Janesville61.9°

Win the spring race by planning now

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
November 7, 2007

November is not too early to start thinking about your community’s future.


Each April sees a changing of the guard for local school, town and village boards and city councils. But the winners of April’s elections are the planners of November.


Candidates must file nomination papers by Jan. 2, 2008, to be listed on the ballot. They may begin circulating nominating petitions Dec. 1, said Rock County Clerk Kay O’Connell.


That’s 24 days from now.


Before that date, it’s a good idea to think about whether you really want to do this thing.


A good first stop “How to Run for Local Elected Office in Wisconsin” by the UW Extension. It can be found under the “community development” button at http://sauk.uwex.edu.


The booklet addresses practical matters, such as eligibility, but also leads the prospective candidate through a series of self-probing questions, such as:


n What does your family think?


n Are you self-confident enough to take public and personal criticism?


n Are you ready to work on a variety of issues?


Rich Eggleston of the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities notes that those who run for local office are committing themselves to a lot of reading and studying. He said he has nothing but respect for people who are willing to take on the challenge.


“It really is a true grit kind of thing,” Eggleston said, adding that the grief a local public servant gets is probably a lot more than in lower-profile tasks, such as getting involved in your place of worship or your child’s sports teams.


If you’re still up for it, you’ll want to decide what issues to run on, and you’ll want to get a better idea of what it’s like to be on a board or council.


One good way to do that is to attend Forward Janesville’s 10th annual Campaign Management Institute set for three Tuesdays—Nov. 27, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.


Forward Janesville reports that 117 people have graduated from CMI, and 17 of those have been elected.


The institute also is a chance to rub elbows with influential people who will present portions of the program, including local and state political leaders, news media representatives, and political organizers.


CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE

Forward Janesville’s 10th annual Campaign Management Institute is set for three Tuesdays—Nov. 27, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. It costs $50. Each session begins at 6 p.m. at Forward Janesville’s office at 51 S. Jackson St., Janesville.


For more information or to register, contact Dan Cunningham at (608) 757-3160 or by e-mail at dacc@forwardjanesville.com.
TO LEARN MORE

Candidates for local offices also might want to check out these Web sites:


-- The Wisconsin Towns Association recommends this site for those who don’t get along well with the Internet: www.imagescape.com/helpweb/welcome.html.
-- Wisconsin Alliance of Cities, www.wiscities.org.
-- Wisconsin League of Municipalities, www.lwm-info.org.
-- Wisconsin Towns Association, www.wisctowns.com.
-- Wisconsin Association of School Boards, www.wasb.org. Click on “Governance” and then “Guide for Candidates.”
-- State Elections Board, http://elections.state.wi.us. Click on “candidate registration.”

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