Working in local politics can initiate a political career that propels you into higher levels of regional or national involvement, or can prove a fulfilling and satisfying lifelong career in itself.
Involvement in your local politics can be invaluable in preparing you for a wide variety of positions or advancement in other sectors as well.
Whatever your career aspirations, involvement in local politics can be a strategic step in achieving them.
Great Local Politics Positions to Pursue
Local political arenas include a wide variety of leadership positions that extend far beyond the few stereotypical roles that might immediately come to mind
The local government oversees a diverse portfolio of responsibilities that affect civil, legal, private, and service-oriented aspects of community life.
Positions will vary in type and scope based on the type of government structure a city employs.
Some local governments make use of a city manager in conjunction with a city council instead of, or in addition to, an elected mayor. City managers are separate from the council but work alongside them to implement decisions.
City councils are made up of multiple individuals that work together to make decisions for their local constituency. Their authority and integration with other local government positions vary based on the type of government structure that has been instituted.
Councils are usually responsible for making high-level policy and strategy decisions.
Cities rely on directors of public policy to advocate for specific populations, advise in specific areas of legislation or policy efforts, and propel causes or emphases within a government context.
This position is often responsible for crafting and enacting a city’s public policy agenda, as well as building strategic connections and partnerships to help involve other players (both government and private) to bring about that vision.
Directors of government affairs help align the interests of government and business. Individuals in these positions advocate for legislation and policy formation that supports business interests and helps businesses understand and complement government priorities.
And this list is just the beginning. Local governments rely on individuals to lead in areas such as economic development, public works, health, parks and recreation, zoning and planning, finance, tourism, and more.
Other Opportunities Within Local Politics: Become a Local Speech Writer
The plethora of auxiliary needs within local government makes room for persons with a wide variety of aptitudes and career goals. One such opportunity is that of a speechwriter.
Speech creation can be a deeply integral part of political influence. Speeches communicate information but also convey ideology, emotional timbre, and priorities.
The ability to craft effective public verbal communications can be highly valuable to a local government system.
Speechwriters often study political science, communication, journalism, or similar. Some enter speech writing after practicing law or working in the media.
Others enter politics and move into speech writing after filling other political roles.
In addition to strong writing skills, speechwriters should be effective communicators, strong researchers, and be good at operating as a team player with colleagues and politicians.
Tips for Getting Started
Entering local politics can be a bit nebulous and the path to entering public service may not always be obvious.
Fortunately, there are a number of inroads into local politics that provide avenues for getting started.
One strategic method of pursuing a career in local government is to volunteer with a local political campaign. This type of work can be fairly time-intensive but offers helpful connections and experience that can create further opportunities down the road.
Another way of entering local government is by securing a government fellowship. Fellowships are often more respected than internships and sometimes provide a stipend or living allowance.
Further Education vs Political Work Experience
An important consideration for those aspiring to enter politics is whether to obtain further degrees.
However, many authorities caution against pursuing an additional degree before confirming whether you’ll actually need it. For many local government positions, relevant work experience can more likely propel your career than earning additional bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
When deciding whether it would be to your advantage to pursue further education, seek the advice of people currently in the role(s) you may be interested in to find out whether that will help you advance your career.
Pursuing involvement in local politics can lead to a long-lasting career full of opportunities to develop professionally, have a meaningful impact, and serve your local community.
Starting your journey into local political spheres is as easy as taking a single first step.