There’s a few dark clouds, but no, the sky is not falling….

It’s a strange time in the political arena. In the presidential race, there are two major candidates that would seemingly be soundly beaten by anyone but their current opposition. Supporters and a core of voters are firmly entrenched on both sides. The rest of the voters (like me), can only muster a #phelpsface when presented with the candidates from the top three or four polling parties.

However, I do have reason to be hopeful. Where I live in Indiana, there are some good to excellent candidates in the down-ballet races. In the state and local elections, there are some really good options as well. My plan for this election cycle is not yet fully decided on the presidential ballot, but I am looking to vote in a way that will bring the needed conservative values on the state and local levels. I suspect that many agree with me.

I know the value of changing policy on a local level. I’ve spent my entire life in small towns throughout the Midwest. Local leaders can affect change that will impact jobs, the quality of schools, the availability and price of utilities, groceries, and who can build what and where. They have an important role. These leaders are people like you and me that need your prayers and support. Many of these people are not career politicians.

Years ago, when I lived in Missouri, I had a friend who was the Missouri state representative in our district. He was not schooled in political science or law. He had no college degree. He was a real estate man that had busted his tail making a living that saw things in our district that needed fixing. He ran and won his district several times. Term limits forced him to run for Missouri senate. He won that too. He was just a local guy that wanted to make things better. We should look for these type of people and support them.

There are people in your community that work to make a difference outside of politics. For example, I work toward collaboration among youthworkers, churches, businesses, and parents to make a difference in the lives of middle school and high school students through an organization called National Network of Youth Ministries. We strive to show students their true value, and give youthworkers the tools and encouragement they need to cooperatively reach the students in their community.

As you see the news reports, negative campaign ads, and all the other junk that screams for your attention, remember to look local. Look at the state candidates. Look at things going on in your community that you can join to make a real impact in the lives of the next generation.

Brent Lacy is a national conference speaker, author, and blogger. He serves as Rural Ministry Specialist for National Network of Youth Ministries in the Great Lakes Region. He lives in the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World” with his wife and three kids. If you’d like to see more of Brent’s work, visit