Earlier this week, the Candidate Boot Camp leadership team sat down with Dan Tuohy of the New Hampshire Union Leader to tell our story. The article, Candidate Boot Camp wants you to run for office, ran in today’s paper.

This project has been 7 years in the making. I first had the idea after volunteering for a local political campaign. Working closely with the campaign manager, I started to learn some of the ins and outs about how to run for political office. I saw how much of the knowledge and expertise was protected by the political consultants. And I also knew that the Internet would be disrupting the way campaigns are run–just like it has disrupted virtually every other industry.

After years of searching for the right partners, I was able to connect with Andrew Provencher and Sarah Stewart, both of whom have forgotten more about running campaigns than I know. They provided the subject matter expertise that allowed us to create our Basic Training course. But more than that, it allowed us to create resources to help lower the barriers to running for office.

Democratizing Democracy

You don’t need to be wealthy to run for state or local office. But you definitely need some knowledge. The vast majority of political races every year in the U.S. can’t afford to pay a professional political consultant or even hire staff.

On average, well over a half-million races are run every year in the U.S. Almost 98% of them are local races. Almost all of the political fundraising and spending happens at the state and federal levels. By providing free and low-cost resources to those local candidates, we’re democratizing the process of running for office.

Jimmy Lehoux is a local education activist and musician.

One such candidate is Jimmy Lehoux, a resident of Manchester, NH and candidate for Board of School Committee in 2015. From the article:

“The tools in there are definitely worth looking at for anyone considering running for a local office,” said Jimmy Lehoux, who ran for Manchester school board in the last election, and now sits on several committees. Candidate Boot Camp provides both the big picture and a closer look at the little things that are sometimes overlooked, he said.

Lehoux said the checklist is extensive, from help crafting a budget to developing a game plan to reaching out to constituents.

Another local leader, Will Stewart, provided his thoughts:

Stewart, president of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, sits on a number of volunteer boards and organizations in the region. He decided to use it to help launch a new website – a side project – designed to help residents make a positive difference in their community. He said he has not seen anything else quite like Candidate Boot Camp.

The modules are not just conceptual, but hands-on, and practical, for tactical and strategic advice and resources, he said. “It really resonates,” Stewart said. “It helps to put everything in perspective.”

Read the entire article on the New Hampshire Union Leader website.

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