Editorial: The real power lies in local hands
It seems we just voted, but 2017 involves important elections, too.
In 2016, voters picked Donald Trump as president, Roy Cooper as governor and Richard Burr as one of the state’s two U.S. senators. This year, voters across Rowan County will choose their next city and town government leaders, positions that are more important than the ones that draw the most attention.
More often than not, President Trump’s decisions will not affect our daily lives. One of the major stories out of Washington, D.C. this week focused on President Trump’s word choice when calling the family of a soldier killed overseas — a story that will directly change the lives of no one in Rowan County.
Gov. Roy Cooper settled a federal lawsuit this week related to the controversial House Bill 2. That settlement expanded the protections of transgender people. Though that settlement is important — all people should be treated equally regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation — its impact will be relatively small.
Meanwhile, Burr continues to oversee the Senate investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. That investigation also won’t have a significant effect on local residents.
Meanwhile, the Salisbury City Council this week OK’ed funding for a STEM lab at Knox Middle School, voted to rezone property for a fire station and approved a new shopping center on Faith Road. In the future, the Salisbury City Council will need to decide whether to lease or find someone to manage Fibrant — the city-owned service that strains yearly budgets. Improving Fibrant’s financials could free up money for other areas of city government, such as the police department.
At times, local government can be painfully boring, but even the most mundane choices will have a more direct effect on local residents than Trump’s, Cooper’s or Burr’s daily actions. In China Grove, for example, the town council recently approved ordinance changes that could result in property liens if locals allow their grass to grow taller than a foot.
In Kannapolis, the city council is considering a transformational plan to redevelop their downtown. It’s a project that could involve millions of taxpayer dollars and should draw more public interest than it has to date.
As election day 2017 draws nearer, voters who live in a Rowan County town or city should strive to learn more about their elected officials, the people seeking to replace incumbents and cast a vote on Nov. 7. In an era when we’re increasingly tuning out national politics because of partisan bickering, we should recommit ourselves to learning about and participating in local government.
Information about every candidate is relatively easy to obtain. The Post will publish a 2017 Voters Guide next Sunday. The Rowan County Board of Election’s website — rowancountync.gov/191/Elections — is a good resource.