When most people think about elections, their minds go to Presidential races or even campaigns for Congress or statewide office. As important as those offices may be, what happens at the local level has often much more impact on our everyday lives. The people who hold office within our municipal governments are tasked with steering our community. Our local elected officials dictate how tax dollars are collected and spent on everything from roads and sidewalks to public safety and schools. They also have a great influence over development codes and business regulations. The governments closest to you are far more likely to impact your everyday existence. That’s why local elections matter.
Here at the Chamber, we believe that having a well-informed, diverse, and trustworthy leadership is critical to the success of our community. That starts with having an engaged electorate who understand the issues and the platforms for which candidates seeking office support. In order to better our community, each citizen should invest their time in being a voter. Voting is a right that has not come easy for many in our country and we must never take it for granted. As Tallahassee’s largest business organization, we believe that voting should be a top priority for anyone who calls our community home – especially those who own and operate a business.
In only a few weeks, we will all have the opportunity to decide who should become our next local government leaders. The primary election for this year is scheduled for August 18, 2020. In preparation for that election, our team will be sending out a Local Government Candidate Survey to those who will be appearing on the ballot in races for the Leon County Commission, Tallahassee City Commission, and Leon County Schools. In the weeks leading up to election day, we will compile those survey results and share them with our members in our 2020 local election guide. Although our organization does not endorse individual candidates, we do encourage our members to be as educated as possible about where folks stand on issues that matter to business.
Our survey questions were developed with the assistance of our Business Advocacy Committee and are reflective of both the Chamber’s Guiding Principles, member feedback, and other positions taken by the Board in recent years. Our hope is that once we publish that guide, you will take some time to review where the candidates stand on matters that are critical to the future of our community. We also hope you take the time to vote and encourage others to join you.
Voting has never been more convenient. Even amidst a pandemic, our local Supervisor of Elections has made voting easy to access for every citizen. For starters, make sure you are registered to vote in the election – you have until July 20, 2020, to do so. Once registered, there are three ways you can cast your ballot, vote-by-mail, early voting, and on election day. All of this information and more is readily available at www.leonvotes.org.
This coming local election comes at a critical time for our community. As we sort through the economic difficulties of the pandemic, strive for greater equality in our society, and aim to keep our families safe and healthy, we must also pause to consider the future we want to create. In order to take important steps forward on those fronts, we will need leaders who can work across our entire community and help us all pursue our best ambitions. We look forward to hearing from the candidates seeking to do that work and are committed to sharing their perspectives with you before the election. Until then, thanks for caring about our community and supporting your Chamber.
Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy