Last May the Fairfax County School Board — at the behest of the Obama Administration — forced a policy promoting transgenderism on parents and citizens who showed up in droves at the meeting to protest it. This is the theme of my Federalist article today: “Ask Not Who’s Running for President, Ask Who’s Running for School Board.” Since school boards are local and nonpartisan elections, they tend to have very low level interest and can therefore end up in the hands of organized insiders with their own agendas. In the video below, you can watch at the 1:13:50 mark as one true representative of the people, Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz speaks before the vote. (She’s not the one pictured in the frame. She was the sole vote against in the 10-1 “ruling” with one abstention.)
This school board meeting illustrates just how enormous the impact of local elections is on our lives. It’s beyond belief how little consideration people give them. So few of us know who our local representatives are. And yet it’s so easy to find them because they’re our neighbors! This feeds right into my blog’s theme about the power of personal relationships. And if we don’t watch out, local officials easily become cronies of the federal government, instead of tending to the best interests of the citizens.
Your child’s school curricula, public transportation, zoning, and “gun free zones” are just a few of the areas of local impact. So when citizens don’t engage — or if they’re totally preoccupied with the glitz of the national stage of the presidential elections — they end up allowing less responsive officials to take over locally. And in a one-party system, corruption finds its way in very easily.
Next week, on November 3 there will be local elections held throughout the nation. Will any take place in your community? If you don’t know, please find out! Learn about your candidates and get out to the polls and vote. And spread the word so that neighbors also go out and vote for good candidates. If you need to gather information, you can start with ballotpedia. Here’s a link for municipal elections: http://ballotpedia.org/United_States_municipal_elections,_2015 To get you started on finding information for school boards, here’s their page for the school board election in Fairfax County, Virginia: http://ballotpedia.org/Fairfax_County_Public_Schools,_Virginia One of the first things it notes is that there is currently a Democrat majority of 10-2 on that Board, based on endorsements. It doesn’t have to be that way. Though Fairfax County has been trending leftward for the past few years, it is nowhere near that lopsided in reality.
For County information you may have to dig a big deeper – into the website for your local paper or local “Patch” at patch.com perhaps. You can also learn more about your county leadership by going to the website for the National Association of Counties.
Here’s an excerpt from my article today:
All too often our local officials are elected by default. There is high turnout by insiders, and particularly organized get-out-the-vote efforts by teachers’ unions and others with power stakes in the local machines.
Conversely—and ironically—there is much lower turnout by ordinary citizens whose lives the elections most affect. And turnout in local elections has actually been plummeting, according to some recent research. . .
We tend not to pay attention even though many of us may intuitively understand that the decisions of our local officials have a far more direct impact on our lives than those of a federal government that can keep its distance. The trick is to keep local power local, and that means paying attention to who’s minding the store locally.