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There are so many hats flying into the ring of Hamilton County politics your head will spin.

There are two new districts that need to be filled on the Hamilton County Commission and Board of Education. We will elect a new county mayor (and that race promises to be a doozy). Constitutional office holders — think sheriff, district attorney, trustee, county clerk and the like — and judges are up. State representatives and state senators, U.S. representatives and U.S. senators and governor too.

This election cycle is going to be more action-packed whether we needed the back room at Wally's or the main hall at Abba's House for a candidate meet-and-greet.

(READ MORE: Opinion: Legislature back to work but what will get done?)

First, to all of those who have decided to enter the public office arena, thank you. Running for office takes guts and a really thick skin. Good for you.

Thank you for surveying our current political, social and cultural landscape and trying to find a way to help. I believe this to be true: Our most valuable resource is our time, not our money, and donating the former has more impact than the latter in almost every case.

A quick aside: Let's remember all of this interest from all of these candidates the next time a public servant raises the issue of pay increases. These folks know what these jobs pay and what they don't. And they know what the benefits and perks are of the public office they are seeking. Don't forget that — voters and candidates alike.

I have two requests as we lurch into the heat of campaign season:

(READ MORE: Opinion: What's in a word? Here are some to leave behind in 2021)

First, we need a practical, one-question survey all candidates should answer: Why do you want this seat?

Let your written word be the stump from which you launch your campaign. Because the all-too-familiar speeches about "continuing the historic and transcendent growth" of the county or "bringing a common sense/experienced voice/fresh set of ideas" to the leadership team all make for great sound bites. But when strung together for the informed reader, those words sound like the handbook for Politics 101 meets a fresh swirl of my morning Alpha-Bits cereal.

Second, for all of us who are not running for office but whose lives will be shaped by the ones who are, please register to vote and then go vote. Make voting a priority because our local officeholders will have more impact on our lives and future than any other elected official. The yelling pundits on cable programs may dominate the breakfast or dinner hours, but that is talking head theater created for ratings. Pay attention to what is happening here.

(READ MORE: Opinion: Swafford drives through COVID with commitment to others)

Simply put friends, politically speaking, your backyard should be front of mind.

Especially this year, when the stakes and number of candidates are raised.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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Jay Greeson
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