Now’s the time to tune in to 2020 election

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The 2020 election season in Montana is officially off and running. On Thursday, the first day of filing, 100 candidates filed with the Montana Secretary of State’s office for both legislative and non-legislative races, indicating a high level of interest.

It’s destined to be a pivotal year, both on the national stage and here at home. Political pundits have been speculating ad nauseam about the 2020 presidential election for some time now, but don’t let them wear down your interest level. The months leading up to the June primary election will be crucial, not only for national races but also for state and county elections.

Now is the time to tune into the big issues that will weigh heavy on our state legislators during the 2021 session. Montana lawmakers will be heading to the Capitol this week for Legislative Week, a time for training and information gathering about what the big state issues will be a year from now.

The issues legislators will be talking about also will be the issues that will shape the campaigns for those seeking state House and Senate positions.

There will be discussion about whether to shift the Legislature from its biennial session to an annual session. Another important topic for our neck of the woods is expanded infrastructure in the form of high-speed internet access, a valuable commodity for rural communities wanting to enhance economic development. The Montana Free Press points out “lawmakers haven’t always agreed on the right way for state government to encourage broadband development, and pointed to a Republican bill aimed at incentivizing rural telecom development that was vetoed by Gov. Bullock last year.

We say this during every election cycle, but it’s more important — perhaps more important than ever — for voters to get involved and learn all they can about the challenges facing Montana.

Here in Flathead County, the District 1 county commissioner seat is up for grabs, along with the clerk of court position. And with just a three-person county commission, it’s vitally important to represent top-notch leaders willing to do their home work and make tough decisions.

Voters have a responsibility to make informed decisions, and there are myriad ways to get involved. Attend candidate forums. Get involved with the campaigns of candidates who reflect your point of view. Read the newspaper’s pre-election coverage. Write letters to the editor. Encourage people to vote.

If we don’t care enough to make informed decisions in the voting booth, then for better or worse, we get what we deserve.

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