***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

If 2020 taught us anything — and I think everyone would admit it taught us a lot — it is that state and local politics are vitally important. And they are much more important than we realized before last year.

Money and attention flow into federal elections. We know that. Millions of dollars are wasted — err, spent — on federal seats. More money is infiltrating state-level politics, but the reality is the average voter doesn’t care near enough about what happens at the state and local level.

That must change.

I know, I know. The strong focus on national politics and sharp division is tiresome and it wears us out. By the time we get to these “little” local elections, we kind of don’t care.

I mean, we do. But we don’t…at least not like we do when it comes to Congress, Senate or the Presidency.

And that is what must change.

Our system was not set up for most of the power to be centralized in Washington D.C. The more local the form of government, the more power over our daily life it should have.

A quick recap of 2020 reflects that.

There was no national mask mandate. There were statewide mandates — depending on the governor.

There were county mandates — depending on the county.

There were city mandates — depending on the city council.

There were school district mandates — depending on the school board.

These local elections matter.

And, with concerns over a likely Joe Biden presidency, the federal government is only going to try and grab more and more power.

Which is where the state legislatures have to be prepared to stick up for states’ rights.

Remember, those power not delegated to the federal government specifically in the Constitution are supposed to reside with individual states.

This means state legislatures should have far more say over your daily life than federal legislators.

Unfortunately our “system” is in need of a realignment.

If people learned the lesson of 2020, then perhaps we’ll receive the realignment we need.

If we continue to care less about school board elections, city council elections, county supervisor elections, etc. then we deserve what we get. Because we allow it.

Look at voter turnout. There is a ton of apathy when it comes to local politics.

And it isn’t always about not voting — there are other ways to participate. With all the criticisms and complaints about local governments in 2020, one should expect to see an incredible increase in the number of people willing to roll up their sleeves and run for office — whether that be school board, city council, county supervisor, etc.

Get involved. Become engaged. Make an impact.

That’s one lesson we should carry from 2020.

Author: Jacob Hall