Cydney Baron

The period between Christmas and New Years is one of self-reflection.

Why did I eat so many Christmas cookies? Where are we going to put all of this new stuff? When are my in-laws going to leave?

What am I going to do differently in 2020? What do I want to stay the same?

Recently this piece of wisdom was shared with me: "That which is observed, changes."

Local government is important. Local elections are important. And paying attention to both makes all the difference.

We've seen it in action, elected officials move differently when they know they're being watched. Solutions are found swiftly and promises are kept more often.

Big things happen when leaders are held accountable for what they say and how they act.

That said, by not being involved — even through simple observation—we give elected officials the pass to govern on our behalf based on assumption, not reality.

If we're not present, the assumption is that we do not care. If we do not show them an issue is important, they will assume it isn't.

City and county officials are tasked with voting in the best interest of those they are elected to serve. It's only through involvement that those leaders know what their constituents need and value.

So, in 2020 let's all resolve to get involved.

Attend a meeting

City council, or board of trustees, and school boards for each town meet on a fixed schedule and most allow a period of time for public comment.

Claremore City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month, at 6 p.m., in the city hall chambers at 104 S. Muskogee.

The Rogers County Board of County Commissioners meets every Monday at 9 a.m. in the commissioner's meeting room on the first floor of the Rogers County Courthouse.

In the case of the council meeting, those who plan on speaking to the council will be asked to sign up before the meeting starts. You'll be allowed to speak for typically two or three minutes, depending on the town, and the council is not at liberty to comment on your statements.

The procedure varies slightly from one town's council to the next, but a call to city hall will quickly outline the procedure.

Each entity is required to publish the agenda, which outlines the items to be discussed, in advance. These agendas are typically found on the entity's website, and are posted outside the courthouse/city hall.

If you have trouble tracking down the info you need to attend your town's meetings, let us know and we're happy to help.

Write a Letter to the Editor

We want to know which issues are important to our readers. We want to get your questions answered and hear about your experiences.

A letter to the editor is one of the best ways to make that happen.

Whether it's your take on an ongoing local problem, your thoughts on an upcoming election, or a noteworthy interaction—share it with us, and your neighbors.

Letters attacking a citizen or business by name, and those with hate speech, will not be published but all else are welcome.

Here's how to get a letter published:

All letters must be signed by the author and include a telephone number and town of residence for verification. Only the author's name will be published.

To submit a letter, bring them to the Progress office at 315 W. Will Rogers Blvd. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or email them to editor@claremoreprogress.com

Contact your leaders

The first step in reaching out to your elected leaders, is knowing who they are.

Towns are typically divided into wards, or sections, with a council member elected to represent each one. Each town’s governing body is a little different but one thing that remains the same is that there is someone on the governing body that represents you specifically. If you live in Claremore, a ward map can be found on the city website, along with the council member elected from each ward.

No matter the avenue, government works best when community are involved and holding those in power accountable.

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