By Ed Carter, www.ablefutures.org
If you’re considering a run for local office, there are plenty of important things to consider and prepare before moving forward. Those who have disabilities of any kind — from physical impairments to mental health challenges — often have even more to do to ready themselves for their campaigns.
Thankfully, there are several incredibly helpful strategies that you can use to overcome your challenges and get elected to your chosen position. Here are four valuable strategies that anyone with a disability can use as they prepare to run for local office.
Hire a trusted team of experts.
When running for any office, it is crucial to surround yourself with people who can help you reach your goals. That’s why it is important to hire a team of trusted experts across specialties. This will be even more necessary if you require assistance related to your disability.
Unsure as to who you should hire? To start, having a personal assistant, a marketing expert, and a speech/content writer is ideal. Whether you’re in business or running a campaign, one commonly overlooked expert to hire is a cybersecurity expert. Someone with this knowledge can actually protect your website and any other sensitive online data from cyberattacks.
Consider taking online classes that are relevant to your particular elected position.
Have a passion for doing the work of a specific elected position but still lack knowledge that would make you even better at your role? Consider enrolling in online classes.
Whether you’d like to brush up on history, economics, or any other subject, you can learn exactly what you want to know from expert faculty members. Instead of attending classes on campus, you can accommodate your needs and schedule with online classes. You can review course materials when it makes sense for you, and you can avoid the challenges that can sometimes accompany in-person attendance. Equipped with the knowledge you need, you can easily show your community that you are the best fit for the position.
Seek additional help in managing your condition.
If needed, work with health professionals to help you better manage your condition. Depending on your individual challenges, you may experience more flare-ups due to increased stress, physical movement, or other factors. Running for office is no easy task, which is why it is super important that you take care of yourself as much as possible.
Pay extra attention to how your mind and body feel each day, and seek care for any new or worsening symptoms. Being proactive about your health can help you have the best possible experience and reduce the chance of having to drop out of the election.
Openly discuss your disability with the public.
Although it may feel forced or awkward for some, running for local office can give you an amazing platform to raise awareness for your condition. When appropriate — and as you feel comfortable — don’t be afraid to openly discuss your condition with the public. Talking about various conditions in public settings — especially those related to mental health — can also reduce stigmas and make it easier for others to discuss their own challenges.
The above strategies are an excellent way to kickstart your campaign. By starting strong and having a strategy to carry you through, you’ll put yourself in an incredible position to win your election.