It’s impossible for one woman to know everything about every issue. Be open to learning more about the issues. You’ll be surprised to find how much expertise you can bring to the table. Never be threatened or think you don’t know enough!
Understand what your community cares about. Being able to speak to the needs of the community and share your passions is a winning combination for any leader.
- Ask a currently elected official to share their issue sheets with you. Read, question and revise to reflect your perspective and voice.
- Set a Google Alert for tracking issues you care about. Read the newspaper with a pair of scissors. Search online for articles and opinion pieces by experts that outline both sides.
- Start issue files and a file on your opponent. Collect articles that are for and against your position on the issue.
- Attend the City Council Meetings, Legislative Hearings, School Board Meetings and/or County Commission Meetings. Take notes and record your thoughts.
- Want to gauge public opinion? Take your own survey or poll. Ask the same questions to each person you encounter, record the number and area where your survey took place. Ask a few open ended questions of your constituents. People love it when someone actually cares enough to ask them what they think.
- Don’t have a firm position yet? Lay out your strategy for getting the information and expertise you think is needed to make that decision. Tell a concerned citizen that you have received a great deal of conflicting information and ask them what they know about the issue and what their opinions are. You may be talking with a person who really knows what should be done.
- Collaborate with other people and groups you respect and rely on them for information. Interview people who are experts.
- Trust your gut. People are looking for authentic leaders who will take responsibility and be accountable for their positions.
- What to do when you’re wrong? Apologize. Let folks know you received new information and changed your position. Take the offensive if you can, “At the time I made that statement I was not aware that … . Now I know …… and feel strongly enough to change my position.”
Download the Issues worksheet to begin working through your stand on individual issues. Also, start outlining your policy positions on some of the controversial and ethical topics you may be asked to weigh in on during your campaign.