It’s a major election year, and it’s hard not to focus on the big race. Who will be running our entire nation after November? Will it be Barack Obama for a second term, or will Republican Mitt Romney pull off the upset? 

With talk of Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act passing the test of the nation’s highest court, and his recent announcements of supporting gay marriage and suddenly feeling the need to not deport young illegal immigrants, the incumbent appears to be riding high in the polls, and we are fascinated with the biggest political stage there is.

However, that political show is overshadowing some of the races that are probably more important in our every day lives. Those races are happening right here in Pima County and Arizona.

Last year, the City of Tucson hosted an election, and while we got a new mayor (thanks to Bob Walkup retiring), for some reason we still reelected several council members who should have been voted out a long time ago. Councilwoman Shirley Scott is an excellent example of that.

In Pima County, we have all five supervisors up for election, with District 1 Supervisor Ann Day opting not to run for reelection.

In Pima County and Tucson there is a lot of talk about the state of our streets, the high tax rates, the mess that is Rio Nuevo, and yet, year after year we seem as voters to pay more attention to the election for president or a U.S. Senator.

It is these local races that decides your local issues. The president is never going to say Tucson and Pima County have bad streets. He’s not going to tell Congress to fix them. No, that responsibility is left up to our local officials.

I have to say I wish our elected officials in Tucson and Pima County would spend as much time working to make the quality of living here higher with street repairs than they did working to keep the two elephants at Reid Park Zoo together when one of them was transferred to San Diego.

District 1 is a key race in Pima County. There are four Republicans seeking the chance to run against Democrat Nancy Young Wright. It is important to know all of these candidates, see where they stand on the issues, and be ready when it is time to mark that ballot.

It is also important to not only be informed, but also to vote. Nationwide voter turnout is getting lower and lower, and yet, the problems persist and so does the complaining.

It is our responsibility to vote, and it is our responsibility to vote for change when nothing changes for the good. 

Besides the county races, voters will also have plenty of decisions to make at the state level. These races are also important. The tax rate Arizonans pay, the fact that Arizona continues to rank almost last in education funding are two reasons we need to pay attention to what is happening right here at home.

On an end note, I will also stress the importance of paying attention to the school board races. These governing boards are setting budgets, deciding how many teachers to keep in staff and are deciding what is important to teach our kids and what isn’t.

These boards are also important come election time.

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