Why Everyone Should Get Involved in Local Politics

Written by Chad Faust



A number of people I talk to tell me they just can’t really get into politics, that it isn’t something very interesting or that it’s something they can’t seem to get passionate about. However, the important thing to realize is that politics affects us every single day of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Laws and legislation are impacting our lives daily, sometimes drastically, other times insignificantly. We can sit and complain about the things that affect us everyday but ultimately nothing can be done unless we make an effort to try and enact change. If you’re looking to bring about a social change to an issue, community, or even the world, local politics is a good place to start.


Last year I had the opportunity to be a fellow on Melvin Carter’s campaign for Saint Paul Mayor. It was my call to action, a time in my life that has inspired me to work towards a career in politics. Prior to this experience I had dabbled in politics only slightly, volunteering for Hillary Clinton campaign leading up to the 2016 election by making phone calls and knocking on doors. I didn’t quite know what to expect joining Melvin’s campaign, but what I received was an experience I’ll never forget. Listening to voter concerns and ideas that the community had and continues to have were crucial building blocks for me in learning more about my hometown of Saint Paul. Campaign work allows you to get a better understanding of your neighbors, your friends and family, and about the issues and ideas that really matter to them. There’s a lot about a community that we can’t always see on the surface - but when we look closer, there are a lot of new messages to uncover.


There is something unique about a political campaign experience that you can’t always get in other aspects of life: a collection of people working together to not just elect someone who shares your values and is willing to fight for you, but for an idea and a message that you hope will bring change to a community. For me, personally, trying to elect Melvin was more than putting a name to a position. The messages that he stood for, the ideals of the people of Saint Paul he represented, were just as important. He acknowledged that too, often saying that the people he represents were the real backbone of his campaign, not himself. He was and still is the carrier of a message far stronger than just himself, a message that resonates with the people of Saint Paul.


Whether it’s knocking on doors, making phone calls or just talking with folks, it’s important to become more immersed in your community, to understand why things are the way they are. Because politics affects almost everything we do in life, it’s important to look at our surroundings and wonder how we can make things better for the people around us. Getting involved locally ensures that you are anything but a bystander in your community and that you will stand up and fight for what you feel is right.


I encourage everyone to experience local politics, whether you have a passion for it or not. No matter which way you’re politically inclined, there’s a great deal to be learnt from the people around you, and it makes a difference to listen to the things in their community that impact them the most. Every one of us can help enact the change we want to see - but only as long as we all try to be a part of the process. Listen to people, work with people, and change the world.


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead