The charts below illustrate the broad strokes of local government. Why should anyone care? Lots of reasons, but mostly this: Our interactions with local government—we’re using Hamilton County and Cincinnati as the main examples, with a look at NKY—are a small piece of a larger puzzle that determines the course of our country. It’s how we the people can make change happen. We can vote (and we’ll talk about that, too, since there’s a little ol’ presidential election looming on the horizon), but the nitty gritty change starts here. Do you know how it all works? We certainly didn’t, until we started looking. Plus, government is just the beginning. Community boards, nonprofits, social services organizations—all of these groups offer entry points to change, giving you the opportunity to influence whatever systems oversee the issues you care about. So take heart, raise your voice, and begin to move those levers of power. Of, by, and for the people, indeed.