Care About Local Issues? Stay Engaged in 2021
No, this isn’t a recycled article from 2020; 2021 is, in fact, an election year, one with direct local impacts and less of the political rancor and chaos characteristic of last year’s elections.
There’s no denying the last five years have been a wild ride. Many voters opened their eyes to politics for the first time while others redoubled their efforts. We saw this at the national level with two acrimonious presidential elections; at the state level where 36 people ran for Washington state governor; and in our own highly-contested 5th Legislative District senate race, certified in a recount with just 58 votes between the two candidates.
The 2021 elections will focus even closer to home. In November, your ballot will include candidates for mayor of the city of Issaquah, along with half of the City Council and Issaquah School Board positions. These are the people who can have a real impact on your life.
I know I’m not the only one who sees the Facebook and Nextdoor questions about our unhoused neighbors and police responses to emergencies or businesses posting about difficult times. These are all areas where your local government, including the city council and mayor, can have an impact. Are you passionate about student learning during the pandemic or new school development? The Issaquah School Board took on these and many other issues during this unprecedented year.
I encourage you to pay attention in 2021. After 2020, it would be easy to say you’re done with politics and are ready to move on, but if you want to see issues addressed locally, this is the year to get involved.
The big secret of local government is we really care about every email, phone call, and public comment you provide. You will not get lost in the shuffle if you reach out. Consider sending an email explaining why you care about something going on in the city. Ask your representative for their thoughts on an issue or why they supported a specific position. Attend (virtual) meetings where problems are addressed. Most importantly, vote in November to have your voice heard.
Lindsey Walsh is an Issaquah City Councilmember and Issaquah Highlands resident.