Democracy in your backyard

Where can you meet a senator from California, a mayor from South Bend, Ind., and a former Vice President of the United States? Well, in New Hampshire, of course. And they’ll likely be, or have been, in your town or a town near you.

That’s the advantage of living in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

More than 20 Democrats are running to win the right to take on the Republican candidate for president — most likely incumbent President Donald Trump (though he too has challengers, most notably former Mass. Gov. William Weld) in November 2020.

We have a front row seat to “retail politics.” With the exception of Iowa — whose caucus is the first nominating contest — no other state has the privilege of seeing democracy in action right in their backyard. The candidates will be kissing babies, shaking hands and speaking to as many voters as they can through February 2020 in their effort to win the Primary.

This New Hampshire Primary will be the fifth I’ve covered as a journalist, and I’ve participated in several more. After all these years of living here, it’s easy to forget how unique an experience and opportunity it is to have presidential candidates appearing at barbecues, town halls, even at people’s homes, with throngs of local and national media following closely behind.

With a few weeks left of summer vacation and appearances abounding, this is the time to try to see and meet some of the presidential candidates. It’s also a good way to engage your kids in the democratic process, maybe for the first time.

Even if you know who you are voting for, whether it is a Democrat or Republican candidate, it’s worth your time to expose your kids to the buzz and excitement surrounding the politicians and the press who come through here every four years. There’s nothing else like it.

With the number of candidates, there’s no excuse for not being able to catch one or more of the candidates in the diverse field. Encourage your child to ask you questions and be sure to follow up by taking them with you to the voting booth so you can set the example for your future voter.

Not sure where to start? Local media outlets, both print and online, are posting candidate appearances in New Hampshire. You can also visit the individual candidate websites to find their schedules.

Welcome, Kathleen

Kathleen Palmer’s column, “Never a Dull Moment” debuts this month in ParentingNH. You may recognize her from her role as the editor of Encore, an arts and entertainment publication based in Nashua, for five years. You may have also seen her on stage. She’s been a member of Actorsingers for 25 years and performed this spring in “Mamma Mia!’’ A longtime Granite State resident and lifelong writer, Kathleen has a tween-age daughter. She’s one of the funniest ladies I know and I’m thrilled she’s joined us so she can share her comedic take on parenting with our readers.

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