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Running for Office: Things to Know (with book recommendations)

Mission, Organizing, Strategy & TacticsTalking Trash

It is very exciting to see so many women (and some men) running for office to make America a better place. Running for political office is more complicated than many people realize, but please don't let it deter you. There are many public resources as well as a number of helpful guides and books to ensure that you know how to run a clean campaign, free of Russian interference or funding (Avoid NRA money please.).

First, for federal offices, House, Senate, President, you will need to abide by Federal Election Laws as well as a variety of state laws for getting on the ballot in the jurisdiction(s) in which you are interested in holding office. The Federal Election Commission provides information for potential candidates. Check with the Secretary of State's Office in your state regarding the state laws, filing and reporting requirements for your state.

Second. choose the right people for your campaign. Among the most important issues that you will face is hiring a competent campaign manager and treasurer. You may want to consult you local Bar Association for a list of attorneys who can assist in preparing the myriad reports that you may need to file. Competence matters. For a treasurer, you may want to hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to ensure that your finances are handled according to law. Again, seek recommendations from local accountants and state boards of public accountancy.  Be sure to check references. Always call and follow up on the references provided. Ask whether each of them would hire that person again and how they would rate them on a scale of one to ten. Develop questions about how each candidate has performed in the past. It is the best predictor of the future. See the book recommendation below. Who, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street is a fantastic book, which is listed at the very bottom of this post.

Do not hire the first person you find. Compare at least three candidates for these positions. We recommend that you include other people in the interviews to get their opinions as well. Make sure that they use the same standards that you are using. Plan the interviews together and make your decision about who to hire together. You will continue to need people to advise you.

Finally, be very selective about who you listen to, who you hire, and what their qualifications and knowledge really is. Avoid people who just want to hang around. Look for people who share a passion for making the country a better place to live. Selecting people around you will be the most important part of serving the public in the best possible way. If you think that you know everything you need to know. please do not run for public office. We need people who are wise enough to know that they do not know everything. If that is you, and you have the good of the broader community in mind, we need you now.

Book Recommendations:

By Geoff Smart, Randy Street