Orange County Branch Newsletter
ASCE Region 8
ASCE Region 8 - Get Out to Vote: Participate in the 2018 Election Cycle
Message from ASCE Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year
By: Tor Anderzen, P.E. M.ASCE
This election cycle is a good time to get engaged in public policy. It’s an opportunity to not only get to know your elected officials better, but also to become a more educated voter. Many candidates will be reaching out to their voters to learn about their concerns for the next legislative cycle and chances are their research may include a call to your Section or Branch. This offers an opportunity to educate a potential elected leader and increase their interest and understanding of infrastructure issues.
While ASCE Sections and Branches cannot endorse candidates or make campaign contributions, there are other ways to become engaged. You can host panel discussions or open forums on infrastructure to which you invite all candidates to share their ideas and get feedback from the public and our members. In doing so, it is critically important that your invitation be extended to all candidates in the field – they don’t all have to participate but, they must all be invited. If you want help to plan one you can reach out to ASCE’s State Government Relations at [email protected]. ASCE has resources to help you in the prepare and plan for an event like this.
If you’re just looking to be a more educated voter, I encourage you to attend panel discussions arranged by another group, such as your local Chamber of Commerce. If you’re not a member find a public forum or ask a member if you can attend as their guests. When attending events inform yourself by reviewing the latest state report card and the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, and reach out to ASCE’s staff to ask for the latest briefing documents. Take any opportunity to ask questions, to help inform the discussion and work towards building a stronger community by reminding candidates of the importance of keeping up with our infrastructure needs.
In many states, candidates won’t be the only thing on the ballot. Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for any ballot measures (sometimes called referendums or propositions) that relate to infrastructure. Be sure to educate yourself on these questions which appear on the bottom of your ballot. They can be just as critical to funding our infrastructure as electing the governing body.
Last, but not least, ensure you are registered to vote. If you aren’t, visit your city or county board of elections website to find out how to register. If you’re registered, learn where to go to vote on Election Day and whether you have early or alternative voting options – like vote by mail or online voting.
I hope that you’ll participate in this year’s Election Cycle and also consider becoming an ASCE Key Contact and make advocacy a year-round habit.