Campaign tips for persons with disabilities

When you are a person with a disability, you know that the world was not built with you in mind. But, you have a unique point of view, and your ideas and aspirations can make a huge and positive impact in your community. If you decide to turn these into actionable changes by running for local office, you’re one step closer to making the world a more equitable place. Here are a few tips to get you started. 

Know the issues.

Before you can begin any campaign, you must first know what you are running for. Virtually all seats are filled based, at least in part, on the platform. In addition to causes near and dear to your heart, make sure to keep up with hot topics by subscribing to Utah Policy

Improve your qualifications.

It is not just enough to know the issues and have a passion. You also have to have experience and education to back up your campaign. If you don’t already have an advanced degree, now might be a great chance to fit a program into your busy schedule by going back to school online. Earning your doctorate, for example, in education or health administration, can position you to be an expert on these topics. This is crucial if they are part of your platform. Doing online classes also frees you up to work and take care of your family while you improve your qualifications to run for office. 

Be authentic.

No matter how many hot topics you touch on or how qualified you are, ultimately, people are voting for you, not your platform. Be as authentic as possible throughout the process. This means speaking confidently and assertively but also being open to other perspectives. Being yourself is just one way to showcase your trustworthiness. Reader’s Digest also asserts that you’ll have to be reliable, take other people’s feelings into account, and step back and listen instead of dominating conversations.

Refine your speeches.

Anytime you speak in public, it is a good idea to have notes in hand. When you’re writing a speech, be short, sweet, and creative. Make sure that you know your audience and start with a universal structure, which includes an introduction, main message, and takeaway.

Practice answering questions.

Think about all of the issues surrounding the political climate today. Practice answering both the easy and the hard questions, and you’ll be prepared when something comes up during a meet and greet or press session. This is especially important if you have a physical difference and there are concerns about your ability to handle the demands of the office. It might not always be pleasant, but you must be prepared to answer with a positive attitude.

Choose the right team.

Choosing your team is another top priority that you can’t overlook, whether you are a new or a seasoned politician. Start with your campaign manager, which MasterClass explains is someone that handles policy development, voter outreach, fundraising, and managing your media presence. You’ll also need someone to handle money matters that has the ability and willingness to maintain transparency throughout your campaign. Make sure that your team is diverse, which means it’s composed of people from all walks of life and all physical abilities.

Maintain professionalism. 

There may be days when you are at your wit’s end and frustrated with the political climate of your area. But, you can’t let this get to you. Maintain your professionalism and remember that you are trying to be a public servant. Make sure that your communication skills remain on point and that you maintain respect and a collaborative attitude before, during, and after election season.

Running even a small office takes work. The above tips are in no way a full list of things you need to be successful. However, each will put you closer to feeling more comfortable putting yourself out there to take on your first official role in your local government.

Ed Carter works with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities.