Doing more than voting
More and more people are developing a strong interest in their government representatives.
The political climate today is tumultuous, to say the least, and the recent presidential election has driven home the idea that often, the loudest voices are the ones that prevail.
Be active in your political community
Pay close attention to your local reps: are their actions and decisions actually representative of you and your priorities? Are there any important votes coming up that you want to show support for, or any recent bills that you’re unhappy with?
Consider making your voice heard by calling your rep to express your concern.
We wrote this guide to an easy tool for jumpstarting your phone call activism – but unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your voice will change your representative’s mind.
The tipping point
If you’re consistently dissatisfied with your representative, and with all the candidates in the running at election time, it might be time to run for office yourself. For one thing, being unable to find a candidate that you can fully support is a good sign that you’re well informed on the relevant issues, and hold strong positions on each one.
If you can’t find a candidate that aligns with your priorities, other people are probably having the same problem.
That means there’s a representation gap, and you could be the one to fill it in.
Look before you leap
There are few thing to note before you take the plunge into political life.
Be sure you’re comfortable with the commitments involved.
First, free time will shrink dramatically. Whether you’re just launching your campaign or you’ve just won the election, you’ll be spending the vast majority of your time taking meetings, making phone calls, attending events, and, you know, doing your job as an elected official.
You’ll also need to be ready to ask people for money basically all the time. Campaigns rely on a steady stream of donations, and without a strong campaign, you’re highly unlikely to win.
Build your team
If these sound like sacrifices you’re willing to make for the sake of your potential constituents, your next step is to gather a network of supporters – donors and volunteers – to help you bring your campaign to fruition.
Leverage any communities you belong to, and don’t be afraid to network.
For example, Realtors and brokers can often obtain backing from the Board, especially if you’re vision aligns with theirs. That’s a major resource that shouldn’t be wasted.
Do your due diligence
And before you dive in too deep, explore your options and educate yourself – political science is called a science for a reason.
[clickToTweet tweet=”There are plenty of data-backed resources for campaign best-practices and more to help you run!” quote=”In addition to anecdotal accounts, there are plenty of data-backed resources for campaign best-practices and more.”]
This Slate article outlines all kinds of resources for running for office, from candidate training, to helpful books, to campaign services and software. There’s a growing movement supporting new political hopefuls, and taking advantage of that support can only help you in your campaign to speak up for your community.