Podcast #224 – David Jenkins Runs a Successful Political Campaign for a City Council Seat
This week I am speaking with David Jenkins. David is one of the founding members of the Career Pivot membership community who has gone from running a realtors association to being a Small Business Development Center consultant before retiring more than a year ago.
David has a long history in city and state government in the area of planning and zoning. David started a blog last year called PLACESENSE – Information and discussion about the importance of placemaking and planning for our communities.
David recently ran for a city council position in his hometown of La Platta Maryland. I wanted you to hear his story of running a successful political campaign at the age of 72. David has grown so much in the last couple of years that it proves you can teach old dogs new tricks.
This episode is sponsored by Career Pivot. Check out the Career Pivot Community. Make sure and pick up my latest book, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life Third Edition. Now on to the podcast…
David Jenkins was 72 years old when he campaigned and won the position of city council position in La Plata, MD.
Why did he run?
He was always interested in urban development, planning, policy, and government. He also had gotten very engaged in the town by volunteering and helping the mayor at the time and city council members.
After a phone call with a councilman, the mayor, and others that mentioned David should think about running, he decided to put his money where his mouth was and jumped in.
To get started, David had to fill out two forms.
The first form was to indicate what office he was running for and to get 5 signatures from town residents with a notary.
The second part of the form was six pages of questions dealing with any conflict of interest.
Also, if there are more than two candidates for a position, it requires a primary.
There were three people running for this position so that triggered a primary.
Next, David had to campaign.
His first step for this part was to do a Google search about how to win a campaign as well as ask others (including the mayor) what he did successfully in his campaign.
He then created a Facebook page for the election.
On his Facebook page, he covered such things as why he was running for office, his passions for the issues, how he felt about the top issues facing the town, and who he was as a person.
He also started using Canva to developed signs and postcards which he’d never done before.
After ordering signs to stick in yards, he created a spreadsheet with people he knew. He then called all of those people and asked permission to put the signs in their yards.
And, every night he made an effort to post things on his Facebook page. He included articles about related topics and issues important to his community.
He also made sure to respond to any and all comments as often as he could.
Primary Day you can go in one hour before the election to inspect the ballot boxes and make sure they’re empty.
David voted and then camped out with his chair and signs and greeted the people as they came out.
Only about 200 people came out to vote.
In the Primaries, the top two get to move on.
David got to move on, as he was the top candidate.
There was what seemed like a huge 9-week gap until the May 4th election so David had to figure out a new campaign.
He ordered more signs, found strategic places to put them up, and asked more friends to put them up as well.
He continued to update his Facebook page and created little postcards to put up that told the new day for the next election – and then reminded everyone on Facebook to vote.
There were Zoom candidate forums with questions and answers. David was at ease during the first one because only 5 people showed up. However, by the third forum, there were so many people with questions that it lasted about two hours!
There were also TV appearances.
David learned many things through those appearances.
He learned he had to slow down his speaking, look at the screen, and when others were talking he needed to look at the camera.
He also could show no emotion when others were answering their questions.
David even learned how to hold a Facebook Live session. Even though no one attended, he could keep the recording showing on his page so that people in the future could see his face and hear what he had to say.
It was a very long day for David.
He voted first, then went back outside and set up shop for the day.
I was there all day and into the night meeting and greeting people as they stopped by.
Finally, at 11pm, a friend as well as the Mayor both texted him and told him the good news.
He had won the election.
Then … he wondered what he had done.
The Career Pivot Community
David is part of the Career Pivot Community. He had the support and accountability he needed from the group not only during this election process but also when he was originally transitioning out of work into retirement.
He truly appreciates knowing he’s not alone in this phase of life. Others in the group are going through the same things and have valuable lessons to teach everyone.
He also learned how to use the programs he needed to win the election.
He now is ready for the hard part of winning.
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