The importance of good, thoughtful, nimble local government became abundantly evident last year as the pandemic unfolded.

SARS-CoV-2 clearly was a global problem, but the White House administration reacted slowly at best and so, with no concrete federal plan to follow, each state essentially crafted its own. Governors called for school closures and instituted stay-home orders, buying time to do so.

The immediate onus fell on local leaders, however: Municipal and county clerks had to provide safe elections.

Then the people who won -- and hadn’t known when they filed for office that a pandemic would be part of the package -- joined their fellow city council, county board and school board members to meet the challenges.

A vital component to local government’s success was from being local. They knew their community. They were committed to their neighbors. They could react more quickly than unwieldy, politically charged state and federal governments.

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Now it’s time to choose some of those who will serve going forward.

National elections generate greater buzz, but local elections should equal weight and compel us to vote. That is more clear than ever. Local government oversees our public education. Local government delivers our most direct link to public health services. Local government affects the property taxes you pay. Local government determines the level and quality of so many services we took for granted before the pandemic.

Wisconsin’s 2020 spring elections came on the heels of COVID-19’s arrival in our region. Here we are in April again just days away from the 2021 spring election. Local candidates have invested time and effort in seeking these positions of service. Now citizens need to invest their time to vote and determine who should help lead our local communities.