The variety of party platform planks addressing more than a dozen themes is also changing almost on a daily basis, making it more difficult to focus on key priorities given limited resources and funds to adequately finance them all.

At the same time, there are no simple ways of determining how the country’s electorate will vote as evidenced by who has won in the recent presidential races. It is becoming harder to explain why every vote counts, when winning the presidency is determined by the Electoral College that does not always track with who wins the most popular votes.

The profile of Americans according to age, economics and many other factors has been undergoing a radical shift over the past few decades resulting in the growth of a more diverse domestic population with different needs and wants.

Given three years of severe droughts, fires and floods, California voters are more concerned about safety and security than ever before. Having enough housing, and especially low-cost housing is a major issue along with creating more higher paying jobs, having access to low cost and career-related education, being able to pay off student loans, afford mandatory health care insurance in 2020 and cope with the higher cost of living are just some concerns shared by everyone.

The future of our public electric utilities and the loss of natural gas as a home fuel also have many concerned, as does the requirement to build new homes equipped with solar panels that can raise the total price of housing by $10,000 or more.

The bottom line is that just like the wide range of issues being faced by California and North Bay residents, there are an equal number of changes underway within our political structure and the way we assess and analyze candidates for public office.

While there is no full-proof method or Litmus test to determine which candidates are appropriate to receive our votes and support, it behooves us all to stay involved in the political process or reap the consequences resulting from our indifference.

Being able to make informed decisions at the ballot box is not easy, but essential if we are to have like-minded elected officials at all levels who support business as well as residential priorities that help shape a vibrant and robust society.

This is why membership in the Sonoma County Alliance is more important now than ever as we face the challenges of the coming General Election year. I urge every member to attend monthly general membership meeting and hear from subject matter experts, local elected officials as well as candidates for elective office discuss their agenda and proposed programs.

Eric Goldschlag