While working on a paper for grad school, I came across an interesting statistic. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center poll, “two-thirds of those surveyed (67%) have a favorable opinion of their local government, compared with 35% for the federal government. In addition, nearly three-quarters (73%) say the quality of candidates running for local office in recent elections has been good; just 41% say the same about the quality of presidential candidates.” (I will not cite APA style since I don’t have to but the link is here)
This statistic does not surprise me, especially the part about “favorable opinion of their local government.” We, you and I, are the faces of local government! When a citizen has an issue with their water bill, they speak to real people like you and I. When a resident has speeding issues in their community, we meet them where they are to solve problems.
In contrast, there is daily chaos or perceived daily chaos occurring within state and federal governments. You turn on Fox, CNN, MSNBC or you name it and see pundits screaming, yelling and accomplishing little. However, when you turn on your local news station, you are more inclined to see the good that is actually happening. In my opinion, the world is not in utter chaos and in large part, this is due to local government. In my eyes, what is happening down the street it is far more important than what is happening in the District of Columbia (sorry, not sorry, if you happen to live down the street from DC). Safety, transportation, leisure activities, water quality and decent neighborhoods are all byproducts of local government.
When there is a problem in my community, I am able to get in touch with a city councilmember or city employee to get the issue fixed. When I don’t like something at the federal level, well, I get little to no response; just a lot of rhetoric on TV. I see federal officials playing hardball and focusing on differences. Locally, I see groups from different parties, often non-partisan, coming together to provide real solutions.
Polls such as this one make me proud to work in local government. There is room for improvement; this is where ELGL comes in. ELGL is striving to help us learn from and connect with the remaining 33% of residents who do not, “have a favorable opinion of their local government”. With our members, we can improve upon this statistic and change the face of local government!
I would love to hear your thoughts in public, private or in our members-only section. #MorningBuzz