Our rural communities are diverse– our backgrounds may be different, but the issues our communities face are often the same. This November, we have a chance to elect leaders that understand what our communities face and will work with us to address our concerns. Here’s how we can create change and transform our communities at the ballot box.
We want our children to have a good, fair education
We love our kids and want them to get the education they deserve. Sometimes, however, we worry. Their classrooms are overcrowded, the buildings need repair, some of their libraries don’t even have enough books.
This November, public education is on the ballot. Many counties have school board elections this year. School boards have the power to set school policies and recommend a budget to the County Commissioners. It’s critical that we elect leaders that will work to invest in our schools.
We know that our public schools and school boards don’t have to be contentious and partisan like they are now. Our member Rose in Caldwell County wrote about her positive experience going to a Caldwell County School Board meeting where the students were celebrated and supported. That’s the kind of experience we can see across North Carolina if we vote.
Message your local candidates and incumbents to ask if they support public schools and are willing to get them the resources they need to succeed.
Many of us have had personal experiences struggling to get healthcare, or seen our loved ones struggle without the coverage they need. That’s why our members have campaigned for healthcare access since the very beginning of Down Home.
Our government can and should help our communities access healthcare; at the state level, there are immediate things that could bring healthcare to 600,000 North Carolinians who are waiting perilously for Medicaid expansion. However, that can only happen if we vote and prevent a GOP supermajority in the State House.
We have candidates on the ballot that support Medicaid expansion. For them to do their jobs and work for working-class people, we have to organize and mobilize to support them. That means going to the polls, casting our votes, and staying engaged with our government at all levels to hold them accountable to us.
When we traveled across rural North Carolina to host our community listening sessions, the #1 concern we heard from every county was housing. We heard folks talk about their own difficulties in getting housing, being pushed out of their neighborhoods due to raised costs of living, or struggling with homelessness.
As an issue that can be addressed at every level of government, the urgency of this issue reminds us how important it is to vote up and down the ballot.
At the local and state level, the people we elect to the County Commission and to the State House can incentivize affordable housing through funding, pass tax breaks, and make rules regarding evictions.. Sheriffs, who have the power to execute evictions, can deprioritize these mandates. Federally, the representatives we send to D.C. could take action such as creating a federal mandate around housing.
This November is urgent for our communities, our country, and democracy. As the People, we always have the power– but we have to use it. At the polls, we can create a sustainable change for ourselves and the generations that come after us. We’re getting closer and closer to Election Day– let’s register to vote, talk to our communities about our issues, and organize for candidates that will work for working-class people.