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 Running for Office Someday? 7 Things to Do NOW

Running for office in the next year or two? A checklist of 7 items you should do NOW and the price you’ll pay if you don’t.

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If you plan on running for office in the next year or two, this video offers a checklist of 7 items you should do now as you prepare for your campaign. All of them are items that must be done, more accessible to do now than later. And as you’ll see, there is a price to pay if you wait until the campaign has started to do them. As the title says, these are things to do now.

Number one is to update your resume. Make sure it is dead-on accurate. The schools you attended, the degrees you earned, the jobs you have held, the awards you’ve won, and the organizations you have served.

There will be occasions during the campaign when you are asked to furnish a copy of it. Under any circumstance, do not embellish or exaggerate what you have done or claim degrees you have not earned. If you do, you will get caught.

Number two is to discuss your plans with your spouse, children, and loved ones about running for office. Campaigns take time. There are sacrifices involved. The demands on your schedule will grow exponentially. You won’t always be home for dinner. Your weekend leisure time will become non-existent.

Ideally, you want your family involved and to be part of the effort. If your family is not on board or your partner is adamantly against the idea, your life as a candidate will be a hellish and miserable existence.

Be sure to discuss the financial sacrifices with your spouse or partner. It is OK to invest your own money and miss work if you can afford it, but do not risk the money your family needs to maintain their standard of living.

Number three is to get in the habit of being well-informed and up-to-date about current events in your state and jurisdiction. For most candidates running for office, that means reading the daily/weekly newspapers in their authority and making it a habit to do it early every day. The people you encounter on the campaign trail and the opinion leaders of influencers you speak with before the campaign begins will not take you seriously if you are clueless about what is happening in your state or community.

Number four is to become familiar with the responsibilities of the office you seek and the decision-making power you’ll have if you win the election. Voters, opinion leaders, and reporters you meet will expect you to know that, and they won’t take you seriously if you don’t.

For example, if you are running for city council or Mayor, you should know the size of the city budget, where the revenue comes from, how money is spent—the number of people employed by the city, and the size of each department. Your decision-making power affects all of those items. If you run for Congress, you’ll be expected to be conversant on foreign policy, the budget, the deficit, health care, social programs, defense spending, entitlement programs, and trade policy. You’ll be casting votes on all of these issues.

Number five lists problems you’d like to fix, things you would like to accomplish, what you would like to do to improve the standard of living for people in your jurisdiction or programs you would like to create. For each, do your homework, and figure out HOW you will do the things you want to do.

It isn’t enough to spout platitudes and feel-good slogans in a campaign. If you can’t tell voters how to fix a problem, they will conclude that you aren’t serious about solving it.

Number six is assembled a brain trust. A small core group of the most innovative people you know. People you can trust, people who will serve as a sounding board, give you feedback on your ideas and your platform, tell you the truth even when the truth is hard, and start meeting with them periodically. Meeting a few needs to be one of your top priorities if you don’t know any intelligent people.

Number seven is to study your jurisdiction. You should know the names of other elected officials and become intricately familiar with the demographics of those who live in your jurisdiction. Income, education level, ethnicity, religious affiliation, race, households with children, age distribution, partisan affiliation, and past election turnout. Competent candidates running for office also study how the demographic profile of their jurisdiction is trending and how it has changed over the past 10 years.

Before I go, I’ll add one more to this list. If you have been active on social media, look at your past posts and ensure that nothing you’ve said will come back to haunt you; that nothing you have posted can quickly be taken out of context. You can assume this. In a competitive election, your opponent will look at every post you’ve made, every word you’ve said, everything you have retweeted. If a post poorly reflects on you, your character, or your judgment, it is best to be deleted before your opponent finds it.

If you are running for office now or plan to run for office someday and are looking for help in your campaign, I’d be happy to speak with you.

Click on Complete this Application, answer a few questions so I am prepared for our call, and I’ll be in touch to schedule a conversation within 24 hours. THE CALL IS FREE!

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