Whether in person or via streaming video, it’s always great to see local residents interacting with their elected leaders.

At city and county meetings, I have seen people ask questions or express concerns about what is happening in their communities, and they have been able to get an immediate, direct response. That’s such a great privilege to have, and it’s part of being a strong, safe community.

At the national and state levels, there can sometimes be such a disconnect. People often feel that their vote doesn’t count or that their elected leaders really don’t care about the views of the average person so long as they keep getting elected.

I know some especially feel that way when the views of people outside our area might be very different from those who live in small towns and small counties in South Texas. It can be frustrating, for sure.

That’s another reason why the direct interaction with local leadership can be such a breath of fresh air. It’s an example of seeing freedom in action, of feeling that someone is listening and that your views can make a difference.

Several years ago, I talked to a city councilman who was campaigning for local office who was told by one person that he didn’t bother with local elections; he just voted in the “big elections.” 

While it’s commendable that someone votes in the “big elections,” it’s astounding that this man didn’t realize just how important and “big” the local elections are and what an impact these elections can have on a community.

The local tax rate, priorities for infrastructure repairs and the entire direction a community may take are all heavily dependent on local elections. While federal and state elections are important, discounting the impact that local elections can have on your life is very misguided.

I applaud those who sacrifice their time to serve in local government, and I applaud those who take the time to find out what is happening in their communities and who make the effort to let their voices be heard.

There are some places in the world where decisions are handed down from on high, and the average person has no ability to even voice their opinions, let alone make an impact on decisions made by leadership.

Fortunately, we do have the freedom and the power to make our voices heard. It’s something we should definitely never take for granted and something we shouldn’t shrug off and neglect. 

We do have the ability to make a difference, to have a positive impact. Even if it’s only a small difference and a small impact, it can make our community a better place.

•josborne@mysoutex.com•

 

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