by Karl Kurtz
Lee Hamilton, the former member of Congress who now directs the Center on Congress at Indiana University, has written another good commentary in his series of biweekly columns. It's entitled, How to Run for Congress, but everyplace the word "Congress" appears, you could substitute "state legislature" (or, for that matter, school board, county commission,...), and his thoughts would ring equally true. Here are a few excerpts:
In towns and cities from one end of the country to the other, men and women at this moment are doing their best to grapple with the hard issues that confront us and to persuade their fellow citizens that their approach will help this nation grow stronger. We get to weigh what they say and do, and make our choice at the ballot box. This is the heartbeat of our democracy, and I never tire of listening to it.
Just as amazing is the fact that ordinary people — our friends and neighbors, our teachers and military veterans and farmers and shop owners — have decided to step forward and run for office. They know that the challenges of campaigning are enormous. Yet often, when I speak in public, a few listeners will come up to me afterward and ask my advice on running for Congress. Our hurried conversation always feels inadequate to me, so here's what I wish I had the time to tell them.