I finished in the top two (out of three) at the March 15 primary. So now it’s on to the May 4 general election.
Observations so far
The primary was a double-edge sword – only two weeks to campaign, but there was an end – votes were counted.
Now there is a nine week gap between March 15 and May 4. With three weeks left, I’ll be glad when it’s over, win or lose.
This is a positive learning experience – the need to listen, putting myself out there, subject to criticism and failure, meeting new people, trying new things and getting to know my community.
The Issues so far
Concern about traffic from new development, need for sidewalks have been the bread and butter issues so far.
But recent national events and last week’s town’s council meetings have interjected a new dynamic – policing. We’ve had no shooting incidents here, but this is on our collective minds. Calls for defunding police adds to the stress.
The local business association at a Town Council meeting last week urged the town to switch to the state ‘s law enforcement retirement system. If not, the town will lose officers (25 total staff) due to higher pay and retirement benefits in neighboring counties. They will also have difficulty hiring new officers. The Police Chief made this same request at next council meeting, when reviewing his FY 22 budget. I’ve known him since 2016 and never heard this level of frustration before.
My campaign activities
Social media : after the initial launch of my Facebook (FB) election page, I’ve made steady improvements. My Likes have increased to 55.
I post relevant articles every day – best practices and case studies that could apply to our town. I also post weekly my responses to a Strong Towns article “10 Questions to Ask Someone Running for Local Office”.
I scheduled (and recorded) a FB Live Event, introducing myself and listening to voter feedback. There were eight views. There were positive comments, so I plan another one, about the status of a large (3,100 homes) project now started after annexation in 1990 and an overview of the annexation process.
Outreach: I’ve responded to five voter emails, requesting information about me, why I am running, and my plans if elected. I responded within a day, with positive responses and surprise I answered at all .
At the suggestion of a local business owner and past president of the business association, I contacted my primary opponent who finished in third place. My intent was to thank her for running and if she could share her concerns and issues about the town. She called, saying she was voting for me. I was surprised and responded I had not reached out for her vote. She acknowledged that and shared some great ideas. I will continue to reach out for her insights.
A local reporter requested we provide a brief (75 words or less) Why Should I Be Elected narrative, late last week for publication in the local newspaper.
I have posted 14 lawn signs in Town. Additional signs have been ordered in response to requests from friends. I always ask for permission and visit each site, asking where to place a sign, to minimize disruption to the property owner.
Events: I’ve attended three events – the Town’s Sustainable Committee spring clean-up (trash pick-up) and native tree planting, and a ribbon-cutting for a new business opening. Photos were then posted on my FB Election page.
Participated on April 14 in a Zoom candidate forum organized by a Home Owners Association (HOA). The format included a five minute opening introduction by each candidate (by ward and alphabetically). I was second to last to speak, giving me time to listen and calm my nerves. This was followed by a thirty-five minute Q&A session.
A second Zoom candidate forum with another HOA is scheduled on April 21.
An unexpected candidate forum, sponsored by the County NAACP chapter, is scheduled for April 29. I am apprehensive, given recent national events. This is and will be a major issue that requires us to listen, learn and have a honest dialogue. I will prepare by researching and attending (virtually) their public meeting on April 20.
I will continue the following:
- Daily postings on my FB election page
- Schedule another FB Live Event (Note: good practice for candidate forums and podcasting)
- Place eight new lawn signs, hand out campaign postcards
- Prepare for the next two Zoom candidate forums
- Be responsive to email inquires
- Attend Town events
- Look for other opportunities to get the vote out!
- Plan my election day activities and hope for good weather!