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Running for Office with a Disability: Tips for a Successful Political Career

Monday, October 5 - Monday, October 12, 2020


Contact: Ed Carter   ed.carter@ablefutures.org  

Sponsored by: Able Futures


By Guest Author Ed Carter, Creator of Able Futures

A diverse government is essential for effectively serving the people it represents. While all minority groups are underrepresented in politics, people with disabilities are often left out of the discussion entirely. As a result, many teens and young adults with disabilities decide to pursue careers in politics to give a louder voice to the disabled community—and you can too!

Choosing Your Path

As a young person, it’s important to start thinking about career awareness, exploration, and preparation before jumping into a career path. Even if you’re just entering high school, now is the time to begin developing career goals and considering your options. Research the paths that interest you the most! The Balance Careers explains that there are many different jobs in politics to explore beyond working on a political campaign.

If you want to run for office one day, determine what steps you need to take to set yourself up for success. For example, you may want to attend college and get a bachelor’s degree in political science, business, international relations, or another relevant field. As soon as you can, start seeking opportunities to get involved in local politics. Volunteer for a local campaign, get involved in a cause you care about, attend debates, and network with politicians at community events. While you may have to wait a couple of years before you can run for office, preparing for your campaign now will give you a head start!

Your Campaign Team

If you’re planning a political campaign in the near future, assemble your campaign team! Running for office isn’t easy, especially if you have a disability, but your campaign team will help you navigate any barriers that may be in your way.

A campaign manager typically oversees the entire campaign process, so this should be one of the first people you hire. Look for someone who is organized, strategic, and a natural leader. You will also need a financial director to raise money for your campaign. Keep in mind that you will have to build a campaign website to accept donations and communicate with voters. Consider hiring a web designer to create an attractive and intuitive site to establish your online presence! You can use job boards like Upwork to find a freelance web designer who will fit your campaign budget. Finally, you’ll need to assemble a team of canvassers to go door-to-door and persuade voters to vote for you.

Running for office is a great way to get involved in your community and improve the representation of people with disabilities in government. No one should be discouraged from becoming a political candidate because of a disability! While you may face some obstacles, you’re bound to learn many new skills and meet a lot of great people along the way.

About the Author

Ed Carter created Able Futures to help people with disabilities prepare for a secure and stable financial future. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities - he has worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes.

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