Why Local Elections Matter (Go Vote!)

By Briana Brady, Opinion Editor–

Today marks Election Day for the City of Chattanooga! Not only will the city be voting for its next mayor, but also, many contentious City Council seats are on the ballot this time around. Following the thrill of the presidential election season, local elections can feel less exciting; the stakes can feel lower and the general level of engagement is certainly down.

That being said, local elections MATTER. Here is a brief list of why you should vote today for our city’s next leaders:

  1. The mayor is the CEO of the City. Not only does the mayor make most key decisions in city planning and budgeting, but he/she also appoints key positions (like the chief of police) and oversees the city’s daily operations.
  2. City council members are those who stand between laws being approved and budgets being passed. They are the executors of the mayor’s initiatives and efforts, in many regards.
  3. Local representatives are actually more REPRESENTATIVE of their constituents than state or national elected officials, purely because the voting population is more restricted, so each vote weighs more than it would in a bigger pool.
  4. City politics isn’t always the show that Washington is. Because there aren’t quite as many power grabs and hoops to jump through, with the right leadership and organization, theoretically, more can get done.
  5. Cities have the potential to really shape an identity of their own, and that identity is often cultivated and spearheaded by the mayor and city council members. In order to direct Chattanooga towards the path you seek for it to travel down next, you need to vote for the elected official that represents your views most closely.

That being said, I am endorsing Monty Bruell for the next mayor of Chattanooga. I am drawn in by Monty’s ability to be very personable and his seeming genuineness. I very much like his thinking behind the need for affordable housing, free public transportation, and senior services. He understands the intersections between equity and growth. He is conscience of the need for a progressive agenda through an inclusive approach.

I am confident that Monty will be lead Chattanooga in the direction it needs to go. However, you may think differently–and that’s okay. The important thing is that you vote, and you cast an informed vote instead of just checking a name. By showing up to vote, you’re sharing your voice with the city and helping it collectively decide what is to come next. We can’t know what’s around the corner, but we can decide who’s there to face it.

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