It seems that everywhere you go, every television station you watch, and every radio station you listen to, most every conversation is about the current presidential race. This race has really piqued the interest of most people in America, be they white, African-American, Hispanic or other. The thought that a black man or even a white female could possibly be elected to this country’s highest office has really got people ready to cast their vote (one way or another).

People who felt betrayed by the whole political system seem to now be filled with the hope that their vote can make a difference in this historical election. One thing is for sure: the next president will have the task of trying to lead this country out of some major difficulties.

With so many people interested in the presidential elections, my hope is that we don’t get so caught up in what will happen nationally that we don’t take the time to investigate those who are seeking local offices. Local politicians are the ones who have the most effect on our everyday lives.

Case in point: Just about every one of us will have to stand before a judge, be it traffic, divorce or some type of criminal case, etc. The judge will most likely be the one to decide your fate, so it behooves all of us to think long and hard about whom we are electing. Check the background of those seeking to represent the interests of our community. Think about all of those African-American young men who were sentenced by judges who felt they needed to be tough on crime and throw the book at our sons while giving others a slap on the wrist.

We should also look at races such as the state’s attorney’s race. The state’s attorney is the chief prosecutor for Cook County. The State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes all criminal cases involving misdemeanor and felony crimes committed in Cook County. The office files legal actions to enforce child support orders, consumer protection cases, fights to stop the exploitation of the elderly, and defends victims of domestic violence. The civil law section of the office represents all county-elected officials and county agencies.

There is also the office of the Recorder of Deeds. Mayor Daley, who generally stays out of county government, has endorsed the current alderman of the 28th Ward. If the alderman wins, it will leave an open aldermanic seat to be appointed by the mayor, not elected by the voters of the 28th ward.

We should also take this time to see where other elected officials stand. While listening to WVON radio, I heard state Senator Rickey Hendon point out that the majority of the Mexican elected officials in Springfield are aligning themselves with Hillary Clinton and not Barack Obama.

He stated that whenever the Latino delegation came to the black caucus, the black caucus always stood with their Latino brothers and sisters. They would work to help get legislation passed on their behalf, but now that they have a chance to reciprocate, they have chosen to stand alone.

All of these things should help form our opinions about this very important election. So as we get ready to cast our vote for president, let’s get educated and vote-not just with our heart but weigh all of the facts.