It may seem odd that Monday was the official beginning of the 2000 political season, because candidates have been announcing left and right for several weeks now.
But they aren't really candidates until they file for office, and Monday was the first day they could.
So, John Ensign and Ed Bernstein, for example, already have their campaigns for U.S. Senate well under way and have no doubts about the results of primary campaigns. They're warming us up for a decision still seven months away.
They plan to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million to win the right to represent us in Washington, D.C.
If that kind of megabucks campaign boggles your mind, then you should concentrate on local offices - the people in your hometown who are deciding today to make a commitment to their communities.
They won't be spending huge amounts of money, although for some the cost of campaigning will be significant even if it's a few thousand dollars.
Yet they will be spending a great deal of personal effort trying to win election to offices that pay little or nothing in remuneration, that will take more of their time than any full-time job ever did, that invite criticism and seldom offer much in the way of gratitude from the community.
Carson City supervisors, school-board members, hospital trustees, county commissioners in Lyon, Storey, Douglas - these are positions that are far more likely to affect our lives than anything done in Washington.
Why do people run for local office? The cynics among us would believe it is for power and authority. But anyone who has ever served on a city council or a school board, or been close to someone who has, will tell you there's not much glory in it.
To those filing for office over the next week, we thank you for offering your services to the public and stepping forward with a willingness to be a leader in your community.