Why I Got Involved with Local Politics

Author: Justin Crabtree

I’ve been conscious of politics and political issues most of my adult life. Aside from a small amount of volunteering for Barack Obama in 2008 while in college, I had never been active in politics until this last year. Washington being a caucus state and me being rather passionate about the choices presented in the Democratic presidential primary, I was forced to do more than just check a box or mark a line on a ballot. In order for my voice to be heard, I had to attend my precinct caucus. At that caucus we had to decide who would represent the group at the legislative district caucus. Unlike most of the precincts meeting that day, my precinct only had a few attendees and since I was one of the few willing and able to go to the next caucus, I was elected as a delegate.

Being packed into a high school gym on an uncharacteristically hot April afternoon with several hundred fellow delegates from my legislative district, listening to speeches from those that wanted to move even further on to the next caucus level, I found myself surprised by how many I could relate very directly to and how many seemed to share my views and goals for our society. For the first time I felt like maybe I wasn’t as alone as I thought as I was in thinking that we could do better for everyone in society, not just constantly be looking out only for ourselves. I realized that there were so many people at my local level feeling the same frustrations with a system designed to benefit the wealthy and powerful and punish the disadvantaged, and that they wanted to change things. I realized that if all of us worked together, we might actually have a real chance to change things.

That realization is what spurred me to get involved with my local Democratic party organization as a PCO. I didn’t really know what to expect and it’s been a constant learning process, sometimes good, sometimes not so great. Whenever things feel difficult or even impossible, I think back to that April afternoon and remind myself of that feeling of hope. I remind myself that the change I seek is possible as long as I keep fighting and keep working together with the many people fighting for the same change.