To Run… Or Not To Run…
You’ve thought about it for a while but you’re still on the fence – “Should I run for Municipal Politics?”
Let’s take a look at what you should keep in mind when considering launching a campaign.
Every friend, family member, co-worker and voter are going ask you the same question: “Why do you want to be a Councillor?”. You need to first answer this question for yourself. There are two categories this answer can fall into, you either want to be somebody, or do something. If your answer falls into the latter you’re well on your way. If you are entering into politics to be somebody, you’re in it for the wrong reasons and my style of campaigning can’t help you. Know your “why” before you start and we’ll work on some effective ways to communicate that another day.
You need to make the decision to run with your spouse and considering your entire family. A campaign isn’t just another hobby, it takes a time commitment that will take away from everything else in your life. Map out your campaign plan and discuss it with your family so they know how much time you will be spending away from home. Chances are after you win this time away from home will only increase. In most municipalities being a Councillor is a part-time job – or at least that’s where the pay scale is. Once elected you’ll work 9 to 5 to pay the bills and put on your City Councillor hat in the evening and on the weekend.
However, it’s not all bad news for you and your family. Once the campaign starts, your family will become your top volunteers. Spending time canvassing your neighborhood together can help bring you together.
You’ve thought about your family but you need to think about yourself, too. Chances are, if you are the type of person who would sacrifice your time to serve your community, you don’t often put yourself first. The campaign is long and can stress you physically, mentally and financially. You need to think about yourself and make sure you’re ready to take that on.
The great part is that walking an extra 20km a day to knock on doors will cause your clothes to fit a bit looser, and all those bad things your competitor says about you will only inspire you to work harder.
All campaigns cost money. You don’t need to be rich but you need to be able to raise the needed funds. In the world of business start-ups one can compensate for a small budget with hard work, but unfortunately this does not translate to campaigns. It will not be cheap to, distribute professional looking literature, communicate with voters and get out your vote. To get an idea of your costs look at the local spending limit for your city elections, you’ll need to get close to that.
Another day we’ll talk about how to best spend these funds to make sure the best value for money.
If you can address these considerations you’re ready to take the next step.
Let’s quickly look at some things you should not consider when deciding to run for municipal office.
Perfect timing – There will always be a reason the timing is not right. I suggest you work around that excuse. There will be another reason the timing is not right in 4 more years.
Competition – Don’t worry about who you are up against. If you make a good campaign plan and stick to it your chances of winning are just as good as anyone else. If you are running against a long-term incumbent, it may take to few good campaigns to knock them out but you need to start now.
You should also be familiar with the rules. You can find a complete guide to the 2014 Ontario Municipal Election at HERE
If you are looking to answer the next question – How do I win? You are in the right place. The City Campaigner blog will introduce you to winning strategies, and if you become a City Campaigner Member you’ll get some crucial in-depth coaching.