Demystifying running for office

One aspect of deciding to run for City Council that took the most research was understanding just what the filing process looks like.  One might raise the question of whether the process is intentionally engineered to be a little mysterious and intimidating, if we didn't know that there are many parts of the government that are a little mysterious and intimidating.  🙂

So although I am myself very new to the process of running for office, I thought I'd share along the way what I've learned about how it works, in hopes that anyone who might want to join me or who might later follow in my footsteps can do so a little bit more efficiently.

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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"

On the Human Rights Commission de-funding

Last night, Richmond, Indiana's City Council voted 5-4 to de-fund the Human Rights Commission, a local agency that investigates and addresses complaints of discrimination based on race, religion, color, gender, physical disability or national origin.  The budget for the agency was $74,150, an amount that is already down from other cuts in recent years.

The de-funding measure was proposed by Councilman J. Clayton Miller.  Every encounter I've had with Mr. Miller has been a positive one, and he seems to be a good person doing what he believes is right, which I appreciate.  I'm sure that his fellow supporters on Council who also voted in favor are also doing what they think is right.  But I question whether they have made this decision with full consideration for the needs of the whole community in mind. Continue reading "On the Human Rights Commission de-funding"

Why Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst was good for you

Republican Congressman Joe Wilson has already apologized for his lack of civility in last night's joint session of Congress, after shouting "you lie!" at President Barack Obama during Obama's speech about health care reform. Wilson is unsurprisingly being raked over the coals by fellow politicians, the media, and indignant bloggers and Twitter users, but I'm not sure we don't also owe him a word of thanks.

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Lierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth

The Vegetarian Myth coverLierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth is one of the most important books ever written about food and the sustainability of the human species. It is at once deeply personal, overwhelmingly provocative, and academically sound as it calls into question all of the stories we have ever been told about where food comes from, what kind of food we should eat (especially in the context of veganism and vegetarianism), and what impact our food choices make on our bodies and the world around us.  And that's just the core themes; Keith deftly weaves together food politics with economics, religion, culture, misogyny, masculinity, feminism, media issues, peak oil, liberalism vs radicalism, and so much more.

In short, if you think about what you eat, how it got to you, and the issues of nutrition, morality, politics and spirituality come with it, it is paramount that you encounter what The Vegetarian Myth has to offer.

My full review continues:

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My political aspirations

Update March 2011: I'm currently a candidate for election to Richmond's City Council.

At a local business networking event tonight, someone noted that they'd heard a rumor I might be getting involved in politics locally.  We had a good conversation about it, and I thought I'd use it as a jumping off point to share a little more about my own political aspirations.

Sometime during my college experience, I decided that I was going to run for the Presidency of the United States of America.  I was mostly serious. I mean, I announced it on the Internet for crying out loud, so you know I wasn't just messing around.  I figured out that I would be old enough to be elected President in the 2012 elections, and I dreamed my dream from there.

I've since figured out that national politics is probably not for me, at least not anytime soon.

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