It was barely into the month of June when I am sure that most of you noticed, as I did, that campaign commercials were already slowly starting to show up on television, radio and in other media outlets.
I know that Election Day is still far off in November, and there are still primaries to be held, and the fact is that some candidates have not yet even announced their intentions to run.
But now may be the time to start taking note of those who will be running for office, and all the issues that will be confronting our municipalities, state and nation. Start educating yourself on these issues, and as candidates come forward, please listen carefully to their message and platform and remember what they say today so that you may hold their "feet to the fire" tomorrow.
Make it a point to look for consistency in the words these candidates put forth to make sure they are not just saying what is convenient at the moment, and try to avoid putting too much emphasis on the political pundits. Research the candidates and check the accuracy of the claims they make, while also checking the history of the incumbents to see if they stuck to the promises they made to get them elected.
We all know that campaigns are by no means getting "kinder and gentler," so try not to get caught up in the hype that so often turns ugly. Consider only the meaningful facts in the messages put forth by these candidates and their representatives. Consider every statement made, and test its truthfulness.
So, why am I writing this in July when November seems so far off? I recall the days when I was in school and the many times I would have to "cram" for a test. Believe me when I tell you that is a very frustrating situation to be in. Despite the fact that I would always manage to get by, I found my performance was always much better when I would consistently study the test topic regularly, starting well before the date of the test. And still today, I find myself still cramming in some ways - like in completing this article right before deadline.
Remember, as citizens, we can make a difference, and as citizens, we do have an obligation and duty to vote. If we don't take that obligation seriously, and approach it intelligently, it could very well be a wasted vote. I am asking you not to "cram" for that very important test that will take place on Nov. 4. Start studying now so that when you walk into the voting booth to make those very significant decisions about candidates, please do so with all the confidence that the choice you make will be the right one for you and your business.
Mark Kilmer is the president of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.