Running for office not only requires fortitude and determination but the knowledge of how to run a successful campaign. On March 2-3 the Montana Farm Bureau held the Victory Montana Campaign Seminar in Helena. The comprehensive training covered everything from consideration, exploration and budget to campaign tactics and getting elected.
“Before announcing your run for office, you need to make sure you are on the right side of the issues,” said Mike Sistak, director, Grassroots Program Development , American Farm Bureau Federation. “A successful candidate will know the issues of greatest concern to their electorate and build the campaign around those issues. Secondly, be prepared before you announce with a pre-written statement and a press release.”
Sistak told the class to develop a 25-word statement and don’t stray from that message. In addition, he covered having a detailed budget, a workable communications plan and well-organized volunteers.
The American Farm Bureau developed the campaign seminar to be a resource for people running for office. “Farm Bureau is a well-respected organization in every state,” said Sistak. “Candidates running for local office know they can come to their Farm Bureau to get expertise on running and winning campaign. I have been around campaigns for a long time; I’ve consulted and I’ve volunteered. I’ve seen good candidates run bad campaigns. I want to help people learn how to run a campaign and how to win.”
Joel Krautter from Sidney is an incumbent in House District 35 as well as a second-time attendee of the MFBF Campaign School. “I used it as a refresher course on what I learned in 2018. It served as a reminder to use my 25-word statement on why I’m running. Plus, American Farm Bureau has updated some of the information, especially in regards to social media, which is extremely helpful. This campaign school is comprehensive as it covers every aspect of a campaign.”
This is the first time Alice Buckley, Bozeman, decided to run for public office, setting her sights on House District 63 which encompasses Montana State University. She found the campaign school to be inspiring. “It was amazing to be in a room with other candidates who believe in being involved in local politics. It was motiving to realize many of the same issues are important across the entire state, such as mental health, rural economic development and education. I feel I’m walking away with new friends whom I respect. I really appreciate the Montana Farm Bureau for holding this campaign school.”