In Local Government We Trust
Americans’ trust in their state and local governments is on the rise, according to Gallup’s annual Governance Survey.
In fact, trust in local elected officials is at its highest level – 74 percent nationwide – since Gallup began the survey. And while it is a tick lower out in the West – 70 percent – that’s still an impressive number. Trust in state leaders nationwide stands at 63 percent; this is a nice bump over the 51 percent we found just a few years ago.
In an era when partisan politics is at an all-time high, it’s encouraging to see Americans putting more faith and trust in their elected leaders at the local and state level. A jaded, distrustful populace is not the proper path to putting the shine back in the Golden State.
Why is this trust in our local leaders climbing? Perhaps residents are seeing that when times get tough, it’s the local officials they can count on. They see them as responsive and accountable, responding to challenges facing their communities.
Residents also perceive local elected officials as “being one of them.” They live full-time in the communities they represent; their constituents see and talk to them daily. More often or not, local officials have careers above and beyond their elected office. And perhaps mostly importantly, they get things done.
In California, we have 296 county supervisors at any one time. Over my years at CSAC, I’ve had the privilege of meeting hundreds of them. I understand these poll numbers; in fact, I would argue they should be higher.
David Liebler is the Director of Public Affairs and Member Services for the California State Association of Counties. He can be reached at dliebler.at.counties.org.
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