This month on “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” we talked with Matt Calabria, a Wake County Commissioner, to look at local elections and why they are important. With municipal elections all around the state starting this week, we wanted to dig deep into why these votes have a direct impact on your life.

Policy decisions such as transportation, education, safety, affordable housing are all made at the local level. While sometimes it seems like Washington DC is very detached from your day-to-day life, that is not the case when it comes to municipal officials.

For example, in Wake County, Matt explained how county commissioners are working towards a concept of “inclusive prosperity”. This is defined as an economy that works for everybody. If you work hard and are a productive citizen you ought to be able to have a shot at success. They have put this idea into practice via living wage ordinances, employment protections (LGBT, veterans) and improving programs for working class citizens (Wake Tech funding, worker training programs).

These programs treat people as a whole person. In order to provide for your family, the average North Carolina resident needs to have access to good jobs, good education or worker training, stable housing and healthcare.  As much as we discuss them as individual issues they all really overlap with each other.

These are the types of decisions that are being made by local officials. As Matt said, this is “not a liberal solution or a conservative solution, but a smart solution to do right by our people.”

Local elections are when politics becomes personal. You have a chance to make a difference in your life and your fellow citizens’ lives too, so be sure to check your local election board and find out the dates of your municipal elections.