On Saturday, March 29, 2008 I attended “Prepare, Run, Win: A Women’s Campaign College” sponsored by Faulkner Strategies, IUSB American Democracy Project, IUSB Office of Campus Diversity, IUSB Political Science Club, League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area, Women’s Alliance, A Healthy Communities Initiative and Women Business Owners of Michiana.

This event was billed as a workshop “for women who are ready to run for elected office, may consider running in the future or who would like to work on a campaign, become a political activist and build their leadership skills.”

Panel discussions included women who are currently serving or who have served in public office and women with experience in the realm of putting campaigns together and fund-raising. Media representatives headed up a panel on public relations. A panel on “getting started” and community relations rounded out the day.

Prepare, Run, Win was well-organized with all the speakers providing relevant information on all aspects of running as well as serving in public office. Highlights from some of the speakers included:

Preparation:

  • attend meetings for the office you are seeking
  • read the paper
  • volunteer for city government committees
  • attend civic events
  • work on someone else’s campaign
  • learn the number of votes needed to win
  • lay out a plan and budget for that plan
  • raise money as early as possible
  • use innovative fund-raising methods

Running:

  • know the office you’re running for
  • walk door-to-door and follow-up with voters
  • walk door-to-door with another person who can take notes
  • provide television media with a visual story
  • give reporters as many elements to a story as you can

In addition to coming away with good information for a future campaign, I was able to bring up issues specific to Green Party candidacies during every panel discussion.

To Jackie Walorski, District 21 Indiana State Representative, I brought up the issue of restrictive ballot access for independent and Green Party candidates. She acknowledged the unfairness of state law and asked me to email her.

To the political strategist, I was able to articulate why I would only run as a Green (and corrected his statistics for Green Party elected office-holders; he thought there were less than fifty, there are over 200 nationwide). 

I also addressed the television media on the bias against independent and minor party candidates. I specifically noted a public mayoral debate for which the television camera omitted Green Party candidate, Tom Brown from the evening news.  Mark Peterson, WNDU News tried to justify coverage based on whether a candidate had a chance, at which point I reminded him this was something that was decided by voters on Election Day.  Elizabeth Bennion, moderator and co-coordinator for the Women’s Campaign College continued with this point and took all the media to task for failing to inform voters of all their choices.

Finally, we introduced ourselves and talked about why we came. This was my opportunity to speak to my plans and the values of the Green Party: social justice, grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom and non-violence.

The Women’s Campaign College was well worth the time for the information I came away with and for the opportunity to speak to issues unique to the Green Party.

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