Election 2007: Councilmember Laurin Easthom’s Thoughts…

Laurin, you beat me to the punch!

About a year ago, with some encouragement from RobertP (CountryCrats), I started a few posts on my experience running for Chapel Hill Town Council in 2005.

I wanted

  • to cover the mechanics – signs, fund-raising, forums, endorsements, election day management – of running for local office
  • to touch upon my considerations and justifications for running
  • to give, from my outside perspective, a sense of the hours and effort within Council I thought it would take to do justice to by our citizenry
  • to suggest strategies for dealing with the awesome power of incumbency
  • to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various “endorsing” organizations
  • to pass on what I learned about interacting with the media and getting wider exposure via neighborhood/organizational meetings
  • to highlight my campaign failures (I did lose!)
  • and modest successes.

All with an eye towards encouraging a new generation of Council leadership.

What happened to that series? Well, besides being a bit premature, I got bogged down with a few other projects.

Today, Councilmember Laurin Easthom (Easthom Page) has posted (“Tis’ the Season”) some excellent advice on getting started on the campaign trail:

There hasn’t been much talk around town yet, but election season is coming, or is in fact here. I am talking about my area of course, Chapel Hill Town Council. For those of you that would be interested in running, I have some advice and perspective.

Thanks Laurin for the kick-in-the-pants.

You’re absolutely right. For a non-incumbent with little current political exposure – now is the time to start thinking about running. I’m going to dust-off those old posts and publish my comments in an attempt to help generate some interest, broaden the field and do my bit to increase the participation in what De’Tocqueville thought was the finest aspect of our American participatory democracy – local government.


4 responses to “Election 2007: Councilmember Laurin Easthom’s Thoughts…”

  1. Jason Baker Avatar
    Jason Baker

    Somewhere out there I’ve got a 20ish page “academic” paper I wrote for an independent study project in Fall ’05 about my experiences running and what I learned from them. I really ought to dig that up.

  2. WillR Avatar

    That would be great. Folks could triangulate between our common and different experiences/motivations/lessons and maybe run a stronger campaign for it… I believe you, Laurin and I tried a few novel things – like reporting our campaign finances in near realtime – that would be cool if other candidates adopted (maybe we could build a tradition…).

    I know you said you weren’t interested in running again (maybe that’s changed?) but I do hope, Jason, you’ll pick one or more local candidates to take under your wing and help out.

  3. Jason Baker Avatar
    Jason Baker

    While I look forward to helping out progressive candidates again this election cycle, and I’m always glad to share my experiences to include more people in the political process, I’m happy to be sitting this one out for the most part. I’m heading to Highlands, NC this fall with the Carolina Environmental Program (err, Institute for the Environment) to take part in a program in conservation, biodiversity, and geography, and an internship at a local planning organization. It’s not goodbye to Chapel Hill, but it is a long-needed vacation from several years of overcommitting myself, and I look forward to being able to apply the experience when I return.

    That said, I’m keeping my local residency and expect to be here a number of weekends, so I’m not ruling out some envelope licking and/or sign placing. Now that I’ve finally learned the more intricate techniques necessary for driving in yard signs, I hate to waste the knowledge. 🙂

  4. Philip Duchastel Avatar
    Philip Duchastel

    Will, I’m still hoping you will jump in. If not, then tell us who like you would make a great Council Member.

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