Back into campaign and election season

In the Spring, I mentioned here that I was running for political office as a candidate for Richmond City Council here in Richmond, Indiana - my first real venture into politics.  I never did post an update on this blog that I won the Primary Election held in May (YAY!), and so now I'm on the ballot for consideration in the November general election.

Despite having lots of overlap in subject matter between my political efforts and my writings here, I will generally continue to keep my campaign-related news and updates on my website (BOOKMARK IT), and on my campaign Facebook page (LIKE IT) and Twitter account (FOLLOW IT).  But, I thought I'd give you a taste of some of the material my campaign is creating as we get back into that season.

You can watch a YouTube video interview with me:

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Post-primary analysis

Now that we're a few days out from the primary election win, I thought I would share some reflections and analysis of the election.  Some of these may be obvious, especially to political veterans, but it's helpful for me to put them out there and see what other comments and analysis comes up.

On the election day results themselves:

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Scenes from election day

Today is election day in Richmond!  I hope that if you haven't already voted, you take the time to cast your vote at one of the three convenient voting centers in town, before 6 PM.  I'll be posting updates about the day on my Twitter and Facebook accounts and to subscribers of my mailing list.  The Palladium-Item is hosting a live chat all day long and you can tweet your comments/questions by including the hashtag #richmondvotes.

If you'd like to join me as the results come in tonight, I'll be on the third floor of the Richmond Municipal Building sometime after 6 PM.

All morning, I've been out at the voting centers greeting voters as they arrive.   It's been a little wet and chilly, but well worth it in terms of the great exchanges I've had with people.  Some things I've heard and seen:

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Scenes from Primary Season

Scraps of paper floating around my car with addresses scrawled on them for delivering yard signs and brochures.

Notes and programs from "must attend" (for a candidate, anyway) governmental and organizational meetings that seem to happen daily now, scattered across my desk.

People giving me warm "congratulations!" and me still not being sure if it's because I'm running for office or getting married or hired a new staff member at work or because I just did a nice parking job.  "Thank you, I'm very excited!" is a genuine initial response for all four cases, and context clues help from there.

Surreal experiences of driving down random streets and seeing my name on a sign up ahead, still a bit jolting each time, I hope it always will be.

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Going door to door

Today I spent some time with a few campaign volunteers going door to door in a neighborhood in Richmond to talk about my candidacy and to listen to what's on the minds of Richmond residents.

So far, this has been one of my favorite parts of running for office! It's easy to get caught up in the immediate (and sometimes misleading) feedback that comes with various kinds of digital promotion to groups of online contacts, so there's something grounding and balancing about being face to face with one person at a time, with only a few feet and maybe a screen door between you.  There's something very real about looking a stranger in the eyes while hearing about what really matters to them in an election.

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I'm running for office

I've blogged before about my political aspirations, and now I'm happy to announce that I'm running for a political office.  Earlier today, I filed for candidacy for an At-Large seat on Richmond, Indiana's Common Council.

I've spent much of my time and energy over the last decade of my life investing myself in Richmond in one form or another.  I've written many words in this space about what I see as Richmond's opportunities and challenges, and I've always enjoyed observing the local political scene.  Now, I'm taking my involvement to what I think is the next logical step given my talents and passions.

I don't expect to write much about the campaign here; this blog will continue to be for my personal and unofficial musings on a variety of topics.  I have a campaign website setup, and I've got the twitters and the youtubes and the facebooks all ready for you to liketweet if that's your thing.  If you're interested in the campaign, my positions on various issues affecting the community, and how you can help move Richmond forward, please check it out.  Even a few words of support will mean a lot!

The dance of newcomer and incumbent

It's no secret that I'm a "newcomer to running for office" in this political race, and that this label lines me up to be one half of a long-running dance that newcomers and incumbents do as a part of political campaigns.

The newcomer says, "I'm here with fresh ideas and a different way of doing things, out with the old and in with the new, vote for me, change you can believe in!" and so on.

The incumbent says, "Why would you want to bring in someone who doesn't have any experience in this position, when you've got me?  I've been doing this for a while, I know how it works, I'm the best bang for your buck."

The reality, of course, is that both perspectives can be right.

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Chris Hardie Announces Council Candidacy

RICHMOND - Today local business owner and community volunteer Chris Hardie announced his candidacy for Richmond's Common Council At-Large.  Hardie, 33, has extensive experience in community building and a positive vision for the work of the Council.

"I believe that Richmond is capable of great things," Hardie said, "and I'm excited to be a part of a new generation of community leadership that can help make those things happen.  We can no longer afford to be paralyzed by the past and old ways of thinking.  It's time to move forward and I want to lead and join progressive thinking that will make us a more vibrant community."

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The Don Bates Jr. campaign for U.S. Senate

Council MeetingRichmond, Indiana businessman Don Bates Jr. is running for election to the U.S. Senate.  It seems somewhat rare that a local person runs for national office, and as a participant in the local political blogging culture, I think that makes me obligated to comment, right?  🙂

Bates has a campaign website, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and a YouTube channel, so he can check the "modern candidate" requirements off the list.  The content of the website is at times confusing in its construction and full of typos and grammatical errors, and generally seems a notch below what one might expect from a national candidate.  But then again, if that's the worst you can say about a campaign, we're doing pretty well, and at least Bates is putting his views out there for examination and discussion.

On "the issues," the theme of Bates` positions seem to be (A) fight against whatever Barack Obama and other Democrats wants to do,  and (B) try to resurrect the politics, if not the physical incarnation, of former President Ronald Reagan.  I'm almost not kidding about the resurrection part: Continue reading "The Don Bates Jr. campaign for U.S. Senate"

Making fun of Community Organizers

Enjoying the Fruits of Our LaborLike many people of diverse political affiliations, I bristled during the Republican National Convention when various speakers including VP candidate Sarah Palin made fun of "community organizer" as a worthwhile way of spending time.

It wasn't problematic for me because the attack was being used against candidate Barack Obama, although I didn't find it to be an effective or useful expression of concern about his qualifications. Instead, I think that it was just plain insulting to the many people in communities across the world who devote their time and energy to making their local communities better places to live. Further, I think it was a hypocritical and problematic assertion given some of the other selling points being used to present Palin and McCain to voters. Here's why: Continue reading "Making fun of Community Organizers"