While the distance between Washington, D.C., and Alpena is approximately 800 or so miles, what happens with national politics in the days ahead could prove influential in local politics next year.
Suffice to say we expect the mood of voters toward elected officials will be quite sour - especially federal officials - also of interest this year, and - extending into next year - will be voters' willingness to support the current size of government. With the federal shutdown we are experiencing today, we hear from many voters who appear ready to "slice and dice" a government many believe is "out of control."
The question is, will that mood carry over and impact local issues as well?
This week the newspaper ran a story that the Alpena County Youth and Recreation Committee millage is expiring and committee members will, at the first of next year, make a recommendation to county commissioners whether to seek renewal of it or not, or perhaps even expand the requested amount.
Committee Chairman Tony Suszek also said the timing of any millage request, should there be one, also will be critical.
He is right. Potentially there could be several other financial requests as well before voters and which of those materialize, how much they will be for and when they appear on the ballot all already were matters of utmost concern to groups seeking millages.
Roll in this new wild card thanks to Congress, and millage issues would appear, at least for now, a gamble at best.
Frankly, it probably all will boil down to people's memories and their willingness to move on. If things in D.C. get settled soon and it doesn't impact people's pocketbooks, all might be OK.
If, on the other hand, this drags on and Joe and Jane Citizen begin feeling the pain via their pocketbook from Congress, then all bets are off.