Every Friday, Federalism in Action compiles the Top 3 stories on local people making local decisions into a blog. To check out last week’s post, click here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Election Night Recap

On Tuesday, citizens in a handful of states went to the ballot box for local and statewide races and ballot initiatives. The gubernatorial competitions in New Jersey and Virginia drew the most attention, with Democrat Terry McAullife winning by a narrower-than-expected margin in Virginia and Republican incumbent Chris Christie winning by a landslide. You can find a full recap of race results here and a recap of the ballot initiative results here. Check out some great footage from across the nation on Election Day of local people exercising their civic duties.

FOR MOTIVATION: Federalism and Chemical Warfare?

This week, federalism is on trial at the U.S. Supreme Court and for a surprising reason. The high court began hearing arguments for a chemical warfare case with significant implications for the balance of power between the federal government and the states. In Bond v. USA, federal prosecutors have charged Carol Bond with committing chemical warfare. She confessed wrongdoing, admittedly using a chemical substance to cover the car and mailbox of a woman who had an affair with her husband; however, instead of treating this as a state criminal case, federal prosecutors cite the Chemical Treaty of 1998 as the legal argument for prosecuting her at the federal level. The Wall Street Journal calls this “a made-to-order opening for the High Court…to reassert federalism as the Constitution’s bulwark of liberty.”

FOR FUN: “Keep It Local” is Catching on

Perhaps more than any other national chain, Whole Foods Market is synonymous with the concept of “keeping it local.” You can find it printed on their grocery bags, highlighted in their advertisements and featured almost everywhere in their stores. The industry leader for years, Whole Foods comfortably charged higher prices consumers were willing to pay in exchange for items produced close to home. However, other markets and chains are catching on to the idea that grocery shoppers really do value eating locally. These stores are entering the market, charging lower prices for premium local products and providing Whole Foods with new competition. The concept of eating locally is now longer only for “health nuts;” Whole Foods’ marketing strategy has made the idea mainstream.

BONUS: Do You Know Your City Council?

We often complain about an overreaching federal government and with good reason. Today, the federal government maintains unprecedented power and influence in our lives. However, what are we doing about it? If Washington is the problem, how are we engaged at the state and local level to make a difference? A lengthy but thought-provoking editorial asks this very question, offering motivation for civic involvement:

 “Valuing the power of state and local government is also not limited to simply voting or running for office. It is also about political engagement on the sub-national level. It is about being an informed citizen on matters outside the Beltway. It’s about knowing and caring about who is making what laws in your town, county, and state. Whether conservatives or liberals do this more, most of us could probably do a better job of it personally.”

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