Tuesday, March 1, is the date for the Minnesota precinct caucuses. For our area, Senate District 53, the Republican caucuses are at East Ridge High School; for the DFL, at Woodbury High School.

Many other states convene their grassroots political gathering on March 1, thus the designation Super Tuesday.

I always attend my caucus.

Some years they are exciting, as in 2008. Many years they would seem boring, as few people even bother to show up at these community meetings.

Many misunderstand the purpose of the caucuses. They are crucial.

Unfortunately watching the made-for-TV dramas in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and others to come doesn’t help enlighten the ordinary citizen in Minnesota.

Succinctly, the precinct caucus is where the action begins for political parties. It is out of these local meetings that the process begins for the selection of all candidates for all offices where political party designation is crucial.

Caucuses are also the place where the parties begin to formulate their positions on critical issues like campaign finance reform, et cetera. Citizens are invited to bring forth and debate issues of interest or concern.

Any citizen can participate in the political process, most importantly at the precinct caucus level.

If you have never been to a caucus, attend yours, this year, from start to finish.

It is simple to find out where they are. Simply go to the Minnesota Secretary of State website, mnvotesinfo.sos.state.mn.us.

Whatever your political preference, you can find a tutorial about what happens in a Minnesota precinct caucus.

For your opinion to truly count, you have to show up at your precinct caucus. The caucus is where election 2016 begins.

Dick Bernard