Good people who might otherwise run for office don’t do it for mostly two reasons, as far as I’ve heard over the last few months since I’ve jumped into this world.
The first one, the one I hear most often, is good people are afraid of the partisan nastiness that has taken ahold of our political process.
No one wants their mom or their kids to get postcards in the mail from the other guy saying terrible things and telling half-truths and lies to make them into a terrible person. It’s something that I’ve begrudgingly accepted will happen– but have decided that it’s worth it for a chance at public service and bringing some new ideas and common sense to government.
That reason– or something closely related– is what keeps nearly all private citizens who might be interested in serving the public out of the game.
The handful that are left face a different challenge which leaves most of them sidelined. Many of the few steel-willed folks who are ready to take the flaming arrows lobbed their way with grace and determination in the name of doing good for our community find themselves saying “no thanks” after finding out that the primary (and secondary, and third) job of any candidate is raising money.
Running for office necessarily means begging every person you’ve ever met to write you a big check, and for literally every person on the planet Earth, this is a painful and humiliating degradation.
Personally, I’m the type who’d just buy up all the Girl Scout cookies I’m supposed to sell and give them away– but running for a countywide office isn’t like throwing a twenty at Thin Mints. I’m spending 25-30 hours a week on the phone asking people to send me money, because that’s the only way to run for office in 2017.
One person I’ve known very well for a long time told me, “I like you personally, but I hate politics and I’m not getting involved in any way.”
My response was that the only way to change the way this process works is to bring new people into the process, and for now, that means playing the game by the rules that are already established. Giving time and money to candidates you believe in is the only way the rules of the game will ever change.
I’m truly humbled by the support I’ve received from so many friends– but honestly, to get the job done, I’m going to need a lot more.
The best way to help me bring decency, common sense, transparency, and leadership to the County Clerk’s Office is with a monetary contribution in any amount you can. $100 would be great, but so would $10.