If it wasn’t already clear that elected officials at all levels of government carry a great deal of sway over the vitality of our downtowns and city centers, the last two years of contentious debate over pandemic restrictions, public safety, housing and other issues should have erased all doubt.
That’s why IDA formed its first-ever U.S. Policy Committee in 2021. We are now developing a federal legislative agenda that all IDA members can take to their elected officials to advocate for policies that support our cities. Together, with a strong national voice, we can create change. We will also be reaching out soon asking for a financial contribution and we hope we can count on your support to help increase our advocacy efforts nationally to change U.S. public policy.
But our influence lies not just in what we ask our elected leaders to do; it also comes from our right as citizens do decide who those leaders are.
The stakes in the November U.S. election are high: at the federal level, every seat in the House and a third of the Senate are up for grabs. The outcome will determine which party controls the agenda in Congress, and which side has the votes to pass legislation.
But it’s not just at the federal level. This year, voters will select 36 governors and more than 6,000 state representatives across 46 states, as well as countless county and municipal leaders. The winners will set policies that impact our communities for years to come.
Let me be clear: I am not telling you how to vote. IDA does not, and will not, endorse political candidates. But voting is the most fundamental way in which we shape the future of our communities and our nation.
So learn about where the candidates in your area stand. Find out if they understand the issues facing downtowns and city centers, and whether they have workable solutions. Attend candidate forums and pay attention to televised debates. Most of all, make sure you are registered and have a plan to vote. You can do that at https://vote.gov/.
As the saying goes, democracy is not a spectator sport. Make sure your voice is heard.