You Have a Voice – It’s Time to Use It

You Have a Voice – It’s Time to Use It

*By Julie Barrett, Founder, Conservative Ladies of America

So many citizens think that the only way they can impact change in their government is through their vote. And let’s be honest…many, if not most, have little to no faith in the integrity of our elections, for good cause. This means that people are either only engaging during elections (most of the time they wait for a presidential election) or they’re not engaging in our government at all because they’re so disenfranchised with the process.

And I don’t blame them at all.

But!!! If we want to save our country, which starts right in your local community, we must engage the masses, the “silent majority”, if you will. Most citizens that I engage with are very unaware and uninformed about policies, laws, that are being made and passed in their local area, on a state or even federal level. In fact, many don’t find out about these policies until they have been passed and signed into law and they became aware because they were personally impacted by these policies in their daily lives.

American government was created to be “by and for the people”, however, “we the people” have abdicated our duty to our elected officials. And SURPRISE!! Many of these elected officials have not governed in the way that we would want them to – either by supporting terrible policies or not standing up strongly against these terrible policies. Most of us have been comfortably living our American lives, raising our families, and growing our businesses, just trusting that the government was moving along just fine.

That was me. Until Donald Trump started all this talk about “drain the swamp.” That opened my eyes and began my journey of speaking out and eventually, in 2021, getting involved in state legislation after my own horrific experience with Washington state laws. I was fortunate to receive a call from Washington State Representative Brad Klippert who heard about our experience and offered his help. We quickly became friends and through that friendship I learned about what was happening in the Washington legislature and began engaging citizens through Conservative Ladies of Washington. As I continued to learn about the process, I became more involved in different issues and aspects of the legislative process. Last fall we launched our Legislative Action Team and took a very strategic approach to this year’s legislative session with a big focus on educating and engaging citizens in a variety of ways.

There are so many ways for people like you and me – average, ordinary citizens with no political or government experience – to engage in and influence our government. Policies are being made in your city, your county, your school district, your state and in Washington DC and you can use your voice in all these places to impact change all year long – not just in an election year. We all get excited during an election and then after the election we just sort of “check out” until the next election comes along.

We the people have the power to turn things around in America. Even if you only have a few minutes every week and you must do it from your phone or your laptop, you can use your voice! Technology has made it easier for citizens to be involved and one of the few blessings of Covid is that it has allowed almost every form of government to use Zoom for their public meetings and hearings, allowing citizens to comment from a remote location. If the thought of public speaking makes you nervous, not to worry, there are many ways you can make your voice heard without speaking in public.

So where do you start?

  • Figure out what you are most passionate about or what issue concerns you the most. Is it election integrity, taxes, education, parental rights, abortion, community safety? Pick one issue that you want to focus on.
  • Decide if you want to spend your time in your local community or on a state or federal level. Based on what you decide you’ll want to figure out when your city or county council meets, the school board, or your state legislature.
  • Read meeting agendas to find out what policies are going to be discussed and if it’s an issue that concerns you. Learn what kinds of actions can be taken by citizens: emailing elected officials, calling, providing public comment or testimony in a committee hearing.
  • Attend a meeting either in person or virtually if time allows. Or watch a previous meeting online. This is a great way to get an understanding of how this body operates and engages with citizens.
  • Join Conservative Ladies Legislative Action Team – men are welcome and encouraged to join.

What we have seen in the short time we have been actively engaged in legislation is that citizen voices have immense power. Even in a deep blue state like Washington citizen voices can put political pressure on democrats to stop bad policy from being passed. Not only can citizens stop bad policies, but citizen voices are also critical to passing the good policies. Our elected officials need our support after the election is over to help them during the lawmaking process. We can’t leave them high and dry. The democrats have substantial and organized support on their side, and we must do the same.

pater abbarno

I appreciate more hearing from ‘Joe Smith or Jane Smith’ from my district who is having an issue than I do some paid lobbyist.”

— Peter Abbarno, Washington State Representative

Your public comments or testimony can be used by elected officials when it comes time to debate the passing of legislation. This is a very powerful tool for lawmakers – they don’t have it if we don’t even show up.

We must not continue to be the “silent majority.” We are losing our country because of our silence. Our freedoms and liberties are being taken from us inch by inch because we are not engaged. This is not how the Founding Fathers designed our government to operate. We have a duty and a responsibility to take action or we will only have ourselves to blame.

The presidential election is exciting for sure. Most people don’t realize the presidential election doesn’t impact them nearly as much as their local elections and local government. Take the time to learn about what’s going on in your community and then commit to action. If you need help getting started hit the contact button at the top of the page and our team will be happy to assist.

Join the movement, join the fight!

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