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What Are the Different Types of US Local Politicians?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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Most of the recognizable politicians in the United States operate at the national level and perform their jobs in Washington, D.C., but many local politicians keep towns, cities, counties, and states running properly. Perhaps the most common political office at the local level is the office of the mayor. The role of the mayor can vary from city to city, but in many cases, he or she will have significant clout in terms of developing local laws and addressing important issues within a city or town. Other local politicians include city council members, state senators, and governors.

City council members are local politicians who have run for office in order to sit on the city council, which is a group of people who work to develop local laws and regulations and address various issues pertinent to the locale. Depending on the organizational structure of a particular city, the city council may have more authority or power than the mayor, or vice versa. The two entities should work together to develop enforceable and relevant laws and regulations that will dictate the success or failure of a city or town. Almost all local politicians need to run for office, which means they must mount election campaigns. They will hold their offices for a set period of time as dictated by local laws.

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At the state level, local politicians can represent their districts at the state capitol as members of the state Senate. These state Senators are active in developing laws for the entire state, and they will do this work at or near the state capitol. This may mean the local politicians will need to relocate from their hometowns to the vicinity of the capitol, though this may not always be necessary, depending on the size of the state and function of that state's government.

The governor of a state is essentially the commander-in-chief of that state. He or she is responsible for the overall functioning of the government, and all bills that are passed by the state senate must be approved by the governor in order to become law. Governors also have the power to veto bills that have passed the senate, which means even though the bill has passed, it will not become law because the governor has struck the bill down. If a bill passes and becomes law, that law must be in keeping with federal law or it can be deemed unconstitutional.

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