By Jessica Domel
Multimedia Reporter

Running for public office isn’t easy, but thanks to Texas Farm Bureau (TFB), the future leaders of our school boards, cities, counties, state and even the nation, have a leg up on the competition.

About a dozen people attended TFB’s Campaign Seminar in Waco in mid-September where they learned everything from deciding whether or not to run to choosing the right campaign logo.

“They’re learning how to evaluate themselves as a candidate and how to get constructive feedback before they make the decision to run for office,” Billy Howe, TFB associate director of Government Affairs, said. “They’re learning about the principles of being able to create a campaign budget and to raise money.”

Participants also learned how to pick issues they believe in that resonate with voters. Howe and the TFB state Legislative staff also shared tips for how to message those issues to gain voter support.

“They’re learning some of the basics about how to create a campaign strategy that basically will take you from your decision to become a candidate all the way through Election Day,” Howe said. “It’s really just a campaign 101 of the basic theories behind running for office.”

The seminar is offered every other year before campaign season kicks off. It’s available to TFB members and non-members alike.

“We decided that there was an opportunity to help develop our members who wanted to run for office and give them some knowledge to make that decision about whether or not they wanted to run,” Howe said.

To help possible candidates become more comfortable with the media and talking with constituents, TFB staff posed mock interviews and group sessions on topics important to rural and urban Texas voters.

“I just wanted to come to broaden my horizons and look at some political aspects maybe in the future,” Bennie Whitworth, Rusk County Farm Bureau president and TFB Campaign Seminar attendee, said. “I always think it’s good for people to learn more and see if they can be more a part to give back to the community.”

They also evaluate past campaigns for strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s been a lot of information that’s been good. Some good speakers, some things to come in and lots and lots of information to take in,” Whitworth said. “I think Farm Bureau does a great job of keeping up with the political atmosphere, and it certainly does a good job for us all to be informed as farmers and ranchers.”

The seminar was held Sept. 27-28.