Costa Mesa Confidential
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Is Running for Local Office Coming Back in Style?

Many first time candidates are going after a local elected office, and running for office may be simpler than you think.

Running for local office seems to be coming back in style for the 2022 elections coming up, where many first time candidates are taking a stab at attempting to unseat incumbents who are viewed as not accomplishing what their constituents want. 

While running for higher office may be traditionally more exciting for candidates, local office can often be seen as having more of an impact on a voter’s life. This is because local decisions often have a greater effect on an individual, compared to say, federal decisions which are usually more gradual. 

A great example of this was shown during the pandemic, where states varied widely in their response. In states like California and New York, officials implemented mask mandates, quarantines, and business shutdowns, whereas states like Florida and Texas saw much less regulation.

Many new candidates are joining the races after seeing a failure on the part of incumbents. An example of this is when three Wisconsin mothers ousted three Menomonee Falls School Board members by successfully running for the seats. 

The mothers told Fox News that they had discovered during the pandemic what school curriculum was really being taught to their children, including divisive ideology, prompting them to attend school board meetings. The current board trustees were not listening to the concerns of parents, prompting the three mothers to run as first time candidates, and win. 

This year is also the first year that Generation Z is old enough to run for offices that require a candidate to be 25 years old, such as Congress. 

Aside from the great deal of trust the public has in someone by voting them into office, there are a number of other benefits that can be attained by winning a local election. 

In Costa Mesa for example, city councilmembers are given a $10,800 annual stipend to spend, $27,000 for health benefits of a tax-deferred retirement plan, involvement in community improvements and decisions, potential for other public service options, and get to participate in city council meeting and study sessions, which are both typically twice a month. 

Getting involved on a city council level can be a first step for making a difference. If running for local office is of interest, contact the Costa Mesa City Clerk’s Office at (714) 754-5225 or [email protected]. With many Americans inspired to take on the charge of getting involved in their communities, it may be time to begin thinking about how to make a difference. 

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