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Participate, stay informed in the political process

There were many ideas recently presented at a roundtable discussion hosted by the Chambers County chapter of the Alabama New South Coalition at Bradshaw-Chambers County Library.

Out of all the ideas brought forward, one of the most prevalent was getting people more involved, whether in the political process, social issues, governmental meetings, etc.

Numerous attendees pointed out that not enough people had voted in the recent primary election and its subsequent runoff.

“There’s a distinct disinterest in voting,” said one man present the meeting. “People I talk to tell me that the issues candidates talk about does not involve them and people they know. What matters to them is how can they pay their power bill or where will their next meal come from.”

Dr. Randy B. Kelley, the pastor of Goodsell Methodist Church in Lanett, said that there’s a gap in getting information to people.

“Average people don’t know much about politics,” he said. “They depend on people telling them what’s going on. We need to have a better dialog with the community. They key word is accountability.”

Dr. Kelley said that he found it disappointing when he went to public events, such as a county commission meeting or a city council meeting, that so few people were there. What happens at those meetings affects them and they should be there to know what’s going on, he said.

The idea of people not participating is one that persisted for decades.

Every year it seems fewer and fewer people are willing to make time to be involved and stay informed.

Hopefully, that will turn around. One thing that can be said of the current political climate is that it has gotten more people to participate in the political process.

There is a quote that is normally attributed to Thomas Jefferson, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”