My husband and I have a lot in common.
We’re lawyers who met the first day of law school. We read history books for fun. We’re unapologetic space nerds. We have the same favorite Peloton instructor, Matt Wilpers. Tacos and a pitcher of margaritas are our idea of comfort food.
My husband and I agree on almost everything…except politics.
Did I mention we were both political science majors?
Being on opposite ends of the political spectrum may be a deal breaker for some dating couples. But it wasn’t for us. Yes, being on opposite sides of the aisle can lead to some heated debates. But it also guarantees we will never, ever run out of things to talk about. My husband and I are living proof that political differences can be bridged with mutual respect.
So how do two politically minded, but diametrically opposed, people find a common cause?
All municipal and board elections in Texas are nonpartisan. And for good reason. Communities need leaders coming together to solve problems and provide local services, not getting hung up on party affiliation. There’s no Democrat- or Republican-specific way to fill a pothole or decide where to put a stop sign.
Local politics is also where you can have the most influence on issues that really impact your life on a daily basis. Building schools and libraries, maintaining roads, and funding fire and police budgets are among the many issues handled at the local level.
Here are 3 ways my husband and I are involved TOGETHER in local politics.
Volunteer for a Local Candidate’s Campaign
My husband and I have a strict rule regarding political yard signs—only yard signs of candidates we both support get placed in our front yard.
As a result, we tend to only have yard signs for municipal elections.
We live in the Hackberry Creek community in Irving. Like us, many of our neighbors are deeply committed to our city and local politics. Our neighbors have included our mayor, city council members, school board members, and U.S. Congresswoman.
Volunteering for a local candidate’s campaign is a great way to get to know your neighbors and push for changes in your community. We’ve volunteered to work the polls, co-hosted meet-the-candidate events, and helped to collect signatures to get people on the ballot.
Speaking of collecting signatures, this is really important in local politics. We recently helped collect signatures for a good friend (and neighbor) running for city council. He was the only declared candidate to get the necessary number of signatures (150) to get on the ballot; therefore, he will win by default. Lucky for Irving, he’s a great person, deeply committed to our city, and will do a fantastic job.
Attend City Council or School Board Meetings in Person or Virtually
Do you really want to know what’s happening in your community or local public schools? Are you angry or frustrated with your city council or school board?
If you really want to know what’s going on in your community and schools and want to address the decision-makers, start attending city council or school board meetings in person or virtually.
By law, these entities have to publicly post everything they do and give residents a chance to speak at meetings before decisions are made.
A word of warning: These types of meetings can run long and cover topics you may not be particularly interested in. But the chance to have your voice heard (and to listen to your neighbors) is worth the time commitment.
Join a Local Civic Organization
Our neighborhood is governed by not one, but two separate homeowner’s associations (HOAs), who together are aggressively vigilant about every aspect of our property and our activities on it.
Volunteering to serve on one of the HOA boards and the various volunteer organizations that carry out the work of the HOA has had a significant impact on our day-to-day lives. It’s also been a great way to really get to know our neighbors and build our leadership skills.