Birth Of A New Campaign
One thing I take pride in, is that when I make a commitment to something, 99.9% of the time finish what I set out to do. It does not matter what else I am going through, especially with my health, I do my best to never let that interfere. Admittedly, it has to be something serious to lay me up in the hospital (like my heart surgery), otherwise you can count on me being there.
So, on my way home from the hospital yesterday, fellow candidates and the rest of my school board campaign members were meeting to discuss future events and decisions, as well as prepare for the first leg of Pennsylvania, filing petitions.
Three out of the four of us ran for school board locally in 2011. We fell short by narrow margins (less than 200 votes out of 70,000 available votes which shows those who think their vote does not matter, guess again. 199 people decide to come out and make a difference I would be sitting on the school board by now.
I got to our meeting a little later as I knew would happen. The first order of business is filing petitions. In order to get on our state’s primary ballot in May, I need to get ten signatures from voters in my political party. But since school board is non partisan, there is the ability to cross file in the other major party. So my task is then to have someone from the other party take my petition around for ten signatures from that party.
There have been others in the past who have run against our current board members, but because of this cross filing process, and with enough candidates on both sides, Without a full slate of candidates, any uncontested slot following the primary was an easy step through the primaries. In May of 2011, the four other candidates with myself forced a general election with five candidates versus five candidates, incumbants versus challengers.
I will get into issues later, and there are plenty of them. But one thing I will make perfectly clear. My purpose for running for school board, including the prior election, is to protect my childrens’ education. By protecting their education, others will hopefully also benefit.
So my goal beginning next Tuesday, is to have a minimum fifteen signatures from each party. The reason is simple. Even with a school board election, candidates are known to challenge the validity of signatures. The reasons could be as simple as using a mailing address instead of physical address. Accidently writing the wrong date with the signature is enough to get that signature as well as other signatures, nullified. Using “ditto” marks as in living in the same municipality will scratch out the signature.
Typically this will happen in the bigger elections that require many more signatures. An election that requires a thousand signatures or even two hundred fifty you would think would be convincing enough. But with the exact number of signatures, having even one nullified, can end your campaign.
Our efforts in 2011 caught the incumbants’ attention. It was historical to have two incumbants tossed from their seats on the school board. We were all relative unknowns except for two who had run in a prior election and lost. We whole heartedly believed that because we concentrated our efforts with each other, that strength carried through the general election.
This year, we hope to do the same thing.
The rest of our meeting, we reminisced on what we did in 2011, and what we will need to do in 2013. There is no doubt that people have probably grown weary of elections after the huge effort of both candidates this past presidential election. Contrary to scale, school board elections in Pennsylvania have just as important impact on households.
In the coming months, there will be campaign appearances, fundraisers, and just having people come up to us because they recognize us. I consider this a priveledge even just to run for the school board. There are many who could not wait for two years to pass, when the other half of the board would be up for re-election, and then find out if there would competition again. And there will be.
That is what makes this process great. That is what makes this country great. Opportunity and service.