DEAR HARRIETTE: This past election spurred me to get involved in government. I have gone to town hall meetings, but I feel as though I am not doing enough. I want to seriously influence changes in my community and state. How can I finally make my voice loudly heard so I can see some changes? I can't quit my job to become a full-time politician. -- Riled Up, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR RILED UP: If there is one good thing that came of the most recent presidential election, it is that many people have awakened to the political process, and apathy is waning. We all need to pay attention to what’s happening in our cities, states and nation.
Not everyone is called to full-time political office. What you may not know is that there are many elected and non-elected formal roles that people can take while keeping their full-time jobs.
Getting involved in local politics does start by attending the meetings. Beyond that, you can run for a range of roles, from member of the school board to alderman to city council. You can volunteer for a political campaign of another candidate and agree to canvass neighborhoods on weekends to get the message out in advance of coming elections. You can also write and call your local and national elected officials on a regular basis to make your opinions known. This is a simple step that has been in place for many years and can help officials to be clear on the convictions of their constituents.