All politics is local.

Remember that when you’re watching the Democratic National Convention this week, or listening to the latest bile coming from Donald Trump.

Trump didn’t give us HB 2. Hillary Clinton didn’t lock up the footage from police body cameras.

Our own state legislators did that.

And that’s not all they did.

In the legislative session that recently ended, they made it easier for people to survive heroin overdoses. They quashed a medical marijuana bill. They meddled in city government. They made it easier to pollute the environment.

Our local delegations — seven from Forsyth County and nine from Guilford — sponsored hundreds of bills, a fraction of which made it into law. Their greatest hits are documented in this week’s cover story, “Ball hogs,” beginning on page 14.

Remember, as you read about their work in the last seven months, that each one of them is up for re-election in the fall.

It says much about the state of North Carolina politics that even in blue counties like Guilford and Forsyth, where Barack Obama won in both 2008 when he won the state and 2012 when he lost it, the delegations are majority Republican.

But let’s put presidential politics aside for the moment — because, really, no one has any idea who is going to take North Carolina, which is shaping up to be one of the most important swing states in the election.  NC’s 15 electoral votes loom larger than ever before.

The closer you get to home, the more it matters. Your city council has more effect on your day-to-day life than the president of the United States. And your state senator and reps will intrude much more effectively than anyone we send to Washington, DC.

In this election season, candidates will talk a lot about values and other abstractions designed to appeal to our emotions: fear, outrage, charity, fear again.

But we don’t elect politicians to make us feel good. We elect them to do a very specific job: Write and pass laws that will help their constituents — the voters, not the special interests that finance their campaigns.

So forget the stump-speech hype in these heady months before the election and concentrate on how your representatives did their jobs this term when you decide whether or not to replace them. Do your own research and make up your own mind.

Your homework begins on page 14.

Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.

We believe that reporting can save the world.

The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.

All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.

⚡ Join The Society ⚡