The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Running For Political Office

by Alexandra Edwards

We, the people of the United States of America without doubt, whether you like it or not, live in the best country on Earth. One of the main reasons this country is the envy of the world is because we are a government of the people, by the people, for the people. A right handed down to us by our founding fathers, who to say the least, were well traveled, very knowledgeable men of the world that knew exactly what they were doing when they formed the Constitution of the United States of America. No other nation on the globe share the rights, freedoms and opportunities given the American citizen. True, over the years many of our freedoms are diminishing through laws passed by our US congressmen, state legislatures and local elected officials. Therefore, when it comes to election time, it is so very important to carefully select and elect the right candidates. Those you feel will represent and protect the rights of the people, talk on your behalf, and have no self interests in governmental departments.

Running for office is simple. Basically, anyone that truly cares enough about their country and community and is willing to sacrifice their time and a little money can run for office. Provided of course that they are a citizen of the United States of America, a registered voter, reside in the state, county or district of which they wish to represent, are not a felon and are of the qualifying age for the elected seat they wish to fill. There are other state and county exceptions depending on which particular office is being sought.

Here in Bradley County, Tennessee, the election commission is gearing up for the 2006 elections. Some of the seats being contested next year include:- Bradley County Commission (2 seats in each District 1st- 7th) Bradley County Mayor (County Executive), Trustee, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, Road Superintendent,

Alexandra Edwards

Constables (Districts 1st-7th) County School Board (Districts 2nd-3rd-4th-6th).

In the City of Cleveland:- City Mayor, Cleveland City Council Districts 1st, 2nd and At-Large, Cleveland City School Board Districts 3rd 4th 5th. City of Charleston Commission (At-Large). On the state level:- Governor, Senate 9th District, House of Representatives 22nd District and House of Representatives 24th District. On the Federal level :- U.S. Senator and

US House of Representatives 3rd District.

There will be a "Candidate School" for prospective candidates, their campaign treasurers and volunteer workers on October 11th. Call the Bradley County Election office for time and location at 728-7115.

Having run for local office myself, even though defeated it was an unforgettable experience that any civic minded person should try. Although many consider running, it is felt that maybe just a little friendly advice may help a prospective candidate decide to take the plunge and give it a try.

Candidates wishing to run in the partisan county elections need to pick up a petition from the Bradley County Election Commission in the courthouse annex on Broad Street any time between now and February. Although the County Primary Elections are not until May 2006, The deadline for qualifying petitions for the county elections is noon, February 16th. As a qualifying petition requires a minimum of 25 signatures of registered voters, it is recommended that the candidate get an early start and be selective with signers of the petition. Those running for a district position, need be aware of the district lines and collect signatures only from within that district. Signatures will be screened, so if someone co-signs for another or does not sign their proper signature or write their full address, those names will be declined. It is therefore recommended you get at least 40 to 50 signatures to ensure the petition qualifies. If a candidate chooses to run as an Independent as opposed to Republican or Democrat, it will not be necessary to run in the May County Primary but only in the Local General Election in August 2006. Candidates for Cleveland and Charleston City offices, and County School Board have a little more time to ponder and need not pick up petitions until after January 6th with a qualifying deadline of April 6th, 2006.

Running against an incumbent in any office has its disadvantages, as the

incumbent is at least 4 years up on experience. A novice candidate will do better to organize their own public "meet the candidate" community meetings with the support of family, friends and familiar faces rather than attend some of the more formal organized events the incumbents will be attending. Where even a confident novice candidate with all the answers will likely have nothing to gain and everything to loose. A candidate for a county position should also start attending County Commission meetings to gain knowledge of the present issues involving county government. The Commission meetings are held four times a month. Two voting meetings are always held at the court house the first Monday at 7:00 p.m. and third Monday at 10:00 am.The commission also meet for two work sessions one at Bradley Memorial Hospital at noon and on the fourth Monday at the courthouse at 7:00 p.m. Cleveland City meetings are held at the Municipal Building on the second and fourth Monday at 4:00 p.m. with a work session starting one hour earlier.

Canvassing for votes will take time and energy if you are to be a serious competitor to an incumbent. Although going door to door on subdivisions is much easier, there are still hundreds of voters out in the rural part of the county that need to be reached. It is also said that candidates with a definite, clear platform are usually taken more seriously than those just running on name alone. Be courageous, bring attention to the shortcomings of your opponents and try to address the concerns of the voting public in a way they can relate too.

Running for office does not have to be expensive. Maybe relatives and friends can support you in your endeavor or hold fund-raisers on your behalf. Shop around on the Internet for political signs. Depending on how many you need you should be able to get 100  24"x18" signs, including support wire for around $375 - it is much less expensive and time consuming than making your own. You can make your own campaign business cards on the computer, or get some printed off at Staples for around $25-30 for a carton of 500. 500

votes can win you the election for many seats. A large poster in the back of a pick-up truck works great for name recognition and drawing attention to your candidacy. The candidate, family members and friends can drive around town parking the truck at several different locations, though with the price of gas right now maybe that's not quite as cheap as it used

to be but it's still worthwhile.

Finally, running for office is not just about winning, it's not a game that has to be won to satisfy ones ego. Some defeated candidates can actually make changes in the way government does business simply by the platform they ran on. If a candidate is serious enough in improving the community, then defeat should not be a deterrent. Instead, they should feel proud of having had the privilege to take part in this country's democratic process. They should shake the hand of the elected opponent, wish them luck, and then continue watching, listening and being involved in government and their community. The personal satisfaction and the many nice people you will meet will make your venture into politics a surprisingly rewarding experience. It was once said that a people deserves the government it gets so make sure you get the government you deserve and want.

Take an active part.