We are all focused on the Presidential contest involving Barack Obama and John McCain. Often, people ask "What's in it for me?"
Beyond the major policy positions on taxes, healthcare, social security, national defense, and education, the outcomes starts to become fuzzy for most voters. It is difficult to articulate how a victory for Barack Obama will translate into a specific benefit for an individual voter. For those going to the polls, we have to look beyond the top of the ticket and focus on those elections that represent our local interests. The Senate and House of Representatives elections offer some insight into how we can translate a victory for Obama into the answer to "What's in it for me?"
Elections for the United States Senate will be held on November 4, 2008, with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Thirty-three seats are regular elections. Democrats need six seats to regain the majority and have five possible pickup opportunities -- Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Missouri, Montana and Ohio. They also have three races on the cusp of competitiveness -- Virginia, Tennessee and Arizona. Republican prospects are actually looking up in both Maryland and Washington State while the open seat in Minnesota is a tough but winnable race. If the Democrats pick up the six seats, they will have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and solid support for the Obama "Change Agenda."
In the House of Repressentatives all 435 seats are up for election. Democrats, who regained a majority in the 2006 elections hope to retain or expand their control of Congress. Although it is very unlikely at this point, the Republicans hope to regain the majority it lost in the 2006 elections or at least add to their numbers. Turnout likely will be increased due to the 2008 presidential election. The presidential election, 2008 Senate elections, and 2008 state gubernatorial elections, as well as many other state and local elections, will occur on the same date.
When we consider our local interests, we can send Representatives and Senators to Washington to support the mandate that may result from this election. If you want to vote your self-interests, take a closer look at the local ballot initiatives and those candidates for House of Representatives and Senate in your State to get a firmer grip on the outcomes that will affect your life personally.
The bottom line is that there is a lot in this election for you -- for all of us who support Barack Obama. Don't miss this unique historical opportunity to secure the majorities in Washington that can actually produce the change we hope for.
DON'T FAIL TO VOTE!!!
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