13-2 Housing Is Built With Ballots: Resident Perspective: Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

By Heather Hogan (from Middleboro, MA)

Heather Hogan (at left) and another advocate at a voter registration table

My name is Heather Hogan. I am a daughter, sister, mother, employee, neighbor, friend, and active community member. I am just like you! As members of a community – be it a family, housing complex, neighborhood, town, state, country – we have certain duties and obligations for each community we are a part of. Sometimes we are a rule-maker and sometimes a rule-breaker, but regardless of our role or the community, we hold an important role. We are the voice of our needs. At times, we are the voice for our children, or our elderly family members. Our voice is what makes sure our needs are met. Our voice may help us ensure that we live in safe homes or communities, or that we get proper health care or fix a problem, such as loss of electricity, need for food, or help with transportation.

We use our words to communicate our needs and learn to collaborate and compromise. That is how we resolve our needs at home. How do we do it at larger levels? At our schools, in our communities, in our state, and in our country? We are blessed to live in a country where we have the opportunity to participate and have our voices heard. In each of our communities, we have a responsibility to participate and to make sure our needs as community members are met. How do you do this? Voting is an opportunity to model for your children active participation in your community!

As a society, we have taken our voices to places that can feel good in the moment, but are they impactful? Venting on social media can feel good, but is it helpful? We have so many ways to be involved, and the first way is to register to vote! Voting in school committee races, town elections, state elections, and national elections is such an important way for your voice to be heard. I know – it can be very frustrating to have an elected official not follow through on the promises made and to lose heart in those who don’t speak for their constituents. We need to remember how powerful we are as citizens.

We need to raise our voices around affordable housing, affordable health care, education, environment, workforce, community safety, and academic standards, which we can start doing using our power of voting and the power of words in emails and letters to decisionmakers. Without our voices, our communities, states, and country are not ours. I challenge you to learn about candidates, learn about ballot questions, and call or write to those representing you. Every elected official is in a role to be a voice for their people. The people have the power. Start today by registering to vote!