Local government 101

Class is in session — learn more about our local government and how to get involved.


Wondering who does what in Boston government? Keep reading.

Do you ever wonder how our local government works? You’re not alone. Today, we’re kicking off a series where we dig into the ins and outs of how our city’s government is organized and how you can get involved.

City Council

Who’s involved?
The City Council is the legislative body made up of 13 elected representatives for the City of Boston. The council serves as the connection between residents and their municipal government + councilors are elected every two years.

The council is made up of four at-large councilors and nine district councilors that represent specific areas (aka districts). Think: Hyde Park, Charlestown, and Fenway-Kenmore.

Want to know who represents your neighborhood? Find your local representative through this map tool.

How does it work?
The Council enacts laws through a process involving hearings, committee reports, and a vote by members.

The City Council chair will add an item on the agenda for a committee to review. Oftentimes, the committee chair can hold a hearing on the issue — these hearings are open to the public and residents can testify in-person or submit written testimony. At the end of the hearing, the chair will send a report to the full City Council with its recommendation on the issue. If the committee needs more time, the committee chair can ask for another hearing on the issue or send a report to the City Council at a later date.

To get involved, add one of these upcoming meetings to add to your calendar. The next council meeting is Wednesday, April 5 at 12 p.m.

Living in the place where our democracy was started, we want to make sure all Bostonians stay informed + engaged. Let us know which City cabinet or branch of local government we should cover next.