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Five Easy Things to Improve Our Politics

Corner of Main at Market, Solon, Iowa

In a hopeful year, the U.S. Congress is back to work, on Jan. 8 the state legislature convenes the second half of the 87th Iowa General Assembly, and grassroots politics begins another cycle with the Feb. 5 annual Iowa caucuses.

Politics affects us all.

In a time when there is no time for us to get anything done, here are five easy things to improve our politics.

If you are free Feb. 5, attend your political party caucus, which begin at 7 p.m. Republicans and Democrats agree when to hold precinct caucuses and these meetings represent a chance to see what having an R or D next to your voter registration means.

Subscribe to elected officials’ newsletters. All of our federal and state representatives have a newsletter. If you don’t know who represents you, in the Solon area it’s currently U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack, State Senator Bob Dvorsky and State Representative Bobby Kaufmann.

Take time to learn about the gubernatorial candidates and vote in the June primary. Both major political parties have a primary election for governor.

Worry less about process and more about values. So many voters get tied in a knot about what governing bodies should and shouldn’t do before enacting laws or ordinances. The better question is what do our representatives stand for? Their values are clear in votes they have made.

Be civil when talking about politics with friends and neighbors. If you can’t, then change the topic to the weather. Most important is taking time to listen, followed by thinking before opening your mouth. It’s possible to hear people out with whom we disagree without discussions escalating into an argument.

Use these five ideas and I believe you will agree a better politics is possible.

~ Published in the Jan. 11, 2018 edition of the Solon Economist