Local elections are boring. It is hard for us to get excited about new sidewalks or changes to school funding formulas when the stories that dominate the news involve life-or-death fights over healthcare, a rapidly changing energy economy, and turbulent international relations.
But we should care about our local elections because the future of life in Northern Virginia will be decided on Nov. 7 of this year.
When we go to the polls to vote for the House of Delegates, we will be deciding whether Northern Virginia will remain a political stronghold with the power to swing the entire Commonwealth, like it did in 2016. When the Virginia General Assembly redraws our congressional districts in 2020 after the census, one of the top priorities for Virginia Republicans will be to strip Northern Virginia of this power.
They know that a neutered NoVa would mean that Richmond Republicans would get to decide the future of the Commonwealth.
The single best way to ensure that we aren’t stripped of our voice on significant national issues like healthcare or taxes is for you to look up your current Delegate and who might be challenging them in this year’s election.
There are experienced representatives, like Kathleen Murphy in the 34th District, who have fought not only on important broader issues like curbing gun violence, but also on everyday issues like working to reduce traffic congestion during your commute. There are challengers like Cheryl Buford that haven’t even put out a platform of issues and are just banking on getting large numbers of votes and huge donations simply because of their party affiliation.
There are times when it can seem like candidates are basically the same, or that neither is preferable. This is not one of those times.
National elections can make you feel like a needle in a haystack. We all wonder “How much does my voice matter here?” But these local races are happening right now, and the electorates aren’t states or regions, they’re your neighborhoods. If you show up, you will be heard. But you have to show up.
If you feel disenfranchised — if you want to make a decision that will have a lasting impact on your community — get involved now and turn out to vote on Nov. 7.