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Community Comment: Time to think about running this October

As someone who ran (and lost) twice, I have a little insight into the topic.
voting ballot boxes pixabay image

I was reading the Editor’s Note (Optimist, May 5), like I do every week without fail (he is my editor, after all.) He was commenting that not many people have stepped up yet to declare their candidacy for the upcoming municipal election, be it for mayor, council or school board.

As someone who ran (and lost) twice, I have a little insight into the topic.

So far, only incumbent Mayor George Harvie has stated he will be running again. That’s usually the trigger for others to make a decision – you either believe that person is unbeatable, or you think there may be a chance for change. The fact there aren’t other candidates coming forward yet says something.

Running for council is a bit different, incumbents will wait for a while before stating their intensions. For anyone else who ends up running, they usually wait until closer to the deadline before making an announcement.

School board is almost a last minute decision. I think I dropped off my paperwork the day before the deadline, if not on deadline day. Makes sense, that’s how I typically did my homework when I was in school. After all, that’s what the last minute was invented for, wasn’t it?

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about running for local office.

First, you need to be on a slate. Running as an independent is really tough, and usually unsuccessful. It’s a lot of work and you need to lean on others to help get your name out. Delta is bigger than you think.

Second, don’t wait until election time to start talking with people, especially if you aren’t an incumbent. You can’t cover Delta properly during the campaign period, you have to be talking with people much earlier. Prepare to give up your summer.

Third, make sure you are running for the right reasons. Running to fight for a pet peeve won’t work. And don’t run if you are just looking for a job. It is way too much work for that.

Finally, if you stand and don’t win, you are appreciated. You bring energy and enthusiasm to our community. There are lots of other places to apply that energy through the charities that need you as a board member. That’s how I ended up on the board at Deltassist, which has been a very rewarding and fulfilling role.

It’s also how I ended up writing this column. Guess I won after all.

Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has more than 30’ years experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He teaches post-secondary marketing, coaches hockey goalies and is past president of Deltassist.