they meet or have a direct meeting with the President. But you are able to sit in on school board meetings, city councils, or ask for a meeting with your city’s mayor.

This gives the citizens a stronger presence in the operation and opinion of the government, which in turn, is a more democratic populous system than that at the federal level.

Younger people often overlook the need to be involved at the lower levels of politics. As citizens, it is still important for them to express their ideas. It is easy for local politicians to overlook the wants and needs of younger citizens when they are less vocal.

Voting is not the only way to get involved. There are city council or school board meetings that are open to the public, including here in Iowa City. This is a great way to see how the system works first-hand, and to get a better understanding of our government. This is also a way to directly talk with community members and representatives.

Local politics are the bedrock of our democratic system, but many people ignore their community elections and meetings. Our country values democracy and allows every individual citizen to have the ability to impact their government, which should be acknowledged.

Local government has a bigger impact on our day to day lives than we realize. It is easy to dismiss local elections as trivial, but participation in local elections and politics would help shape a government that better represents its community and stays true to its democratic roots.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributors
Caden Bell
Caden Bell, Opinions Columnist
Caden Bell is a third year transfer student student at The University of Iowa majoring in Ethics and Public Policy. This is his first year at the The Daily Iowan.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.