A vote isn’t a piece of paper with a name on it. A vote is a commitment to someone you believe is going to get the job done.
What is the job exactly?
When your street needs paving, or you’re in the aftermath of a snowstorm and your road wasn’t plowed, you call an elected representative. When cars aren’t following the rules of the road or they are speeding down your street and you’re hoping to get a stop sign put in, you call your representative.
You are driving down the street, around the corner from your home, and you hit a massive pothole. It takes out your entire wheel and you are fuming with anger. You know who to call to fix your car. But who do you call to make sure the city gets the pothole fixed? Once again, it’s your representative, from your district, ward, city or state.
These elected officials have one job, and that is to represent their constituents (you) to the best of their ability.
If a cell tower is proposed for your neighborhood and you are worried about the ramifications, their job is to hear you out. You hear rumors that a sober house or a mental hospital is going up two blocks away and you have questions you want answered, you call your city councilor to provide you with those resources.
If you don’t like what is going on in the city or there are issues in your neighborhood that aren’t being addressed, you have the power to change that. And, that power doesn’t end on the city side.
What do parents love more than anything? Their children. What is the most important aspect of a child’s life? Education. That’s why there is a body of elected officials whose purpose is to make sure a community’s public school administration is putting its students (and educators) first.
If your child is in need of individualized special education and you have concerns regarding the school’s process or procedures, you call a school committee member. When you have ideas about how to make your child’s school more inclusive, or want to organize fundraisers to bring in more money, you call a school committee member.
In a city like Lynn, where student overcrowding and the desperate need for new schools are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, electing school committee members who you think represent your beliefs is vital.
But city councilors and school committee members get elected by you getting out and voting for them.
The only way to create change is to use your voice, and the best use of your voice is to vote. Change doesn’t start big, it starts small. It starts with you.
What does a vote get you? It gets you a say in what happens in your community.