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Sue's Views: Local caucuses coming Tuesday

MORRIS – What are you doing Tuesday night?

I honestly and sincerely hope that you are planning to attend your precinct caucus. Precinct caucuses are meetings organized by the political parties to begin the process of selecting candidates for the 2014 elections and to construct the policies that shape party platforms.

The precinct caucus is an important step in the process of democracy. This is the first step in choosing the candidates who will eventually be elected to represent us in the Minnesota Legislature and the United States Congress.

The people we elect make decisions that affect almost every aspect of our daily lives. These include decisions from what happens in our schools and workplaces and what recreational facilities we have, to national issues, like health and education, and global issues like defense and the environment. It matters to each and every one of us who represents us at local, national and international level; they reflect our values and principles.

But don’t let that scare you. Precinct caucuses are first and foremost, a gathering of neighbors who will discuss issues that are on their minds. And yes, politics on occasion can be hard to discuss, but we as a community need to talk about what is happening in our towns, our schools, our workplaces and our families and how it can be improved.

Precinct caucuses are open to the public and participation is encouraged by the political parties. To vote, offer resolutions or become a delegate at a caucus, attendees must be eligible to vote in the next general election, must live in the precinct and must “be in general agreement with the principles of the political party,” according to the Secretary of State's website.

Our political system is built on the foundation of “We the People” and the one thing that guarantees that it continues to work is people participating in the process. You don’t have to be a statesman to have an impact, all you need is to be involved. Because when real people get involved, political conversations change. The hard part is getting real people to believe that change can happen and they are capable of being part of it.

As part of the caucus, you can propose resolutions which may be used to construct your political party’s platform. You will elect your representative who will attend the County Convention.

They will cast their votes for party officers and delegates to the next convention. You could even be elected as an officer or delegate. How cool would that be?

Caucuses begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday. For Stevens County residents, the Republican caucus will be held at the Prairie Inn of Morris, the DFL caucus is in the Morris Area Elementary School cafeteria and the Independence Party caucus is at the Morris Public Library.

The Minnesota Secretary of State has information about caucus locations for other counties. Visit the website, and click on the Caucus Finder tool. This will help you find the location of all caucuses held in your precincts.

Tuesday brings a chance to make sure your voice is heard, your ideas are shared and your experience is put to good use.

All you have to do is show up.