Opinion: Reflecting on changes we can make

The end of the year offers us time to reflect.

I’ve been reflecting on how we can do good in the world. Sometimes it feels like there are so many big problems — and that there’s not a lot we can do to influence the decision-makers.

As we move into a new year, I think it’s important for us to think about what we can do in our own small corners to make a positive difference.

It seems like a small thing, but when you serve lunch at the Soup Kitchen or help at the Community Food Basket, you can see the difference you make. When you contribute to the YMCA, you know you’re helping with affordable child care. Make a purchase at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and you’re supporting the mission for affordable housing.

Contributing to local charities and volunteering with local causes allows you the chance to see who you’re helping and witness the improvements to their lives.

Local politics is another place where you can make a difference. It’s tempting to look at the national political scene and become frustrated. When you pay attention — and participate — closer to home, though, you can influence the policies that are implemented.

A group of passionate citizens rallied together to save a park and push our local elected leaders to reconsider the location of our needed water tower. With citizens and officials working together, a creative solution is in the works. But this process is only effective if we elect people who are willing to listen, work with citizens and make changes when necessary.

Unfortunately, as we move into a new year, the worry is that our state Legislature isn’t as responsive as our City Council. Our City Council works with constituents to find solutions to issues, but our state Legislature seems intent on ignoring us.

This is where we have a chance to make a difference. State legislative seats are all up for election in 2022. Many county seats are also up for election. These are positions that influence the policies that impact our daily lives. Our legislators should be helping us fund education and support our children. They should be taking advantage of available resources to help our citizens with affordable health care and address our growing affordable housing problem.

We should be looking at the voting records of our state legislators. Have they been waging a culture war and grandstanding? Are they talking about made-up problems to distract us from the fact that they aren’t doing the actual work of the people?

Now is the time for us to consider making a change. As we reflect on the outrages our so-called leaders have inflicted on the state this year, now’s the time for us to get involved in next year’s elections. Find a candidate whose policies reflect your values. Work to get them elected. We have a chance in 2022 to change the course our state is on, and we have the power to do it. But we must get involved.

Miranda Marquit, Master of Business Administration, is a nationally recognized financial expert, speaker and writer. She is the state committeewoman for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.