February 23, 2024

How to speak up to our government

In our democracy, it’s important that we the people have a say in the decisions that affect our lives. One way to do this is by speaking during public comment at a Bangor City Council meeting or testifying during public hearings for bills at the Maine Legislature. I’ve written some guides to get you started.

Why is it so important?

When we testify, we have the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions on issues that are important to us. It’s a chance to let our elected representatives know what we think and feel about a particular issue. And the more voices that are heard, the better chance they have of making decisions that benefit everyone.

Another reason why testifying is important is that it helps to ensure that decisions are made in the public interest. Elected officials are there to represent the interests of their constituents, but they can only do that effectively if they understand what those interests are. By testifying, we can provide valuable information to our elected officials about how proposed policies or decisions will affect our lives.

Public comments are also about accountability.

Speaking during public comment at Bangor City Council meetings also helps to hold elected officials accountable. In a democracy, elected officials are accountable to the people who elected them. Speaking during public comment is one way to ensure that our City Councilors are aware of our concerns and are taking them into account when making decisions.

So, if you’re passionate about an issue, don’t hesitate to speak during public comment at a Bangor City Council meeting or testify at public hearings for bills at the Maine Legislature. Your voice matters, and it’s important that you exercise your right to be heard in the decision-making process.

Your voice matters.

Whether you show up at Bangor City Council meetings, public hearings for bills in Augusta, or write your elected officials with your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. The important thing is to use your voice and use it often. Nothing changes if we stay silent.

You are not alone.

There are others in our community and throughout the state that are working for the same issues you are. Here is a list of some groups that are working for change in housing, substance use disorder, mental health, equality, economic justice, and more.