More advice from Miria
Questions to think about if you are considering public office:
* Do you have a desire for or interest in public service?
* Do you have strong feelings on a number of issues?
* Do you think that there is need for change in leadership?
* Do you think you can do a better job than the incumbent?
* Do you like meeting people?
* Do you speak well in public?
* Can you respond quickly and analyse a situation under pressure?
* Can you handle frustration?
You should also endeavour to find out the following about the office you are running for:
* Is this an open seat or you will be challenging an incumbent? If you are challenging an incumbent, is he or she vulnerable? Why?
* Who are the likely opponents for the same seat?
* Do you have a natural base of voters or for you have to go out and win? What is the political environment in the district and in the community?
* Where will you get the votes to win the election?
Preparations to take when running for public office:
* - this includes making sure you do not have any financial, personal or legal issues which may come up or hurt you during the campaign.
* Tour the constituency- candidates need to know their constituency or area they are running in. Possible activities include spending a day in local business and factories, visiting schools and nursing hoes, and stopping by local churches and events.
* Start research. You should gather all the information you can, including past election data, map of the constituency and polling places, election irregularities, voter lists, etc.
* Go to meetings. This includes meetings for the party at local level, as well as community organisations.
* Meet with leaders. You should try to get together with political, business, community and church leaders for support in the future but also to learn what issues are important to them and the people they represent.
* Meet the press. Establish a good rapport with local editors, producers and reporters who will help you during the campaigns.
* Read the news. You should set aside some time each day to read through newspapers, watch local new and listen to radio news.
* Practice speaking.
The challenges do not end once you are elected. Being new and inexperienced in public life, and in a parliament dominated by men, it takes a lot of courage and skill to stand up and speak your mind with confidence and clarity. You passion and your reasons for running in the first place are what will help you to continue on.
Whenever my name was called upon to speak, even those members who would be sleeping, (in parliamentary language we call it contemplating) would wake up. In other words, calling my name to speak in parliament was always a wake up call for members, a call to attention. No sooner would a woman open her mouth to contribute than points of order, and information would be raised, in a bid to intimidate and silence women. That never worked with me. I would shout the men down and tell them they have nothing to inform me about since I am already sufficiently informed on the subject.
My knowledge of the subject matter has always been an effective strategy for me to break through all of the formidable barriers. As it is always said, knowledge is power. When you are knowledgeable on what you are talking about, you are well positioned to disarm your detractors.
Strategies for Success in Politics:
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Page last updated: July 12,2007