“Which politician is the most influential in your day-to-day life?” When I ask my eighth graders, most of them respond with the president of the United States.

Yet it is the city council who we give the power to make laws that affect our roads, safety, building codes, community design, taxes, parks, libraries, recreation services, water and sense of community. Picking your city councilman is probably the most important political decision you can participate in.

“But what if I’m not running? Can I still be involved in local politics?” Of course you can! And you should! When the men and women on the council are elected, they are not suddenly infused with omniscience. If you want to support the arts, the recreation program, the library or the city celebration, attend those meetings and give your input. You may have ideas that have never been considered or heard of before.

Gary Herbert: Don’t underestimate the importance of an off-year election

And what if you don’t have the time for a committee meeting? Well, what is your interest? Joining together with like-minded people to serve, create, collaborate and connect is what being a community is all about. We won’t always agree on what the end product should look like, but if we agree on the process of getting there — even if we don’t always get our way every time — we’ll keep our actions and expectations in the range where we can appreciate, learn from and be inspired by the differences and diversity that surround us. And that’s worth getting involved.

Bryce Shelley

American Fork