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Why should you be involved in your local government?

Time Magazine

Corryn Brock, Reporter

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It is important to get involved with all levels of government so you are aware of what is happening and so you can make your voice heard.

Civics teacher, Ms. McKinney, says, “voting is important because it’s our way to influence government and get our point of view across. People fought and died for your right to vote so it’s worth being inconvenienced for fifteen minutes.” However, voting isn’t the only way you can get involved in the government. Listed below is how you can get involved in government and politics.

1.Learn who your officials are and contact them.

It is important to know who is representing you no matter what level of government they work for, so when there is a bill coming through or something you would like them to take a stance on, you can contact and ask them to vote a certain way. (Don’t feel like you’re being pushy, it’s their job to represent YOU.)

Representatives for Macon:

Federal

President: Donald Trump

Vice-President: Mike Pence

Senators: Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth

Representative: Rodney Davis

State

Governor: Bruce Rauner

Lieutenant Governor: Evelyn Sanguinetti

Senator: Chapin Rose

Representative: Brad Halbrook

 

2. Attend town hall meetings.

When you attend town hall meetings, you can learn what is going on in your community. You can ask questions and meet the people responsible for solving issues in your town. These events are free to the public and should always be open to the public.

3. Join a political party.

A lot of people view political parties as choosing the lesser of two evils, and sometimes that actually is the case. It’s up to you to decide which party you side with and who you want to vote for. Joining a political party can help you learn more about candidates and see if their views line up with yours. Of course, you don’t have to join a party and you can vote independently. Sometimes you may feel you have to vote for a specific party all the time, which is far from the truth. Vote for who you believe will best represent you, not who you think you have to vote for.

4. Peaceful protests can spread the word.

From Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr., peaceful protests can be extremely effective in making your voice heard. It is important to be strong in these protests and not back down, but also make sure you aren’t inciting violence or being violent yourself. Violence may get the word out faster, but it may make your protest seem less valid.

5. If you find an organization fighting for something you believe in, support it.

Supporting organizations you believe are creating a positive change is an amazing way to get involved. You can get as involved as much or as little as you would like, from telling your friends about becoming a member to leading others within the organization.

6. Research, research, research!

Don’t believe everything you see online. Fake news is alive and well on the internet and it’s important you don’t just assume the truth about things that seem outlandish.

7. Run for office.

Running for office when you come of age is an AWESOME way to get involved. If there isn’t someone who you feel represents your wants and needs, you can always be that person for yourself. Get a campaign together and start gathering those votes.

You can vote in the primaries later this month on March 20. Early bird voting is always an option if you would like to get it out of the way. If you haven’t registered to vote, the website to register for the upcoming election is https://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationClosed.aspx . It is currently closed, but you may be able to take advantage of the grace period.

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