3 Reasons to Run for Local Office

By Sofia Pereira, Community Manager & Mayor of Arcata, California

With over 500,000 elected offices in the United States, overwhelmingly at the local level, we need women running for office at all levels of government. And in many smaller communities, the filing period to get your name on the ballot may be coming up quick! As the mayor and city councilmember for my city, I know from experience that a lot of positive change can be made at the local level.

Here are my 3 reasons why you should run for local office:

  1. There are so many elected offices to consider!
    • Options include county and city councils, school boards, water and community services districts, ward aldermans, township clerks and treasurers, the list goes on and on!
    • In many communities, especially smaller and more rural ones, candidates often run unopposed. This means your community needs more leaders like you to step up and give the voters a choice.
  2. You know your community best!
    • The smaller the community or district you represent, the easier it is to know the issues that matter to your community. You know where the potholes are, the parks that need renovating, or struggles your schools are having.
    • When you’re involved in your community, you know better who you need to involve to get things done. Many times, it’s not going to just be those who work in the political realm - it will be the small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and community volunteers that you already work with.
  3. Think globally, act locally!
    • This phrase may be used a lot, but it speaks to the power we have at the local level. Local governments have been incubators for new ways of doing things for decades. While state and federal offices hold a lot of power and influence, local governments have the ability to try new ideas and easily see the impacts of those policies.
    • As the mayor of my town, I see the impact we’ve made every day, whether it’s building an all ability-inclusive park for all children to enjoy, or repaving a pothole-filled road. You also get to interact daily with the people who benefit from the work you’re doing so you’re always connected to the purpose of public service.

With all the elected offices available to you, the knowledge you have in your community, and the difference that you can make in your own backyard - there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider running for office at the local level!

Want to find your own path to elected office? Join the She Should Run Incubator. Our Find A Way lesson helps you identify your next steps.