In Iowa, we are afforded a great opportunity every four years to be first in the nation to select who will be our next presidential candidates. With the right to vote in Iowa comes a responsibility to study the issues and make prudential judgments.

Four years ago, the Republican Party had multiple candidates and Iowans helped narrow that field of candidates. This year, the focus is on the 20-plus candidates on the Democratic side. Regardless of which party is the focus, it is incumbent upon all Iowans to get to know these candidates and enter the public conversation about the future of our country.

Too often, I hear my fellow Iowans say, "There are too many candidates right now. I’ll pay attention when it gets down to a more manageable number."

Think about this. Getting to know 20 candidates is too much work? Most of us can recite plenty of information about at least 20 actors or actresses, 20 sports heroes or 20 favorite musicians.

I’ve also heard my fellow Iowans complain in the last election that they did not like either presidential candidate. We should be grateful that in Iowa, we can do something about that.

Let’s seize the opportunity to engage the candidates, and each other, in civic dialogue about the issues that matter. Our democracy can only work if we have an informed electorate. This is our great challenge and responsibility as Iowans.

Dan R. Ebener





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