The mid-term election is just a few days away and this is a friendly reminder to head to the polls on November 2. Polling locations will be open in communities across Michigan from 7 am until 8 pm. Casting your vote for the individuals who will represent you in Lansing and in Washington, DC, is a powerful way to voice your views on issues important to you.
People tend to fall into one of two categories: those who let others influence their environment and those who shape and influence their own environment. It is important to remind your Health Center staff, board members, patients, and volunteers to make themselves heard and vote as well. Research shows that underrepresented populations have a history of lower voter participation. For the past three decades, voters have been disproportionately of higher income.
Keep in mind that elected officials know who votes. If your community turns out well at the polls on November 2, your elected officials are more likely to pay attention to the issues important to your community. What a powerful position you are in as an active voter!
After you vote, your job as a civically engaged individual isn’t done, however. Next comes the task of educating your elected officials about issues you care about, such as health care. With the majority of the Michigan House and Senate seats up for election, it will be paramount to educate the newly elected legislators about the quality, comprehensive, affordable health care that Community Health Centers in their district provide to constituents. It is likely that some of them have never heard about Community Health Centers and how they help create healthy communities while saving money.
Take every opportunity to educate your elected officials. Watch for action alerts from Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) and the National Association of Community Health Centers, and mark your calendar to attend the 2011 MPCA Legislative Forum on March 8 in Lansing.