The 10 Things You Need to Know Before Deciding to Run for Office

Faith Winter is a VoteRunLead alum,  a Colorado State Representative, and a training coordinator and consultant for VoteRunLead. She was a speaker and trainer for VoteRunLead’s 7 city conference Dare to Lead in Denver.

Faith led the VRL web clinic Deciding to Run: The 10 Things You Need to Know, and we’ve distilled it down for you: the 10 Things You Need to Know before you decide to run!

  • 10. Know Your Passion: How do you want to change the world?
  • 9. Get Trained from VoteRunLead.org: Learn about messaging, fundraising, voter contact.
  • 8. Live in the Right Place: Do your values match the values of of your community?
  • 7. Become an Expert: Choose 2-4 issues that showcase your values and leadership style.
  • 6. Get Politically Involved: Volunteer on a campaign.
  • 5. Build an Army: You will need a lot of volunteers to help you.
  • 4. Know the Rules: There are rules about running for office and raising money.
  • 3. Be Ready to Raise Money: Be ready to ask everyone you know for money.
  • 2. Get Support from your Family and Friends: Make sure to have support from those most important to you.
  • 1. Want Power and Be Ready to Work Hard: You want power on behalf of your community and must work hard to represent them.

In this interview, State Representative Faith Winter expands on the key aspects of running and what the job of State Rep is really like.

What’s the most important thing a woman needs to decide before running for office?

The most important thing is figuring out your passion. Having both passion and integrity.

You can learn how to fundraise, do field (organizing), the issues, but the passion is going to drive you to knock on those hundred extra doors, get you to ask people for money; you won’t be able to have that drive throughout the campaign without the passion.

Do you have any regrets from your past campaigns? Things you would have done differently?

I’m currently running my 4th campaign for re-election, and I have learned how to carve more family and personal time, to not mentally have the campaign be so self-consuming.

I’ve learned more balance and perspective over time.

What is it about VoteRunLead that keeps you involved despite being so busy being a State Rep and having a family?

I believe in the mission so much. The quality of work and ability to impact your community are completely based on your team. It’s important to know who my fellow representatives are. I believe that VoteRunlead has more diversity and gets more passionate qualified women running.

Tell us about your part in the VRL’s national leadership conference Dare to Lead – what was it like in Colorado? What was a common thread?

There was a lot of excitement, a sense of team, to know that you’re not the only one that wants to run for office, to take on that next leadership role, these women are going through the same experience you are, that camaraderie, where to start and what are first tangible steps people can do.

Who are your political heroes?

All research shows you need to be invited to run and Joan Fitz-Gerald, the first woman to act as the president of the senate told me I should run. I was 25, I couldn’t believe she thought I was qualified, it changed the trajectory of my entire life. I talked to a mentor, I ran for office.

What advice do you have for the next woman in your position?

 Always be authentic and be connected to your community because they’re the people you’re there for.

What are the major issues of summer 2016 you’re hearing?

There’s excitement and momentum around the economy working for everyone; minimum wage, paid time off, the economy recovering, a lot of people are feeling very vulnerable and just one medical situation away from bankruptcy. There are also conversations around community and police officers.

How is the legalization of Marijuana affecting the government and the economy in Colorado?

It’s part of our reality, not controversial, but whenever I go out of state, everyone wants to talk to me about. It is doing well, somewhat helping the economy, but it’s exacerbating the affordable housing crisis. People think there’s so much revenue and it’s actually stalling the conversation on revenue issues.

In short, what’s the job description of being a State Representative?

It’s great, all I do is talk all day long. I talk to constituents, my colleagues, advocates and lobbyists.

All State Reps are trying to make our world better, ultimately; intentions are good, passions are high.

Check out the VRL Live replay of Faith Winter’s webinar Deciding to Run: The 10 Things You Need to Know!