I just lost my first political campaign, and I want to encourage you to do the same! Maybe you’ll win your first one but even if you don’t, you’ll meet some incredible people, step way outside your comfort zone, make some mistakes, and grow a lot. For anyone who has thought about running, especially women and others who are underrepresented in government, you CAN do this and we need you! I wanted to share a few lessons from this experience with you:
Be yourself. No matter what your background is, you have something valuable to bring to the table. You don’t have to know everything before you run and you don’t necessarily need a thick skin but you do need to be comfortable in your skin. Not everyone will like you or like what you have to say, and that’s ok. Be true to yourself and kind to yourself.
Accept help. Having a few extra hands to sort through a mailing list, spread the word on social media or hold a sign on election day is so helpful, especially when you’re juggling work and family responsibilities while campaigning. It’s more than ok to accept financial help too! Running for office is not just for those who can afford to spend $2k+ out of their own pocket. You’re running for the opportunity to serve your community and others will be grateful and want to chip in.
Don’t leave anything on the table. There’s a lot to do: setting up an online presence, answering questionnaires from the media, participating in a debate, knocking on doors, sending a mailing or two, and putting up signs. This is where all that help comes in! No matter the outcome on election day, you’ll feel better if you know you gave it your all and tried your very best.
Still interested? Talk to an incumbent about the position you’re interested in or a recent candidate about their campaign experience. Most would be happy to chat, and if they aren’t, just ask someone else! Good luck and thank you for even thinking about stepping up!