A new tax reform bill. An immigration travel ban. A bigger, functioning nuclear button. In a time where the goings-on of the federal government, specifically our nation’s leader, is constantly splayed on the front page of newspapers, T.V. screens and online articles, it’s easy to think national politics supersede the actions of local government. However, as erratic and impotent as the president and his actions may be, just how much do they actually affect day-to-day life?
I recently had the opportunity to have dinner with two council members in Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Jeff MacIntosh and D.D. Adams, who represent the Northwest and North wards, respectively. The discussion specifically pertained to Wake Forest University and its impact on Winston-Salem. Through this discussion, I learned just how much city council members do to keep things running smoothly in their communities.
Local government members work far closer with citizens due to their relative proximity in comparison with the federal government. Council Member Adams, who is running for Congresswoman Virginia Foxx’s seat in North Carolina’s 5th district, spoke of the countless phone calls she receives in the middle of the night, on top of a barrage of emails and an already busy schedule. Both she and Council Member MacIntosh address issues members of their wards face and do their best to remedy them. They were partially responsible for the six-semester on-campus living requirement for students at Wake Forest. As Wake students expanded into the community surrounding the university, so did the increased noise levels, partying, etc.
As a student at Wake Forst and a citizen of Winston-Salem, the actions of Council Members Adams and MacIntosh, as well as the whole city council, impact me far more on a daily basis than the latest late-night Twitter ravings of the man in the Oval Office. That isn’t to say that a tax bill which benefits the wealthiest, or the threat of all-out nuclear war with North Korea, are not pressing issues. The more immediate impact for me, however, reinforces the truism that “all politics is local.”