As 2016 approaches, I think about the passage of time and all the people, activities, events, surprises, disappointments, challenges, joys and sorrows that fill the times of our lives. Yet it always feels that there isn’t enough time to do it all, to enjoy it all.

Looking forward to the new year, we should be buoyed by the thought that we get an extra day – Leap Day, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. So we can approach this new year on a cheerful note – more time to do whatever it is we never have time to do.

On the other hand, it’s a presidential election year here in the United States, so we’ll have to endure more time listening to all the discourse and debates from a full stable of candidates. It’s often difficult to see how such a tumultuous process could possibly yield the best prospects to serve as president. It’s a pretty unique job interview process!

We all realize that the person in the White House makes a big difference in our lives and businesses, but thankfully we have a system that divides power among all three branches of government: the administrative branch, which includes the president and cabinet; the legislative branch, which consists of the Senate and House; and the judicial branch, home to the Supreme Court. So, it’s important that we take time to pay attention to potential changes in all three branches, not just the well-publicized presidential race.

When the Obama administration came into office, the Democrats also held majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. This resulted in passage of legislation that completely overhauled our health care system. Now, with only one remaining year of President Obama’s term in office, we’re starting to see the impact of the very real changes the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has brought us. With time, we do see the consequences of actions taken in Washington, D.C., and they can bring big changes into our lives.

Long-lasting decisions

It matters who serves as our next president, not only for his or her decisions and leadership, but also for whom he or she would nominate for Supreme Court justices, as seats on the court became available. This aspect of presidential responsibility is often overlooked when we are considering who to support for president. Amid all the rhetoric, be sure to keep this in mind as we make this important selection.

Regardless of who moves into the White House in 2017, it will be extremely important to pay attention to who is leading the Senate and the House. Along with all 435 House seats, 34 of the 100 Senate seats will be on the ballot. The House appears to be on track to remain in Republican control, but the Senate is far from certain, with 22 Republican and only 12 Democrat seats on the ballot. My advice to those of you with Senate races in your state is to take the time to learn about the candidates and get involved in this election. Every one of these races will make a difference both here in Washington and in your home state. And remember, you’ll have that extra day next year, so use it wisely!

Making a business case

Regardless of your measure of Republicans and Democrats in general, when we look to business issues, including government regulations and government spending, the agenda is usually driven in a far more favorable direction under Republican leadership. As an example, look at the differences between Harry Reid’s and Mitch McConnell’s leadership, or Nancy Pelosi’s and John Boehner’s. Spending and regulatory priorities diverge considerably in both of those instances. Sure, neither side can accomplish much without some bi-partisan solutions, but the starting point on the agenda can differ wildly and make a difference in policy outcomes.

Fortunately, we’ll get a bit of a “time out” from politics next summer as the Olympic Games will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro in August. That will come after both political parties have decided on their nominee, so it will be nice to have a few weeks to focus on athletes instead of politicians.

And interspersed with all of these events will be our daily lives – our work, our families and our activities. Let’s be sure to take the time to make the most of all of these.

We know that the dairy industry will continue to have challenges, but also opportunities. Taking the time to work together as our future unfolds will be time well spent.

A quote from Marty Rubin sums it up: “Time does not pass, it continues.”