Pick An Office, Any Office!
Federal, state, local – there are tens of thousands of elected officials in the United States. How do you know which office is right for you? Think about what you are interested in. Is it the environment? Voting rights? Education? Affordable housing? Where can you make the biggest impact? Do you want to serve full-time or part-time? How much money do you want to invest?
U.S. Congress: Running for federal elected office is really expensive! Roughly $2.2 billion dollars were spent in the 2020 general election races for the U.S. House (435 seats) and Senate (35 seats). More importantly ask yourself this: who wants to serve in the federal government anyway? Gridlock and partisan bickering have led a record number of bills not being passed into law since 1992.
State Legislature: Perhaps because of federal gridlock, state legislatures are living up to their name as the laboratories of democracy. As CRNAs we know that these are very important races, this is where scope of practice is decided. State legislatures also levy fees and taxes, decide Medicaid coverage and spending, set the minimum wage, etc. However, this can be a pricey place to begin a political career. For example, the average cost of an Iowa House of Representatives race cost about $70,000 in 2014 and paid $25,000/year.
That brings us to local elected offices – there are so many to choose from and more than 35% are uncontested in each election!
City Council: This is where the rubber really meets the road – literally. The City Council fixes potholes and decides where traffic lights and stop signs are needed. City Councils affect the day-to-day life of citizens like no other level of government. Council members decide on issues about parks and libraries, public transportation, land use (zoning) and trash collection. City council members even set the cost of parking meters! Another fun fact: many municipal races, especially in smaller cities, are non-partisan. Watch our interview with Keith Macksoud, CRNA and President of the Lincoln, RI Town Council to learn more.
County Commissioner: Responsibilities differ by state but in general, County Commissioners are responsible for county level management functions. For example, the registering of deeds, assessment and collection of property taxes, the sheriff’s department, construction and maintenance of infrastructure outside of city limits (airports, bridges, sidewalks, roads, etc.).
School Board: Cities and towns are often judged by the quality of their public-school systems. Members of the School Board employ the school Superintendent, develop curricula, the budget, and school district policies. Most of the funding for public schools comes from property taxes therefore, County Commissioners and the School Board work closely together.
Other municipal offices are dependent on where you live. In some locales these special purpose government entities are appointed and in some they are elected. Here are a few examples: justice of the peace, conservation district board, library board, hospital commission, airport authority. For more information about elected offices in your area, Google [County/City/Town] elected officials .
Finally (pun intended), have you ever thought about running for county coroner? One of our CRNA colleagues has. Watch her interview with us!
Click here to learn more about the new initiative by Sharon Pearce, MSN, CRNA and Kimberly Gordon, MSN, CRNA.