Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tasks 3 and 4 of the 30-Day Challenge by GOODis

Tasks 3 and 4 of GOODis’s 30-day challenge go together quite neatly (especially for those of us who live in Joplin).  Task 3 admonishes us to get to know our local representatives while Task 4 encourages us to create a list about the things we are passionate about on a local scale.

Since we have elections for City Council coming up in April (not to mention the presidential primary on Tues., Feb. 7th), I think this challenge is particularly well-timed for Joplinites.

Our City Council has been working overtime since the tornado, and I’m sure its responsibilities will continue to be demanding long after the upcoming election.  Thus, it is important for citizens to get to know the candidates and their positions on various issues that are important to us.  I encourage you to go to Joplin’s website and familiarize yourself with the current Council and its efforts toward both rebuilding and the day-to-day governing of our city.  Then, find out all you can about new candidates who will be on April’s ballot.  But first, before you contact the candidates, let’s examine Task 4: “Make a List of Issues You’re Passionate About”.

First and foremost in most Joplinites’ minds is how we are going to rebuild our city.  However, we must also remember that the city must continue to grow and improve beyond its immediate rebuilding efforts.  What is it that is important to you?  Creating more jobs?  Helping to reduce the poverty rate?  The quality of our local education?  Support of local businesses?  The quality of our Parks and Recreation services and programs?  Our recycling efforts (or lack thereof)?  There are so many different things that local leaders have the power and ability to address and improve that it is important for all of us to consider those items which will enhance our overall quality of life.  Take time to create a list of your priorities and interests and then find out which candidates align best with your personal ideals. 

But, don’t stop there.  Find out what you can do as a regular citizen to help promote and enhance those issues you are most passionate about.  And I’m not talking to just those who live in Joplin anymore.  Educating ourselves about our local government is something ALL of us must do in order to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.  Also, more involved citizens help reduce the amount of corruption by holding government leaders more accountable.  Find out if there are citizen boards that you can volunteer to serve on (personally, I serve on our city’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board – and it’s a lot of fun!).  Volunteering is easy, and, if you’re like me, you will enjoy having the opportunity to learn first-hand what the heck is going on in your areas of interest.

So, get to know what’s going on in your local community – whether you live in Miami Beach or Neosho, MO.  I think you’ll find you have a bigger voice in your local government than you once thought you did!

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