The 2020 election season is in full motion. The diversity of today’s politicians at all levels of government is growing to include candidates with a disability. Ed Carter of Ablefutures.com has written an article about the strategies for disabled candidates to use to win and give a greater voice to the individuals in their electorates who would benefit from an elected advocate who has faced the same challenges in his/her life:
How People with Disabilities Can Successfully Run for Office
If you’re considering a run for office and you have a disability, you have the unique opportunity to represent a section of the population that is often missing from politics. As you consider how to build your team and form your campaign, there are many things to think about. Read on to learn how to get started out properly on the road to political success.
Get to know your community
Before you get too deep in planning your campaign, remember that there’s a great deal of groundwork that should go into a run for office. One of the best things you can do before announcing your candidacy is getting to know your community.
There are plenty of ways to do this, like through social media platforms and meeting your neighbors in-person, but it’s a good idea to give your time to causes and movements you believe in. You can volunteer for local organizations, organize neighborhood cleanups, and host free community events such as rallies for a cause or fundraiser. The more visible you are in the community, OneUnited Bank notes the more likely you’ll be seen as a leader, making it easier to gain votes when the election rolls around.
This phase also includes research. Read as much as you can about voter trends in your district, and be sure to understand the spectrum of views shared by your electorate. Speak to potential voters about their views and stay updated on current issues by reading as much local news coverage as possible. When you choose news outlets to follow, be sure to choose a diverse range of outlets in order to understand multiple views on issues.
Once you’ve established yourself in your community, you’ll be ready to start formulating your campaign. Begin by identifying your campaign platform, which includes developing a clear message that you’ll share with voters. Once you know and understand the main issues facing voters in your district, determine your stance on those issues and be sure to create messaging that shares those views clearly.
Before you announce your intention to run for office, you’ll want to design a website that provides campaign information for voters. Consider hiring a freelance specialist to help you create a slick website that will be professional and easy to navigate. Fortunately, you can search online job boards for freelancers who can help with multiple aspects of your campaign beyond website development, like social media management and speech writing.
The campaign team
It’s impossible to run a campaign without some help, so be sure to stack your team with qualified, passionate organizers.
One of the key team members you’ll need is a campaign manager who can help with both day-to-day tasks and who can handle broader issues throughout your run for office. This person should be able to ensure that events and venues are accessible for your disability, whether that means checking for wheelchair access or requesting assistive technology where needed.
Your campaign will need a qualified financial manager to help raise money for campaign costs. This person will be responsible for connecting with potential sponsors, managing fundraisers, and keeping tabs on the ongoing costs of your campaign.
If you have the budget for it, The Campaign Workshop notes there are plenty of other useful campaign team roles, including a political consultant who can help with campaign strategy, a coordinator to help wrangle volunteers, and a communications/public relations manager to take care of all media requests and public statements. The size of your team may swell throughout the campaign as you raise more funds and gain more followers, so be prepared to assign a few extra roles.
While preparing for your run for office, remember the importance of community visibility and showing that you can be a leader. Learn key issues facing your community and be sure your message is top-notch. Build a strong campaign team, and be ready to grow your campaign staff as you gain momentum as a candidate. With the right people and preparations, you’ll be on your way to success!