Hello, Northern Arizona! As I write this, summer is coming to a close and we are gearing up for what is going to be an unusual fall. Also as I write, people are voting. I love voting. My mother instilled a deep respect for the democratic process in my brother and me and brought us to register to vote when we turned 18. She made sure I knew that people died for my right to vote, heroes like the late John Lewis were beaten fighting for my right to vote. I have never missed an election.
This year is also unusual because for the first time ever, Arizona is a battleground state and in the national spotlight. I want to stress that a lot, if not all, of what will be an absurd amount of noise in the next couple of months is going to be about the presidential election and Arizona’s U.S. Senate race. These races are important, but I would implore you to keep an eye on local elections. Your locally elected representatives are much closer to you and your daily life. State legislatures pass 28 times more legislation than Congress. These are bills that determine funding for public schools, access to health care, oversee unemployment insurance, and much needed relief for local communities and businesses. These are policies that determine how we manage our water. How easy (or hard) we as a society make it to vote is a state legislature issue. Whether or not Flagstaff or Sedona can regulate vacation rentals is determined by the state legislature.
I would also emphasize that local elections for mayors and town councils have a direct impact on your day-to-day life. They determine services, maintain libraries and parks. They are entrusted with bringing forward the vision for your community. Living right there in your town with you, these folks know the community issues first hand. More than ever, we need representation that will fight to get these cities and towns the resources they need to rebuild our economies.
As we prepare for what will be an onslaught of phone calls, mailers, digital and tv ads, I want to offer a piece of advice. Vote early. Vote early and hopefully the campaigns will leave you alone sooner rather than later. In years past, I have noticed the most effective way to get people to stop knocking on my door is to turn in my ballot. Despite all the national news about vote by mail, here in Northern Arizona, we’ve been doing it forever. We know it works, that it’s safe, and that it’s more convenient to fill out your ballot from the kitchen table.
If you are not on the Permanent Early Voting List, you can sign up at servicearizona.com/. Signing up doesn’t mean you cannot go to the polls, it just means you have the additional option of mailing in your ballot or dropping it off. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum I hope you make your voice heard. Thank you all, and take care. FBN
By Coral Evans
Coral Evans is the mayor of Flagstaff.