For nearly two decades, I covered politics in Michigan and Washington, D.C. It was an exciting, affirming and even heartbreaking experience. I’ve watched politicians shake hands in union halls, at county fairs, at greasy-spoon diners and on the street in the middle of a snowstorm on election eve. I’ve flown in airplanes, rode buses and sat in cars for hours on end with twin babies (Thanks Jane A.) as politicians and their families wandered the state.

Biggest surprise? Always, the 1990 gubernatorial race. Most honorable? Clark Durant in U.S. Senate primary debacle over signatures. Most fun ride? On the bus with U.S. Senate women and Spence A. Most chaotic? Pushed into a car with candidate Bill Clinton. Weirdest press experience? TV reporter Andrea Mitchell screaming an airplane hanger quiet after a rally. Most painful? Getting chewed out for writing a “nice” profile. Biggest joke on the media? Dan Quayle teasing reporters in a Lansing airport scrum.

My campaign time turned out to be a front-row seat to nuts-and-bolts democracy and rough-and-tumble politics. It made going into the voting booth a powerful experience. Much is at stake in this election, as usual, and it’s important we express ourselves through our votes. GOTV!