If your community matters to you, Vote! by Jenny-Marie Stryker
2022 is a big year for elections. We have local, state, and federal elections to contend with. While choosing our leadership is of utmost importance, what we are electing them to make decisions on is the real focus. There are different levels of government–federal, state, and local. Every one of these leaders is essential.
Our federal leaders control many policies that affect our daily lives. To name just a few: this includes who controls federal land and whether that land can be leased out to oil, gas, and mining development; voting on our Supreme Court Justices that decide on essential cases like the right to bodily autonomy and gay marriage; the national response to Covid-19 and economic problems; and major investment in our infrastructure and climate resilience across the nation. While not all these decisions are as clear as whether the trash gets picked up on time or the roads are plowed, they affect our lives in many seen and unseen ways.
On the same ballot that you’ll be casting votes for US Senate and US Congress will be the election for state leaders, including your State House Representative, State Senator, and Governor and Lieutenant Governor. These officials are in charge of things like statewide renewable energy policy, election rules like early voter registration and requirements that allow voters a chance to fix an issue with their ballot after they voted, and the permanent fund dividend. There are 40 House districts, each representing about 18,000 people, and 20 Senate districts (each representing two house districts).
There are also local elections for the municipalities, boroughs, cities, and villages across the state. This October in Fairbanks, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and Fairbanks City will elect new Assembly and Council members and a City Mayor. These leaders control things that you’re probably more familiar with, like snow removal, recycling and trash pickup, and property taxes–and things that might not be as easy to see, such as renewable energy investments and other climate policies.
You’ll likely hear a lot about how it’s important to vote in this election (and you probably already have heard messages from candidates asking for your vote.) That message is true–but it is missing a critical perspective: Voting is the easiest way to say you care about your community and make your voice heard for the type of future you want for your family, our country, cities, town, and nation.
Join me in voting!
Jenny-Marie Stryker is the Political Director of the Alaska Center. She is a (slow) hiker and a proud voter in her local, state and federal public service elections.
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