You know those signs for politicians you’ve never heard of by the highway or in your neighborhood? Believe it or not, for Christians, these are some of the most important officials we must pray, vote, and stand for. While most of the headlines of the mainstream media are often dominated by politicians at the federal level, the majority of laws and ordinances affecting our values happen at the state and local level.

Many states leave a good majority of daily operations and ordinances up to local governments through “home rule,” allowed by either their state constitution or legal provision. Essentially, it means that states have very limited, delegated powers, while the rest are left up to chartered municipalities or counties. Only three states in America do not have some form of home rule, with the majority of states delegating most of the decision-making to the local level. However, even in those states without home rule, local governments are given specific, delegated legislative authorities they must fulfill.

According to the Brookings Institute, state and local officials can have a much more prominent role in decision-making since nearly two-thirds of total federal expenditures (or approximately $2.86 trillion out of $4.3 trillion) are transfers to either individuals, state governments, or local governments. Additionally, multiple states gave about $1.5 trillion directly to their local governments for a grand total of approximately $4.36 trillion dollars in taxpayer funds solely under local control. Thus, local officials are making the majority of key investment decisions in your community regarding infrastructure, education, and yes—community values.

For example, there are county commissioners in numerous states, such as Ohio, Michigan, and others, documented as directly using taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood. Due to this support, Planned Parenthood now has advocacy arms in most states, and they’ve sent out press releases on their 2021 endorsements for county commissioners, city council members, and mayors’ races.

On the other end of the spectrum, just last week, the city council of Mason, Ohio voted 4-3 to approve an ordinance making their city the 41st “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.” Essentially, this ordinance does not prohibit any particular type of medical practice from opening in Mason. However, it does make carrying out, obtaining, providing transportation for, coercing a woman into, or providing money for an abortion anywhere in its city limits completely illegal.

For those with school-age children, local school board elections this November are of utmost importance. Many states vest the greatest power over children’s public-school education in local school board officials. In these states, their Department of Education can only recommend regulations in the schools—not demand. As such, activists that find themselves elected to school boards have done such things as get into contracts with Planned Parenthood for sex education in schools.

Additionally, parents have fought against LGBTQ+ indoctrination in their children’s classrooms, only to have an elected school board deny their children exemptions from these harmful lessons. In some schools, this agenda is being taught as early as kindergarten by using subtle language such as the “gender-bread man” or the “gender unicorn.” These tools are meant to cause children to question their biological sex (instead of affirming their God-given biological sex) and expose children to sexually explicit material at an age when their innocence should be protected.

Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 27 percent of eligible voters nationwide vote in the typical municipal election. So, while the federal politicians may grab headlines, the most impactful place to pray, vote, and stand is right in your own community this November 2nd.

Amanda Magoteaux interned for State and Local Affairs at Family Research Council.