The Local Issues Our Readers Care About

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Lisa Lerer, your host.

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Federal authorities arrested a man this morning in connection to the string of mail bombs sent to politicians and CNN this week. The story is still developing.

Read our coverage here. And if you missed it earlier this week, here’s our conversation on how fear is playing on the campaign trail.

While certainly an important political story, the case seems unlikely to be a game-changer in the midterms. Today, we’re highlighting the issues you’ve told us you’re thinking about this election season.

Infrastructure investments. Environmental concerns. Affordable housing. The opioid crisis.

Readers from all across the country wrote in last week to tell us about the political issues you and your neighbors would like to hear more about in the final days of the campaign.

In the West, the environment was a big concern.

“People in Washington State are voting on — and talking about — the carbon fee,” wrote Cambria Roth. (The plan would charge corporate polluters and reinvest that money in climate-friendly causes, according to Crosscut.)

“The carbon tax is a very contentious issue,” added Georgianna Morgan, another Washington resident. “I’m ready to kick oil and coal to the curb.”

Claire Moulden, of Colorado, wrote about “fracking setbacks from homes, schools, etc.” — a ballot measure there would ban oil and gas drilling within at least half a mile of homes, schools, businesses and waterways.

Californians told us they were talking about the environment, too. (By the way, more of you wrote in from California than any other state. Hi guys! We see you!)

But the bigger issue there seems to be homelessness — and the conditions that can lead to it.

“Here in Anaheim, what to do about the homeless encamped along the Santa Ana River, in our parks, and in our freeway verges has been a very hot topic for a couple of years, getting hotter all the time,” wrote Julia Schroter.

Emily Wheeler, in Oakland, said, “the homelessness crisis is being fueled by the housing affordability crisis” — around 60 percent of the city’s homeless population had previously lived in homes in the area for over 10 years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The issue is on the ballot statewide with Proposition 10, and in the city with measures W and Y.

Income inequality was a topic across the country.

“We have a huge income gap in New Orleans,” wrote Amy Knoll. “For a town that relies on tourism, they’ve discovered that if the workers can’t live close to their jobs, there is no one to serve the people they give their amenities to.”

In northeast Ohio, the dominant issue is the opioid crisis, said Priscilla R. Smith. The state had the second-highest overdose rate in the country, behind only West Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In Massachusetts, the opioid crisis is playing out through a fight over a new bridge. Boston wants to build a bridge to an island that houses a now-dormant addiction center. But that bridge would have to run through the town of Quincy — which is opposing it.

“You can just imagine the traffic headaches, right?” wrote Claire Goodwin. “Well, the story is a major headache for the area, with all sorts of implications for wellness treatment and quality of life for the addicts and the Quincy residents.”

Bridges were a worry, too, for those of you concerned about…

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