Though it may not seem possible, this year's election season is upon us or is at least probably a lot closer than you think. If you need any more proof of this contention, take note of all the political figures making trips to the Upper Peninsula, with increasing frequency.
In recent weeks we have had, or will have, Jerry Cannon, a Fife Lake Democrat and Republican Alan Arcand of Iron River, both of whom are running for the seat currently filled by U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, who has also been in the district; Democrat Mark Schauer, who is running against Gov. Rick Snyder, who recently announced he is running for re-election to a second term; Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party chairman and Gary Peters, a downstate Bloomfield Township Democrat running against former Michigan Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land, a Republican, for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin, D-Detroit, who is retiring.
It will be an important election year with those seats and others, along with important referendums hitting the ballot, including those on the state's wolf hunt and tax revenue directed to urban areas.
But beyond noticing that the candidates are coming through the area, we urge voters to get out and meet them. Try to learn more about their backgrounds and their stances on issues important to you, your local community, your state and your nation.
It's good to be able to put a name with a face and a face-to-face meeting with a candidate can form a lasting impression, good or bad.
Though it's still the middle of winter, try to cast at least a glance toward next August and November and remember that the policiticans are already on the move, positioning themselves for the best places to be in when the largest percentage of the electorate takes full notice of the election.
But by then, a lot of the best opportunities to have time to know and understand a candidate to any real degree of depth, and their backgrounds and what they want to do if elected, are often already passed by.
Yes, remember to get out to vote in the summer and the fall. But get out there now and meet your candidates. We think the time invested will pay off at the ballot box and later when those who are elected are crafting policy for their Upper Peninsula constituencies.