Know Thy Local Government

They say that local government is the bright spot in our country’s politics right now. Andrea Knowles, Executive Director of the Broward Legislative Delegation, stopped by for lunch with PRSA on September 20, 2018 to help us make local government work for us. If you ever voted on a midterm election you know there are dozens of elective positions on the ballot, none of which are POTUS. Take out pen and paper and see if you can name the eight people filling the key roles in the four layers of government that make a difference in your life. Chances are you will need Google, so you get bonus points if you find out your district number in the process:

Layer Position Name District #
City Mayor   N/A
City Commissioner    
County County Commissioner    
State Capitol State Representative    
State Senator    
Congress US Representative    
US Senator   N/A
US Senator   N/A


Once you know your elected officials, you can get them to know you. Asking your mayor for help should not be hard; there are 24 incorporated cities in Broward county, and less than 20,000 people voted in the last election for mayor in the biggest of them. Your county commissioner is one of nine in the Broward County Commission. It might be trickier to understand how to make things happen at Florida State Capital level. Enter Broward Days, an organization that advocates the interests of Broward County to the state legislature. Broward Days is organized around a yearly two-day meeting in Tallahassee, and a series of local events of groups with similar interests or “impact teams”. For example, the marine industry is one of 13 impact teams. The price to join Broward Days is $260 per year per person. Next Broward Days in Tallahassee are on March 12-13, 2019.

Florida State Representatives serve 2-year terms, and State Senators serve 4-year terms. Just keep in mind that the Florida legislative session is only 60 days long. That is because your state senators and representatives are filling part-time jobs. They get back home to their day jobs once the session is over every year. Essentially, states representatives, state senators, and other local officials are taking time away from their business to work for us. That alone is a good reason to know them and making sure they know you.

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