Sharing Political Candidate Surveys on Multiple Social Media Channels



    I’m an elected city councilman in Amherst, Ohio, and I received a great email from a college student today containing questions about the roll I play in local government. The student’s government class is doing a project on local elected officials, and he sent a very polite message asking me to take a moment to answer some good, general questions about my experiences on city council.

    I’m going to share my answers with all of our readers below. More important than that, though, is the lesson that these kind of political candidate surveys should never just be filled out and sent back . . . they are also a great opportunity for elected officials and candidates to reach out to voters and broadcast their views.

    political campaign survey

    In addition to responding to the student’s questions, I also published my answers to his class survey on my official political candidate blog, and put a link to the post on my official Facebook fan page. I encouraged all of my fans to click through and check out my answers to the questions.

    This is just another example of how having a personal campaign blog and political candidate Facebook fan page can help you reach out to supporters and utilize these kind of opportunities to their fullest extent. Whenever you get a candidate election survey, you should always put your answers on your own blog and provide a link to it on your Facebook Fan Page or Twitter profile.
    Below is the original email from the government class student, followed by my answers.

    Hello Phil, my name is Gregg and I am doing a project for my government class and I was hoping to ask you a few questions . . .
    A) Why are you involved in local government?
    B) What is the most exciting part of the job
    C) How did you become a public official? Were you appointed or elected? If elected, have you ever faced a contested race to be a public official?
    D) Who do you think are the most powerful individuals or organizations in you community?
    E) What are the hardest decisions to make in budgeting?
    F) Do political parties or personal alliances play any role in conducting public business?
    G) In your opinion, what role does the media play in local government?
    I appreciate you taking time out of your day to help me with these questions.

    Gregg, thanks so much for the great questions! It’s good to see that LCCC is encouraging its students to find out more about local government and elected officials.

    My answers are below. Thanks again and good luck on your class interview project!

    A) Why are you involved in local government?

    I think that Amherst families are very lucky to live in such a safe and beautiful city, and keeping it that way is very important to me. I couldn’t think of any better way to make sure that Amherst neighborhoods stay safe and beautiful for our children and families than running for City Council.

    B) What is the most exciting part of the job?

    There isn’t a whole lot of “excitement” involved with local public service, but there are plenty of satisfying experiences. I know that many elected officials don’t like getting personal phone calls from constituents, but I really enjoy it. I always make sure that my cell phone number is available to everyone in the city, and I like getting calls from citizens who have ideas about making Amherst a better place to live.

    C) How did you become a public official? Were you appointed or elected? If elected, have you ever faced a contested race to be a public official?

    I was elected last year in the City Council at-Large race. It was my first time running for office. There were four candidates running for three Council at-Large seats. I was honored to be the top vote-getter.

    D) Who do you think are the most powerful individuals or organizations in you community?

    Amherst is lucky to have quite a few local service organizations that do some great things in our community. The Amherst Rotary Club, Main Street Amherst, and the Historical Society come to mind, and there are several others.

    E) What are the hardest decisions to make in budgeting?

    Because of the difficult economic times we’re facing, the city can’t always finance projects to the extent that we would like to. As elected officials, I think it’s our job to balance two important priorities: adequately funding our city services so that residents remain safe, and being good stewards of taxpayer money.

    Amherst has been blessed with a great administration–led by Mayor David Taylor–that does a fine job of protecting taxpayer money while providing adequate funding to vital safety and public services.

    F) Do political parties or personal alliances play any role in conducting public business?

    No, not for me. If something isn’t good for the city, I won’t consider supporting it . . . regardless of what my personal friends or political party leadership thinks.

    G) In your opinion, what role does the media play in local government?

    The media might play a more significant role in the local government of larger cities, but it isn’t much of a factor in the City of Amherst. Personally, I couldn’t care less what the media thinks. I don’t make my decisions based on how it will play in the newspapers.

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