7 Obscure Elected Offices You Didn’t Know Existed

Run for Something
5 min readDec 15, 2022
Banner for “7 Obscure Elected Offices You Didn’t Know Existed”

Across the country, there are thousands of elected local and state positions that contribute to the function of our day-to-day lives. State senators and representatives, council members and clerks, governors and mayors — but what about the hyper-niche positions that you may not know about? Hidden behind the well known offices are the officials that control environmental conservation or death investigations or even the inspection of mines.

Whether you’re considering running in 2023/24 or thinking of the bigger picture down the road, there might be the perfect position for you on this list!

Whatever office it may be, one thing is for certain: you should run. Don’t convince yourself otherwise — you’re qualified and your community needs people like you to step up.

Learn more about 7 elected offices you didn’t know existed:

Banner for American River Flood Control District Trustee

American River Flood Control District Trustee
In Sacramento, California, there is such a thing as the American River Flood Control District. Started in 1927 as an act of the State Legislature to provide flood protection to citizens of the Sacramento community, the ARFCD maintains the 40 miles of levees along the American River and portions of various creeks.
The ARFCD is governed by a Board of Trustees who are elected by voters. This year, Run For Something candidate Rae Vander Werf won their reelection to the ARFCD! Their work includes mowing levee slopes, trimming vegetation, weed control, rodent abatement, erosion repairs, and more.

Public Advocate
In New York City, voters can decide on an official NYC Public Advocate. This role includes (but is not limited to) introducing and co-sponsoring legislation, serving as an ombudsman (neutral dispute resolver, basically), providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizen complaints, and making proposals. job is intended to keep the city government in check and serve the community.
Fun fact: Former Mayor and Presidential candidate Bill de Blasio was once elected public advocate. Currently, Jumaane Williams serves as public advocate but he recently ran for Governor of New York.

Railroad Commissioner
Texas has three railroad commissioners. The position was created in the late 1800s with regulation in mind, then moved into the energy industry throughout the mid-1900s, and now mostly oversees Texas’ oil and natural gas industry.
The commission has been a Republican stronghold for over two decades. But this year, a 33-year old Texan Democrat stepped up to run. Luke Warford wanted to run because of the devastating power grid failure of 2021, and though he lost, he raised important issues for his community. It’s important to run regardless of the odds to highlight the issues and inspire others. And who knows, you might win!

Mine Inspector
Arizona’s State Mine Inspector is probably the most unique position on this list. It is an independent, constitutionally-mandated office.According to the official website of the Arizona State Mine Inspector’s office, the mission of the agency is to ensure the health and safety of people working at mines, coordinate the closure of abandoned mines on state and private land posing a threat to public health and safety, and to ensure that lands used for mining are properly reclaimed for public use once mining is completed.
Not-so-fun Fact: Since its beginnings in 1912, this office has been held strictly by white men. But we can change that!

Transportation District Board Member
Love public transportation? Find out if your city elects or appoints their Transportation District Board Members. Currently, board members in Denver, San Francisco, and Oakland are elected by the public, but those are just the big cities that come to mind. These elected officials work to improve transit performance, cleanliness, efficiency, accessibility, and fares.

Justice of the Peace
Justices of the Peace can be elected or appointed, and essentially, they handle low level court cases and other minor civil matters. Most commonly, this role comes up when it comes to officiating weddings — but they do much more than that. There are thousands of Justice of the Peace (or Clerk of the Peace) elected seats all over the country.

Another fun fact: the original title of a Coroner was “Crowner”, whose job was to ensure that upon death, appropriate taxes were paid to the King. You don’t have to be a doctor to be elected as a county Coroner.Coroners themselves (typically) do not perform autopsies but do contract those services out. Think of a County Coroner as an administrative role within death services and investigations — that’s really the best way to describe the job.

All to say, there’s an elected position for everyone — especially you. Find out how you can run at: runforwhat.net.



Run for Something

Recruiting & supporting young people running for office. Building a Democratic bench. Want to help? hello@runforsomething.net