The time is now to start tuning in to this year’s race for governor

Mike Bouchard. Mike Cox. Tom George. Pete Hoekstra. Rick Snyder.
Virg Bernero. Andy Dillon.

If you’re a Republican in Michigan, you should know the first set of names. If you’re a Democrat, the latter duo should matter to you.

These are the major party candidates for governor. Eight weeks from Tuesday, voters will pick Republican and Democratic nominees from this field. The two winners will face each other in November.

If you care about Michigan, you should know this election matters greatly. The next governor will replace Jennifer Granholm and can set the agenda for a state government in serious need of reform.

The state budget. Taxes on businesses. The income tax that we all pay. Money for schools. Attracting employers and creating jobs. All these issues (and more) face Michigan, and the next governor will have to act smartly to help the state rebound from its economic slump.

Starting this weekend, Mlive.com will profile these seven candidates. We encourage you to read these profiles. Even if you don’t, we hope you will take the time to learn who these candidates are and what they stand for. Of course, it’s then your civic duty to vote in August and November.

The choice of governor is always important, especially now. It’s time for voters to start paying attention.

— THE JACKSON CITIZEN PATRIOT

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