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Local elections are just as important as national ones and deserve people’s undivided attention

At such a divisive time in politics, people often get caught up in large national elections and forget about local elections. These elections can have large impacts on the lives of citizens and are still overlooked.

One of the first steps in taking political action is voting in local elections. The everyday lives of citizens are much more impacted by city council and mayoral elections. They are in charge of local laws, policy and other important aspects of our daily living.

Our city faces major issues on many important fronts. Greensboro is worse than 91 percent of cities nationwide in crime rates. Violent crime rates sit at six experiences of crime per 1000 citizens. That’s almost double the average of North Carolina.

Greensboro also is facing economic issues like the rest of the nation. The city lost over a thousand well-paying jobs, including layoffs to facilities in the city from ConvaTec, Kellogg Co. and Dow Chemical Co.

Population struggles have also been ongoing issues. Population growth is four times faster in Durham, and Greensboro’s aging population is increasing as well. Population among young people, ages 15 to 24, decreased by 2 percent, while the population over the age of 64 has increased by 2 percent. Young people are leaving the city for other areas. Greensboro is home to many great schools, like Guilford College. However, the city just isn’t doing a good enough job at maintaining workers.

The city of Greensboro has had accomplishments. Nancy Vaughan, the incumbent mayoral candidate, while not officially saying it, has designated Greensboro as a pseudo “Sanctuary City” and has repeatedly reinforced the idea that the Greensboro Police Department will not act as ICE agents. The city also built two new soccer fields, installed 750 smoke alarms throughout the city and held over 250 police community events which more than 41,000 people attended.

Local elections factor heavily in these problems. For example, Mayoral candidates John Brown and Nancy Vaughan have very different political agendas. Brown intends to reverse the sanctuary city status, increasing ICE patrols and to promote more austere methods of budget reduction.

This coming election cycle, Greensboro will be holding elections for all eight city council seats, three at large and five districted, and an election for city mayor. At large seats are positions that cover the entire city, while district seats are only for a particular area. The three at large seats alone have 15 candidates before the primaries. Primary elections will be held on Oct. 10 for positions with more than twice as many candidates as open positions. The general election will be held on Nov. 7.

Candidates today often come down on one side of the spectrum or the other. With such polarized political groups, it’s especially important for students to get involved, informed and make choices that will benefit the society in the long term. This, however, is becoming increasingly difficult. Students and members of the Greensboro community know little to nothing about the area that surrounds them. They avoid local news, do not know many of the issues and yet many of them seem content with this fact. Few know the candidates who are running and even worse, many don’t even know the positions they are running for.

Voting is a principle piece of democracy in our society. The current generation needs to step up and realize the gift that is at their hands. Not only is it important to vote in state and national elections, but local elections serve great importance in our everyday life. Even for those who do not plan on living and working in Greensboro after college must realize that for the foreseeable future they are stuck with who gets elected. Most importantly, one of the first steps in taking political action is voting in local elections. The time to take action is now, and this is how you do it.

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