My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a taste:
Running for office — even a local office — can be daunting the first time. There is the fear of public scrutiny, confusion over the electoral process, concern over complying with all of the regulations, and worry about the time commitment to run for office. Then there is worry about the job itself. Government financing, regulations, and the nuances of public policy can be challenging to master.
Take heart, fellow citizens, it really is not that hard. Our entire system of self-governance is built around principle that we, the people, will decide how to run our public affairs — amateurs though we are. If you want to run for public office, get in touch with the local city or county clerk. They are generally tremendously friendly and helpful and will share a wealth of information. In every community, there are also local groups and veteran elected officials who are willing to help navigate the electoral process.
The key thing with any local race is that the candidate must get out and talk to people. Walk around the district and knock on doors. People are friendlier than you might think and full of perspective and wisdom. Visit the local VFW or Moose Lodge to chat with the members. Accept invitations to any local forums or debates and speak openly about your views. Just get out into the community you want to represent. Even if you lose the race, the experience of getting to know your community is enriching.
If you are considering running for a local elected office, it is time to act. Consider this: If not you, then who?