We’ve talked about the importance of personal or political participation, as well as the ways to get involved and the basic concerns of running for political office. Ask yourself: Are you interested? Could you actually win?
Many who answer ‘yes’ to the first question will stop themselves at the second. While public service is an exciting prospect, it can be intimidating, especially to those outside of traditional political circles.
Representative government thrives on diversity. Things are slowly starting to get better. However, misconceptions remain that in order to compete at the ballot or succeed in office at even local levels, a person needs to have some formal training or education. In many cases, this simply isn’t so.
Nearly anyone with personal or professional experience has something to offer as an elected official. Teachers understand how policies affect the classroom. Business owners know the impact of the tax code on their ability to hire. Veterans have personal insights into the difficult process of obtaining state and federal benefits. Farmers can shed important light on the unique challenges of Michigan’s second biggest industry. Both blue and white collar workers have real, practical experience with rising insurance costs and finding or maintaining employment in a struggling economy.
Public unrest and dissent often find a foothold in those places where government is most distant from the concerns, needs and views of those it serves. While it’s easier and quicker to vent anger and frustration at government and politicians, it’s not guaranteed to lead to positive outcomes.
It takes all kinds to maintain a healthy representative government. Your views matter and many are likely shared among people in your neighborhood, town, and across the state and country. Real leadership starts with the people. If you’re on board, we can get you there.
About the author: Steve Heikkinen serves as the Communications and Marketing Strategist for Grassroots Midwest, Michigan’s only bipartisan political advocacy firm.