Run for local office: Workshop offers tips on how to campaign
L’ANSE — The Baraga County Democratic Party sponsored a “Running for Local Office” workshop on Saturday afternoon at the Baraga County Memorial Hospital.
The purpose of the nonpartisan event was to spark interest in running for office and educate those who are interested.
“I hope that we’ve generated some interest in people running for office,” said BCDP president Karen De Klyn. “One of the hardest things in a small town is to get people to run.”
De Kleyn said things often don’t change because there are no new people running, which allows incumbents to stay in office for a long time with less accountability to voters.
At the workshop, the participants were told about the available positions for elected offices at the school, township and county levels.
Valorie Troesch gave a presentation discussing strategies, plans, different types of voters, issues, networking, organizing, cost and fundraising.
“This is an important election year for Michigan,” Troesch said.
She ran for Houghton County commissioner in 2016 and discussed her experience. What she learned, she said, she wished she knew before running, and she wanted to share that information with prospective candidates.
Troesch stressed the importance of having a campaign plan, following it and also having a strong support system.
She offered advice for those interested in running: “Start attending meetings of whatever you’re running for, so you know what you’re getting into. Don’t try to do it by yourself,” said Troesch.
She also said, “The most important thing a candidate can do is get out there and let the voters see them,” said Troesch.
BCDP member Brian Hoduski gave a presentation on different resources the organization can help with. Some of those include advice, training, fundraising, financial support, platforms, gaining volunteers and other topics.
The workshop ended with a testimony from Baraga County Commissioner Gale Eilola. He told of his experience running, losing and running again to win in 1992.
He has been on the board since then.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s not just one meeting a month.”
There are committees and other boards that elected officials are involved with.
De Kleyn thought it was important to have Eilola at the event as a Republican, to show that this was not just for Democrats.
Overall, teamwork was an important aspect of running and being successful in a campaign.
“People who might be afraid of running for local office can understand that it’s not this great mystery. It is something that is accessible. They can do it. They will have help doing it. There are a lot of resources available to them. It’s a team effort,” said Troesch.