We know it feels like we just had an election. We did - a pretty big one, with a pretty big turnout, a ton of spending and an awful lot of engagement from citizens of all ages.
But in less than a month, we're due for elections again, albeit on a much smaller scale. No massive party apparatuses; no multimillion-dollar get-out-the-vote efforts.
But you should make an informed decision in these elections, anyway - and you should plan to get out and vote April 2. The decisions voters make in these races - which will elect a state Supreme Court justice, the state superintendent of schools and a number of local office-holders - will affect all of us.
? We don't need reminding about the ability of a Supreme Court to shape policy. Justices render complex, technical legal decisions and it would be a mistake to equate what they do with the work of legislators who directly make policy. But it would also be a mistake to pretend that political ideology never shapes their legal reasoning. We all know that it does.
The court faces decisions on cases dealing with the public employees' collective bargaining powers and the controversial 2011 voter ID law, which was not in effect in the 2012 elections. With a tight division between conservatives and liberals on the court, this election does have the power to tip the balance. That's worth paying attention to.
? Local taxpayers don't need reminding about the support we give to public schools. Nor would most question the fact that public schools are among the very most important investments we as a community can make. We need leaders in our local school districts who take that responsibility seriously and who can make wise, informed decisions that help move our schools forward. Those elected in the contested races in Wausau, Merrill, Mosinee and other communities will face hard and important choices.
? The past couple of years have seen watershed policy changes in the way Wisconsin evaluates teachers and principals, tracks student data and more. The superintendent of the state Department of Public Instruction will oversee the way these policies are put into practice - which could be the difference between success and failure of the new systems.
All of which is to say: Don't take a pass on this spring's elections.
Daily Herald Media will help you get your questions answered. We're scheduling candidate interviews now. We'll post live video of the interviews on our website, and we'll make them available at www.wausaudailyherald.com/opinion through the election. Send your questions, top issues and concerns to email@example.com - and tune in to the interviews on our website.