Focusing on the local elections


Sam McGrath

Many corners around the Bettendorf and Davenport area has been packed with signs like these. Going from left to right there is Tony Knobbe seeking re-election for the Scott County board of supervisors along with Ken who is also seeking re-election for the board of supervisors. Mariannette Miller-Meeks who is running to represent Iowa’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S House of Representatives. On either side of the Miller-Meeks sign there are two Republican slogan signs stating, “Free Markets Not Socialism” and “Limited Government not Big Government.” Lastly, There is Gary Mohr who is running to represent Iowa’s 94th district in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Sam McGrath, Business Manager

During an intense election year between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, many have not paid significant attention to local elections.

While ads for each party run frequently, many people are not engaged in local elections nor do they know what each candidate actually stands for. This election cycle has pit Theresa Greenfield, Democrat, against Joni Ernst, a Republican, in the fight for a seat in the Senate

These candidates recently had a debate where they talked about COVID-19, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), broadband for rural areas of Iowa, infrastructure and middle class wages. 

Ernst mainly highlighted how she was ranked to be one of the most bipartisan senators and many of the bills that she worked on in the previous six years. Greenfield focused on how she believed Ernst sold out Iowans to big corporations, but also how she would focus on the infrastructure and protect and expand the ACA. Overall, both candidates showcased their bipartisanship and tried to relate to Iowans as much as possible. 

This recent debate demonstrated that the issues discussed pertain more specifically to individual Iowans, especially those that are living in rural communities. Elected senators and other representatives fight for the individual needs of Iowans, even if these needs do not align with the rest of the country. 

In the past, voter turnout in local elections has been extremely low. However, many experts believe the 2020 presidential election has brought a lot of attention to politics. Some argue local elections for governor, mayor, senators, etc. are more important for the individual American. 

Joe Youngbauer, AP Government teacher, believes if Americans want their voice heard, then these state and local elections are necessary. “Certainly national government and federal laws impact our lives but I would argue that state and local politics impact Americans more on a daily basis.  From school board decisions, rezoning requests for local land, property taxes, to their involvement with COVID-19 responses, state and local governments make important decisions that impact us,” stated Youngbauer.

Youngbauer stays up to date and votes in local and state elections. He recognizes that it is tough for citizens to to keep up to date with these politics, but believes that it is necessary to participate in them. “[B]by casting our vote we are stating what kind of representation we desire,” stated Youngbauer

He also commented if citizens want certain things for their communities regarding safety, quality and education, then it is a “no-brainer” to take part in local politics. Although voter turnout in the past has struggled, Youngbauer concluded that due to the number of elections available to the Quad City citizens, it should prompt them to get out and vote. 

He went on to discuss the services the local government provides for communities, such as safety, quality and education. “Those are just a few of the things local governments provide us as citizens, they are things we place great value in, so we must value the representatives that make decisions on those issues,” noted Youngerbauer.

Jordan Mimms, a senior and member of the Model UN club, agreed these lower levels of politics affect Americans more on a daily basis. Mimms believes 2020 will yield a higher voter turnout for state and local elections especially after their response to the current pandemic. “I think there are a lot of upset people who want to change up leadership to someone who will listen to them and help them,” shared Mimms. 

While the Senate race between Greenfield and Ernst may be the most notable election for Iowans in 2020, there are still several races in the Quad Cities during this election for voters to get involved with.