Running for Local Office
I have been asked twice recently if I am running for Selectmen. And as I thought about it I asked those who inquired, “Do you want me to run for office? Do people want me to run for office? Who do residents want to hold important town and school elected positions? I understand the “why” for running for office. Local involvement, contribute, make a difference, etc. But...
I cannot think of any elected position in bigger cities, state or federal government in which an individual decides that he or she is going to run for office. While it may happen, in my experience, some ONE or some group of people who believe a person would be a good candidate and elected official approach them and ask that person to run and more importantly offer their backing and support.
But in town government we (typically) suggest to people that they run and why and then leave the rest up for them. Signage, promotion, publicity, etc. Perhaps it is time we look at this process differently. If you as an individual believe someone should run for office you should reach out and tell them why you think they should run and what you are going to do to help them get elected.
If an organization (Raymond Taxpayers Association, Firemens Association, Historical Society, Masons, Business Associations, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, Raymond Area News, This Week in Raymond, etc) or just a small group of people, believes one or more individuals should run for office then perhaps they should reach out to them as an organization and tell them why they think they should run, how the organization is going to endorse them and help them. Take a stand, make a commitment. Unfortunately 501c3 Non profits are prohibited by law from endorsing candidates or participating in campaigning.
The idea of “generic”, non political, non committal organizations may be sweet (and safe), but it does not get people to run for office or elected. In a small community such as ours, where there are limited ways to reach voters, and a limited number of people who believe they have the time (or interest) in running for local office, Candidates need help. They need endorsements. They need to know not only why we think they should run for office but that we are going to support them in their efforts.
Yes this is far different then what I have seen over the last thirty-three years as a Raymond resident, but perhaps it is time to look at a new way. Just some thoughts.