I’ve decided to create an eLearning course for candidates running for the Oregon state legislature for Washington County. It would be too difficult and overwhelming to cover all local offices like city council, water board, commissioners, etc or federal office like U.S. Senate or U.S. Representative so I chose the most popular position conservatives run for : State office. Out of the 19 candidates we had in 2022, the majority did not have a clear message, a marketing plan or public speaking skills. These are grassroots candidates that can’t afford and/or don’t have time to hire a full-time campaign manager. This reasoning is why I chose eLearning as my course platform because it’s asynchronous and cheap.
I’ll focus on three aspects of a campaign: marketing, communication, and time management. At the beginning of the course I want to have a “Day in the Life” video where I follow around a state legislature for a day during the legislative session to document what’s it’s like to be a public servant. I don’t think it’s as glamourous as many of the candidates believe. You have to read a lot of bills with hard language, negotiate with dissenters, balance your real job with your legislative job, use Robert’s Rules of Order, answer thousands of emails from constituents, hire an office assistant, etc. I want to make it clear what a candidate is committing to so I can weed out the ones that aren’t right for public office (no short-tempers, no creeps, no sheep that follow the pack because they don’t have integrity). I want the voters to be proud of our Repbulican state legislatures. I want them to be excited to vote Republican. I also want the candidates to have realistic expectations of the cost of a campaign. That way they know what they’re getting into and can figure out if running a campaign is feasible. I don’t see the point in running for office if you don’t have the money to make it winnable.
Marketing relates to social media, mailers, and website. I can measure the candidate’s improvement through likes, follows, interactions with posts, and Facebook metrics. Mailers are harder to measure. I can measure how many donate because they got a mailer (“how did you hear about us” on donation form). Setting up a free website even though the free websites have long URLs, I think that’s ok because the candidate can use a QR code for people to scan instead of writing down the website link. Marketing also includes graphic design skills. No more than 3 colors that compliment each other. I use http://colormind.io/ to find sets of colors.
Communication will focus on public speaking. In 2022 the Washington County candidates rambled on and on. Their messages got lost in the 20 minute speech that was only supposed to be 5 minutes. The candidate needs to have 3 clear topics to focus on and a elevator pitch as to why you should vote for him/her. I’m going to copy the Toastmaster set up of Table Topics, counting filler words, Timer, Round Robin evaluations, etc. to teach candidates communication. Candidates need to talk confidently and be comfortable on stage. They also need to debate well and keep their cool when faced with adversity. Toastmasters works and I can measure progress through counting filler words and timing.
Time Management will focus on looking at voter data to create a canvassing plan. A candidate can’t go to every event s/he is invited to so s/he needs to decide which events are worth his/her time. Also this section will focus on which doors to knock and which voters to target (i.e. low propensity Republicans). I can measure time management by having them use Clockify to categorize their times. Hopefully, they’ll do it and maybe I’ll set up a virtual cafe like IDOL Academy where candidates can work online together. Time management includes campaign finance reporting to ORESTAR. A candidate has to find time to report their campaign contributions and understand how to navigate ORESTAR. Luckily, the Oregon’s Secretary of State website has a training so I can use that and make it better.
These are my learning objectives:
Given an audience of Washington County constituents the candidate will speak about him/herself and his/her platform for no more than 5 minutes.
Given a guided questionnaire the candidate will identify his/her 3 talking points when talking to constitutents and PCPs.
Given a video tutorial the candidate will create a website for his/her campaign within one week.
Given multiple practice sessions the candidate will debate a topic with 20 or fwer filler words for 2-5 minutes.
Given a video about a day in the life of a Republican legislature, the candidate will answer review questions with 90% accuracy.
Using the free version of Canva the candidate will create multiple Facebook ads, signs, palm cards, business cards with no more than 3 colors.
Using the Oregon Secretary of State website the candidate will list everything s/he needs to file from declaring candidacy to the end of the campaign with 100% accuracy.
Given an eLearning course the candidate will explain how and when to file political donations and other finances with 100% accuracy.
Given an eLearning course the canddate will state a start date of when s/he will start canvassing with at least 3 volunteers.