NAPO Washington Reports

Run for Office as a Disabled Individual With These Suggestions

February 24, 2022



Run for Office as a Disabled Individual With These Suggestions 

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Disabled individuals who serve in public office have become more widely recognized in recent years, and the conversation about living with a disability while achieving major life goals has opened up quite a bit. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Jon Tester are just two examples of differently-abled individuals who have gone on to realize their dreams in political office; even the President of the United States, Joe Biden, has lived with and overcome a stuttering condition, serving as an inspiration to many. For those who are ready to run for political office, it’s important to think carefully about how to integrate their disability into a running platform, how to engage with their supporters, when to work with local law enforcement, and how to create a campaign that ensures equal access to everyone. Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Stand out among the crowd

No matter what your platform will be, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd and make yourself known to your potential constituents. Not only that, you’ll want to lend some credibility to your ideas, and a great way to do that is to earn an advanced degree. Consider enrolling in an online doctorate degree program that will provide an easy way to learn at your own pace so you can also focus on building your campaign. This will also allow you to be of service in your community, which will strengthen your ties to voters and give them the opportunity to get to know you.

Build a platform on your strengths

When you’re ready to think about your campaign goals, consider the things that are most important to you, then connect them with public needs. For instance, if your disability creates challenges for you within the community, especially those who live in high-crime areas of the city, there are likely others who face those same difficulties. Use those topics as a jumping-off point to start a conversation, and think about a quick pitch that will allow you to talk about your goals and let them know where you’re coming from. This should tie into your marketing plans, which necessitates a well-organized team that can help you set up a website and navigate the often tricky waters of the political world. Keep in mind that you may need to connect with local law enforcement to determine whether certain neighborhoods or sections of town are safe for you to visit, especially as a differently abled person. Have someone from your team coordinate with police, or get in touch with a community outreach program for information about that area.

Give the people access

When creating the details of your campaign, it’s crucial to remember that not everyone will have equal access to you. Many politicians who are running for office travel around to speak at events, so you’ll want to enable access for those who are living with a disability, have mobility issues, or can’t afford to travel. This means setting up active social media accounts where you can share videos and updates, doing live streams, and offering videos on a YouTube channel. Keep in mind that the more accessible you can make your content, the better, so appoint a team member to that task alone.

Find your funds

Funding a campaign and paying a team can be stressful, but the good news is there are a lot of options for politicians these days. While this process is highly regulated by law, there are several ways to go about raising money for whatever you need during the process of running for office. Crowdfunding, fundraisers, door-to-door campaigns, and smart marketing efforts (such as selling t-shirts and other merch) are all great ways to get the funding you need. Keep in mind that you can also look for team members who connect with your platform and are willing to volunteer their time.

Running for office takes quite a bit of determination and patience, and with the right kind of help, you can make your campaign stand out. Take care of yourself throughout the process, as stress and anxiety can lead to burnout pretty quickly.

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