Should You Run for Public Office?
Has all the election coverage got you thinking about running for public office? Whether it’s the school board, city council or state legislature, campaigning for and holding public office is a transforming experience.
Win or lose, those who have run say the campaign helped them develop skills, build confidence, expand their networks and raise their stature in the community and at work.
Karen Williams was an administrative assistant before running -- and winning -- a seat on her local school council. “The cliché is true; one really does grow in office,” Williams says.
“Up until then, I tended to fade into the background and defer to others who had more authority. But on the council we were all equals -- no matter what our day jobs were. I began to think of myself as a leader.”
Others began seeing her as a leader, too. During her term on the council, the bank where she worked promoted her to supervisor and two years later named her a manager.
Larry Krause, a CPA, ran for mayor of his borough and lost. But he has no regrets. “Every aspect of the campaign was a learning experience – as the campaign progressed I got better at expressing myself and selling my ideas, and I became much more comfortable speaking in front of groups and securing help and funding from others,” he says.
If the idea of running for office intrigues you, here are six questions to consider before throwing your hat in the ring: