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The Florida League of Cities and Florida League of Mayors are hosting an essay writing contest for students in grades 6-8 to see how they would make a difference if they were elected mayor for a day. Students must begin their essay with, “If I were elected mayor…” . Additionally, they must describe how they would make a difference as mayor AND how Home Rule helps make their city a great place to live. Home Rule means that city officials live and work closest to residents, so they should get to decide how to govern their city. To learn more, see the resources below. Students have until January 29, 2021 to write the essay.
Winners will receive $100 (first place), $50 (second place) and $25 (third place) as well as a resolution from the mayor at a commission meeting. First-, second- and third-place essays will also be published in the Florida League of Cities’ Quality Cities magazine and on the Florida League of Mayors’ website.
View the essay contest information and entry form (PDF).
Florida has 411 municipalities (also called cities, towns and villages) that provide services every day to millions of Floridians and visitors. You can see, touch and taste these services. Turn on a faucet and water pours out. Put garbage cans and recycling bins outside, and they are picked up. Flush a toilet, and the contents go somewhere to be treated. When a fire starts, firetrucks with trained firefighters show up to save the day. Parks give residents fun places to play sports and use for outdoor activities. These are just some of the many services provided by your city government.
In the United States, each state has a constitution to establish its government. The state constitution also outlines how local governments can set up. In Florida, local governments are municipalities, counties, school districts and special districts. Imagine making the laws for these services. In a city, those laws are made by a mayor and city council. Going back to the state’s constitution for a minute, in some states the authority – the power – given to the local government is very limited, and in some states it is broader. Florida is one of the broad power states. A city can decide for itself. We call that power “Home Rule” because the decision is made at “home.” Another way to think about this power is that local voices are making local choices.
Learn more about Home Rule by watching the video below.