Now is the time to get familiar with candidates

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The candidate filing period is an important part of the democratic process.

As new candidates and old candidates enter their names to run for election or re-election to different offices, it promotes discussion of ideas and issues.

We hope to see a strong crop of candidates start to emerge when the filing period for the May 6 primary opens at noon today.

Having a diverse group of candidates to choose from is important to help ensure that we have strong leaders to guide our state, nation, counties and communities. That is especially important considering some of the challenges that all levels of government are facing in today’s world, ranging from a changing economy to high unemployment.

Strong participation from candidates is important, but so is strong participation from the public. We must pay attention during the filing period and the campaign season and do our part to learn about the different candidates, including their experiences and what they stand for, so we can make informed choices when we vote.

It’s also important that we attend public debates and forums featuring the candidates and help to drive discussion and debate about public policy issues that matter to our communities by raising important questions about those topics with the candidates who are vying for office.

Our elected officials are responsible for representing the people, but they can’t represent our interests unless we make our priorities known.

The filing period runs until noon on Feb. 28, and we are eager to see how the field of candidates for different offices will shape up during the next two-and-a-half weeks.