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          Running for State Office

          Contributed by National Officers

          For most of us BPA’ers, Spring/State Leadership Conferences are just around the corner. So, now is as good a time as any to start thinking about running for state office.

          Let me tell you that running for state office is probably one of the best experiences I’ve had, aside from running for national office. I personally believe that running for state was the turning point for me – that was when I really discovered my true potential. So, if there is even the slightest possibility that you will run, I encourage you to really consider it and pursue that possibility.

          In most states, running for state office is kind of a really ramped up version of local office. So, if you have experience in running for and holding local and/or regional office, it will help you greatly in preparation for running for state – but that’s not saying you absolutely have to have served on the local or regional level first, it just depends on your state.

          Each state differs in their application and campaigning process – but, no matter what, you need to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few things I’ve learned that I hope will help you.

          • As soon as the application packet is available, start filling it out and find out what you will need in order to apply.
          • If at all possible, mail in your packet early – it looks good on you if you do.
          • Brainstorm campaign ideas as soon as you know for sure that you are going to run – even if it is before you actually apply. Run your ideas by your advisor. Ask your classmates for ideas. Make sure you have a campaign that is unique to you.
          • Start writing your speech early. Spend time on it, have your advisors help you. You may end up rewriting it several times – and that’s perfectly ok. I always edit and rewrite my speeches many times before I have a final draft.
          • Practice your speech until you know it forwards and backwards and are able to say it without it sounding really rehearsed – you want it to sound natural.
          • Get all your campaign supplies ready ahead of time.
          • Have your family, advisors and teachers help you practice answering random questions that you might get  asked during campaigning and caucusing.
          • Always dress professionally when participating in any activities related to your candidacy. Good hygiene is important too!
          • Get plenty of rest the few nights leading up to campaigning and giving your speech – especially on the night before.
          • Always smile and be friendly!
          • And above all, do your best and have fun!!

          No matter if you are elected or not, running for state office is an experience that will have a tremendous effect on you. It could change your life in some way, it could help you discover something great about yourself or it could just be a really fun experience that you won’t forget.

          If you would like more detailed information about running for state office, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the other national officers. We are more than willing to help. You could also go to your current state offices and get advice as well.

          Stay tuned for more information!

          Natasha Smith
          National Post-Secondary Vice President  

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