Running for political office is an effective way to influence change in your community especially for those who are underrepresented and often ignored. “Nothing About Us, Without Us” is a powerful slogan to draw strength from when running for elected office as a person living with a disability. With only a handful of people with disabilities holding political office, there is a huge gap to fill and we need bold and courageous men and women of vision willing to take the plunge into political leadership.
While resilience, creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving are strengths that a person living with impairments uses to get by every day, you will need to formulate and implement smart strategies to win the race. Here are some tips to get you started.
If you want to represent the larger community, you need to start by organizing the disabled community towards a common goal. By coming together, you will be able to find resourceful ways to fix the problem of underrepresentation. During a time of persecution and suffering, members of the early church had to band together and find resourceful ways to advance the Gospel.
By bringing the disabled community together, you will have a team to support you in your campaign and you might just inspire the entire community toward working together.
Earn an advanced degree
Acquiring an advanced degree can help prepare you for a career in politics and the academic credentials can give you an edge over your competitors. Choosing the right degree and a suitable program is key. Some degrees can impart the knowledge and skills that allow you to serve your community better. For example, a doctoral degree in Management equips you with critical thinking skills that allow you to develop creative solutions to complex problems in your community.
An online program gives you the freedom to learn at your own pace even as you focus on your campaign. You can easily fit your online coursework into your busy schedule so that you are able to juggle your education pursuits and work and personal responsibilities.
Polish your campaign
Do your research to learn the needs of your community and figure out what you can deliver if elected. Build your campaign around your delivery plan and create a core message and agenda that you can sell to the voters. Use your team and volunteers to get your campaign message out to as many people as possible. Participate actively in the community to improve visibility and create a connection with the voters.
The need for representation from a minority group is not reason enough to drive you into politics. According to Peter (1 Peter 5:2), you should lead “not under compulsion, but because you are willing.” The desire to run for office should come from within. Many refer to it as a “calling.” The decision to run for office should not be taken lightly because it is a difficult journey filled with trials and tribulations.
Ed Carter uses his financial abilities to help people with disabilities plan ahead, as physical and mental disabilities often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. Learn more at AbleFutures.org