The May primary election isn't too far off. It's not too early to learn more about the men and women who will be on the ballot.

We don't need to turn on the national news to hear carping about government. There's plenty of that at the local level.

Some of the criticism is warranted; some is unfair. It depends on your personal set of values.

We, as Americans, have always been quick to challenge our elected leaders. That's one of the best things about a democracy.

As long as we make an effort to push for improvements and solutions we'll be OK. However, grumbling alone won't accomplish much.

We are blessed with the privilege of choosing our leaders. Sadly, not everyone is fully engaged and invested in the political process.

Good government requires leaders capable of making critical decisions. During such challenging times as we've experienced here in southern Indiana in recent years, with budgets tight and needs aplenty, local governments require bright, sensible public servants capable and willing to make the most of what little funding is available.

The upside of local government is our leaders reside here among us. You need not travel far to ask questions, and express your views.

A visit to local government offices should get you the audience you wish. If not, those officials are falling short of their assigned duties.

Before the primary election in May, citizens have ample time to meet candidates face to face and discuss issues and air concerns. While much information is available via advertisements, press releases, candidate websites, social networking websites, and a variety of other avenues, we encourage you to seek out candidates and get to know them. Remember, this is your government, and these potential servants would work for you.

Rather than expressing concerns or airing rumors and speculation round the water cooler, go directly to the source.

Any candidate of merit should welcome your input.