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Run for office? What, now?

If you care about the future of your community, if you have the willingness and time to commit, you're a qualified candidate for local public office.

Yes, it's a crazy way to encourage participation in our democracy, but that's how things are done in Wisconsin.

Thus, from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3 — prime time for the winter holidays, school closings, vacations and traveling — is when candidates for local office are asked to come forward and file nomination papers.

Can you think of a worse time, a time with more distractions? We can't, but that's how it is.

And the 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3 candidate filing deadline is fast approaching.

Lousy timing aside, keep this in mind: Serving on a school board, city council, town board or county board is as important for those of us close to home as serving as U.S. senator or representative is to the country at large.

Roads need to be maintained and kept clear in winter. Kids need the best educational opportunities. Safety-net social programs are vital for the elderly, those less well-off and with disabilities. Competent officers are needed for law enforcement. Planning is needed to attract new businesses that bring jobs, stores and shops for better shopping and tax revenues.

Some towns nominate town board candidates at caucuses next month.

You don't have to be a polished politician to run. If you care about the future of your community, if you have the willingness and time to commit, you're a qualified candidate for local public office.

Go for it.

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