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Citizenship In Action: Why Run For Office?


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Explains motivations for running for elective office.

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Citizenship In Action: Why Run For Office?

  1. 1. Running for Office <ul><li>Citizenship In Action </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. René M. Lafayette </li></ul><ul><li>Northbridge High School </li></ul>
  2. 2. Running for Office <ul><li>Perhaps the most daunting question facing an “active” citizen is “should I run for office?” There are many considerations that have to be weighed - not all are apparent at first glance. </li></ul><ul><li>There are several basic questions that you as the potential candidate have to ask yourself and honestly answer. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why run? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What office? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I win? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Consider.... </li></ul>Do I have the resources to win? Do I have the desire to win? Will my family support my decision? Do I have the support of my employer? Is there anything in my background that could embarass me? What about the background of my family or close friends?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Reason for running </li></ul><ul><li>Image </li></ul><ul><li>Message </li></ul><ul><li>Connections </li></ul><ul><li>Finances </li></ul><ul><li>Stamina </li></ul><ul><li>Political prospects (possible opponents) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Running for office <ul><li>Few things in life can be as exhilirating or humiliating as running for public office. </li></ul><ul><li>As a former Congressman once said in describing the fickleness of the voters: “peacock today, feather duster tomorrow.” </li></ul><ul><li>Once you decide to commit to a race, be it dogcatcher or POTUS you have to be committed. You have to yourself! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Running for office Do it right the first time! <ul><li>The year was 1984. I was 23 years old running for the Rhode Island House of Representatives. On election day an incumbent state legislator told me “I don’t know if you’re going to make it, you dress like a Republican.” </li></ul><ul><li>I went on to win that election and three others in succession. </li></ul><ul><li>Everytime without opposition. </li></ul><ul><li>Lesson learned: be true to yourself. Voters now more than ever can’t stand a fake. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Running for office <ul><li>Start at the beginning. Answer the question: “Why run?” </li></ul><ul><li>If you can’t answer it, if you don’t know or are “fuzzy” in your reasoning, stop. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t go any further. Don’t embarass yourself or family and friends. </li></ul><ul><li>All other questions are useless if you as the candidate cannot answer this simple, central question. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why run? Consider... <ul><li>The year was 1980. President Jimmy Carter squared off in the Democratic primary for re-election with this man. U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. </li></ul><ul><li>Kennedy ran out of a sense of nostalgia but was unsuccessful. </li></ul><ul><li>When asked the fateful question “why are you running...?” he stuttered, stumbled and America wondered. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Running for office <ul><li>Actual and virtual presence - both are needed </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lawn signs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bumper stickers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal appearances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be careful! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Internet is (hopefully) your friend </li></ul>
  10. 10. Actual and Virtual Presence <ul><li>Since the late 1990s candidates have increasingly turned to the Internet to promote themselves and their campaigns. </li></ul><ul><li>The 2008 Presidential campaign highlights the use of this new technology. </li></ul><ul><li>Moving ahead, social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin and Twitter are now all established elements of all but the most local or low profile campaigns. </li></ul>