Q&A: How a Political Consultant Sees Connection Between Local, State Government 

Kaitlyn Branson is a political consultant at War Room Strategies, a consulting agency that has led more than 90 campaigns to victory, including state Rep. Marcus Wiedower, who represents parts of Athens-Clarke County. Comments trimmed for length and clarity.

Q: Being involved in local and statewide campaigns, how would you describe your involvement in the local government? 

We do races from board of education, board of commissioners, mayors, commissioner chairman, all the way up to governor and statewide races. I would say that our impact is much greater. I think that actually the greater impact is on the local level. These are people that are going to pass legislation that affects your life a lot more. I’d say indirectly our involvement with the local government is we get state reps, and elected-in board of education and board of commissioners.

Q: Do you believe that local elections, for example, in Athens, have an impact on our presidential elections?

I think the election goes the other way. If you are on the ballot with a presidential election, it actually affects your race a ton. We had a state house member running in Athens and Oconee. Because it was on the ballot with the presidential election, turnout was explosive. You do not want someone going into the voting box and not knowing your name. Sometimes you get tied to party candidates who have a more name recognition than you on the national level, whether that’s Biden or Trump, and so you spend a lot of time walking a tightrope of “I’m an elected official, I go to church with these people, and I go to school with these people, I want to be humanized, and not just be tied to everything that the national person is doing.”

Q: Do you believe that the local government is just as important as the federal government?

I think it’s way more important. I think the federal government’s gotten so big that it can’t operate effectively. People don’t pay attention to their local politics. I think you’re seeing parents starting to get involved in the board of education, and you’re seeing these movements to be like “wait a minute, I can actually make a difference on this local level.” Your board of commissioners, your board of education, who you don’t even know the name of, make decisions that impact your daily life more than your congressman ever will.

 

Sarah Coyne is a third-year student majoring in journalism and international affairs at the University of Georgia.

 

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