Tuesday, 25 June 2024

McCarthy: Decide to be more active in local government

I am decorating our house for the Fourth of July – Old Glory hung near the door where I have placed a patriotic wreath and some pennants drape the porch. It is going to be different this year. Long ago, we said goodbye to fireworks; living in an area prone to wildfires forbids them. This year COVID-19 begs that we skip the parade and the parties. The unrest in our country demands we do something more than any of that.

My social media feed is reminding me to check my voter registration status. Have you checked yours? That’s a very patriotic thing to do in observance of this holiday. It’s a decisive step. Register to vote. Pick a party; it’s up to you; that’s your prerogative!

I invite you to go a step further. I invite you to decide today to be more active in our local levels of government. A few years ago, I started attending meetings for the Cobb Area Council. It is an advisory council to the Lake County Board of Supervisors, like Middletown Area Town Hall, among others. About 18 months later, I found myself in a position of council leadership and organizing events that actually help my community. I found myself in a position to hear the concerns of others and relay those opinions to our district supervisors.

Last summer, I took another step. I started to actively campaign for a candidate I believe in: Jessica Pyska for District 5 Board of Supervisors. I’ve gathered signatures, I’ve hung signs, I wrote postcards, I made phone calls. I even did something that I never thought I would do. I knocked on doors to tell my neighbors about her. And everyone I spoke with (even those who were endorsing other candidates) was nice. I should have said it before now, but thank you District 5 for being so polite and civil!

My latest step was very serendipitous. As a full-time teacher, I have not been able to attend Lake County Board of Supervisors meetings. The shelter in place orders resulted in some openings to my schedule and I was able to listen in and even comment on their discussions since March when the BOS started virtual meetings. It is a great way to be informed of and participate in local decision-making.

Last winter, I took another tentative step. I was encouraged to attend a meeting of the Lake County Democrats. I honestly expected five people to be there. Boy, was I wrong! It was a larger group of about 30 people who were present, of varying ages and professions, from all over Lake County. The meeting was run professionally, but with a welcoming air. I was so impressed with the businesslike mind with which they approached this most basic and local level of political participation. By the following month I was unanimously voted in as representative of my district.

Lately, we are meeting online. I am learning more and more about our representatives at the state and national levels and how they are trying to serve us here in Lake County.

The point is, I find myself participating in our government in a way that makes a real difference. I am not just a spectator or giving commentary on social media. The monthly meetings of the Democrats are informative and dare I say, a little fun? With exciting programs being planned by Susan Cameron (like Second Saturday Cinema) and interesting reports from our chapter president, Deb Baumann, as well as reports from all of the offices of our state and national representatives.

This is a season of celebrating our Independence and the grand experiment of our Democracy.

Since you are probably looking for a new way to display your patriotism, this is what I offer you:

– Register to Vote: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote .
– Attend your local advisory councils, and Board of Supervisors meetings, https://countyoflake.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx .
– Actively support your favorite candidates: https://jessicapyskaforsupervisord5.com/ .
– Join Lake County Democrats (or your preferred party – again, that’s your choice to make): https://lakecountydemocrats.org/ .

Happy Independence Day to all of us!

Cathy McCarthy lives in Cobb, California.

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06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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