Look, Listen and Learn
Getting involved with democracy and your local government can start with gathering information from reliable resources, including: newspapers, television and radio shows; websites and government publications; and from talking with and listening to other people interested in public policy. These types of outlets can keep you informed of what is going on in your community. It’s good practice to consult a variety of sources in order to form a thoughtful opinion of issues.
Contact Your Representatives
Write a letter, call or email a government official to express your concerns or ideas. Legislators are especially interested in hearing from their constituents since their work is centered in creating laws to address problems. Doing research (as explained above) should help to ensure your comments are given consideration.
You may want to find other people or organizations that value the same ideas as you. Working as a group will help to raise more awareness of your concerns and possibly help to build support. You may start or sign a petition to show other people share your concerns. Public rallies and marches also show widespread interest in an issue.
You can speak up by attending public hearings or ask to speak at committee meetings. Be prepared to share accurate, well-reasoned ideas and to answer questions. You can also speak up by using bumper stickers, wearing t-shirts or using lawn signs; these ideas are just a few everyday tools you can use to spread your message.
Every election is a chance to “hire” someone to make our government work for us. Learn about the candidates and where they stand on issues. Then vote for whomever you think is the best for the job. In addition to voting, you can help campaign for a candidate you like, or maybe even run yourself!