If you are planning to run for office in the next year or two, this video offers a checklist of 4 items you should do now as you prepare for your campaign. All of them are items that must be done, easier 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.
1.Update your resume.
Make sure it is dead on accurate.
The schools you attended, degrees you earned, jobs you have held, the awards you’ve won, the organizations you have served. There will be occasions during the campaign when you are asked to furnish a copy of it.
Do not, under any circumstance, embellish or exaggerate what you have done, or claim degrees you have not earned. If you do you will get caught.
2. Get your spouse and family on board
Have a conversation about your plans with your spouse, children and loved ones. Right now.
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 if your partner is adamantly against the idea, your life as a candidate will be a hellish and miserable existence. Be sure to talk with your spouse or partner about the financial sacrifices involved.
It is OK to invest your own money, and miss work if you can afford it, but do not put at risk money that your family needs to maintain their standard of living.
3. Know the current events in your city jurisdiction- and your state
For most candidates, that means reading the daily weekly newspapers in their jurisdiction, 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.
4. Know the responsibilities of the office you seek
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 of a city, you should know the size of the city budget, where the revenue comes from and how money is spent. The number of people employed by the city, and the size of each department.
You’re decision making power affects all of those items. If you are running for a state house seat, you’ll be expected to be conversant on the state budget, budget deficits, health care, social programs, entitlement programs, etc.
5. Assemble a brain trust
A small core group of the smartest people you know. People you can trust, people who will serve as a sounding board, give you feedback on your ideas, your platform, tell you the truth even when truth is hard, and start meeting with them periodically.
If you don’t know any smart people, meeting a few needs to be one of your top priorities. Number seven is 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, past election turnout. Smart candidates also study how that 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, take a look at your past posts and make sure that nothing you’ve said will come back to haunt you; that nothing you have posted can easily be taken out of context.
You can assume this. In a competitive election, your opponent will be looking 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 judgment, best to that deleted before your opponent finds it.