By Andrea H. Reay CEO/President Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce Election Day is fast approaching – Tuesday, November 7th – and although we might not be voting for President this year, now more than ever, it’s imperative that we cast our vote. Local elections, many argue, are even more important than federal elections. And yet, traditionally local elections consistently have lower voter turn outs than federal election cycles. My family may have been more “political” than others. My father would host republican caucus meetings at our house. While my mother was a devoted democrat even working at the state legislature for a democratic senator at one point. I learned a lot from listening to their discussions around the dinner table or when they would host political meetings at our home. But, what I valued most was learning how important it is to participate, be engaged and be informed. No one party or candidate has all the answers to all the questions we face as a community. But, when we come together every election day to cast our vote and make our voice heard, we are exercising one of our most basic and fundamental opportunities as Americans. Please don’t take it for granted. Please participate. Just in case you were thinking of not returning that ballot sitting on your kitchen counter, I wanted to offer 3 reasons why you need to vote and get that ballot in:

  1. Local government directly impacts your life, your daily life. Do your kids go to school, do you drive on a road, or catch a bus to work downtown? School boards, city councils-these are the leaders, policy makers and officials that guide, govern and approve budget items to fund schools, police and fire services, maintain roads and public transit, update zoning and code enforcement. Local government, in short, holds your money and has the influence to decide how it is spent.
  2. Local government can lead when the Federal Government can’t (or hasn’t yet). Civil rights, marriage equality, environmental protection-these are all issues that began locally and then expanded nationally. What do you want your local government to take the lead on? Local government can move quicker and respond to the needs of their constituents more directly. But, only if you make your priorities known, and only if your voice is heard, only if you vote.
  3. Your vote matters. Often people think it’s not that big of a deal to not participate “this once”. We’re all busy and it can be overwhelming to sift through all the information available to educate ourselves and vote responsibly. Your vote does matter, and although it does take a small investment of time to research the candidates and issues, it is time well spent. Please take the time to make an informed decision. There are also many non-partisan agencies that are dedicated to sharing information about candidates. We published our candidate questionnaire on our website and are happy to direct community members to other sources of information as well. For information on how and where to return your ballot, please visit
Advocacy is a large part of what we do here at the Chamber for our community and our members. We advocate at all levels of government and appreciate the time, dedication and courage of all the candidates running for local office. If you are interested in learning more about the Chamber’s 2018 legislative priorities, I would like to invite you to our Annual Legislative Breakfast that we produce in partnership with our South Sound Coalition partners. This year Governor Jay Inslee will deliver the key note and will be hosted on December 12th from 7:30-9 a.m. in Auburn at Emerald Downs. Please follow this link or contact the Chamber for more information. For more information on Chamber benefits, opportunities and partnerships, please visit our website
Andrea H. Reay is the President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce – “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila since 1988.