Monday, February 20, 2017

Thinking of Running? Start Local

Anyone thinking of running for a State or National office (Assembly, State Senate, Congress) needs to think what seats will likely be opening up in their district in the next few years. If you've never run for office before, starting with a higher office can be daunting unless you've got some experience under your belt. So start small. Think of Barbara Boxer, first a local school board activist, then a County Supervisor, next on to Congress and then U.S. Senator. She got some chops under her belt on the local level before making that big leap.

And along the way came the skills and the contacts necessary for running a major campaign. Of course, we all know stories of people who come out of nowhere and have a big upset in a congressional or Senate race. But those are the exceptions rather than the rule. A corrupt incumbent, a very disgruntled voter base and, more often than not, a candidate who's already developed connections and savvy that can be translated into a poltiical campaign.

Think Al Franken, well known comedian and on air personality, won with no political experience for U.S. Senate; or Ro Khanna in California, young entrepreneur beat a long time Democratic incumbent in the Primary, on his second try.  (And don't get me started on Donald Trump!)

For most of us, the road is longer and harder. Got an opening on a local school board or City Council? Think about going for that one. If you don't win the first time, consider running again. You will have gained a base and made contacts that will help you the next time, if they believe you are serious, hardworking and represent their values.

Consider applying for a position on a Commission or Board in your town or County. There are often openings and these help pave the way for a political run. Again, it's all about making connections, as well as having knowledge and passion, to get the job done.

And here's the best tip of all, start early. For whatever seat you are running for, get started well before the filing deadline by gathering friends and colleagues to help and make monetary pledges to the campaign. Ask others who've run for their advice. Check financial filing reports (which should all be online with your local elections office or the Secretary of State), to see how much people typically spend running for the seat you are interested in.

Do your homework, whether it's getting up to speed on the issues (attending lots of meets of the board you want to join is a must!), raising money, and just knowing how the political game is played, will put you in a good position to make a strong showing in your race.

And because you must eat, here's a brain food recipe to keep you sharp:

Spinach, Goat Cheese & Chorizo Omelette

Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Omelette
Serves: 2
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • sliced avocado (optional)
  • ¼ cup salsa verde (optional)
  1. Remove chorizo from the casing and fry in a medium saute pan until fully cooked.
  2. Meanwhile beat the eggs and water in a small bowl.*
  3. Take the chorizo out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Wipe the pan of the remaining grease with a clean paper towel.
  4. Melt the butter in the same pan over low heat. Add the beaten eggs to the pan, then put the Chorizo, spinach, and crumbled goat cheese on half the egg mixture. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes until slightly firm, then fold the empty side over the side with the filling on it. Cover the pan with foil or a pot cover and leave on low heat for another few minutes until the eggs are cooked through. If your bottom is browning too quickly, turn the stove off and leave the pan covered for up to 10 minutes and the residual heat should "bake" it until the center is fully cooked.
  5. Serve with avocado slices and salsa verde. So good you won't even miss the toast or hash browns!