Where I Stand – CIVICS 101

By Lori Simpson

League of Women Voters of Plumas County


The League of Women Voters of Plumas County conducts a variety of activities:

▪ Informing the public about registration, voting and the political process.

▪ Conducting election forums for local and state candidates for all public offices, as well as ballot initiatives; distributing Pros and Cons published by the LWV California on ballot measures throughout Plumas County.

▪ Sponsoring the Nancy Lund Memorial annual essay contest for Plumas County students in grades 9-12.

▪ Encouraging young adults to engage in political debate and better understand our democratic process.

As a former elected Plumas County Supervisor, I was often invited to speak to – Scout troops, elementary school classes, high school government classes, and college political science classes about the duties and responsibilities of my elected local government position, as well as the duties and responsibilities of a United States citizen. I always looked forward to speaking to young people and loved to invite them to our Board of Supervisors meetings to observe, ask questions, and participate in the local government process. At times, I was able to arrange a mock debate about a local issue, for example: The proposal to cut down trees at Dame Shirley Plaza in Quincy.

It was compelling to listen to each speaker as they would give their arguments for or against the issue,using the raw power of words to educate and persuade. I could see the wheels turning in their brains with freshness of thinking and the formation of ideas and arguments to support their position.

Young people, their ideas, and their opinions on current issues, whether local, state or federal, are so interesting to hear or read as they are forming ideas, the research involved, and the compelling argument or opinion put forth in the final essay or speech.

I am impressed and reassured about the upcoming generations and the ideas of the young. It is exciting, hopeful, and encouraging. There is our future, we want them to have an interest in the world around them and to become good citizens. We want them to have an interest in community, in government, and we want to encourage them to participate in making the world a better place as our“Founding Fathers” had in mind when they wrote the United States Constitution.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a United States citizen?

Obey federal, state, and local laws, serve in the military if called upon to defend the country, serve on court jury duty when summoned, pay taxes, and attend school.

Be informed about issues and vote in elections, respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others, respect the property of others, and participate in your community.

Why is it important to participate in your local community? Volunteering is one of the greatest ways to give your precious time to make your community a better place to live. We need local citizens of all ages to step up and serve on the many vacancies of oversight boards of directors for local special districts. We need people to serve on local non-profits boards, to serve with local youth group/sports activities, to help those who can’t themselves get to doctor appointments or to out-of-town medical treatments. We need volunteers to clean up trash and litter along the roadways and in the great outdoors. We need volunteers to work the food banks and community suppers. We need volunteers to help neighbors clean up the excessive combustible fuels around the communities where we live. We need volunteers to serve on our fire departments. This volunteer list is endless.

Volunteering is an important part of our vibrant rural communities. It creates a strength of community network and good will. Thank you to all the current volunteers-your work and time is so valued and appreciated. You are our heroes and role models! Good citizenship starts at home and ripples throughout the world!