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Episode 6: BUSTED! Top 12 Myths About Running for Public Office

Alex Torpey March 31, 2021 8


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Rethinking with Alex Torpey
Episode 6: BUSTED! Top 12 Myths About Running for Public Office
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Join former mayor, municipal manager, professor, and consultant Alex Torpey as he briefly introduces the Special Series: On Running for Public Office, and investigates 12 common myths about running for office, such as myths related to balancing private/public life, public service being a thankless job, careerism in politics, and not being able to make an impact in the areas you care about.

1. 7:35 Myth #1: I have to belong to a party or be part of an existing slate or power structure
2. 13:48 Myth #2: I have to “sell my soul” or make promises to people that I don’t want to make
3. 24:33 Myth #3: I can’t run because people who run the government don’t look like me
4. 32:50 Myth #4: I have to be wealthy or know people with a lot of money – campaigns are expensive
5. 36:28 Myth #5: I can’t run because I don’t have any campaign experience
6. 38:48 Myth #6: I don’t want my private life to become public
7. 47:39 Myth #7: I’m an introvert or not an aggressive alpha personality, this isn’t for me
8. 50:24 Myth #8: You only get power over time, and I don’t want a career in politics
9. 55:42 Myth #9: I’m not qualified or experienced enough to actually be in office
10. 1:00:14 Myth #10: I don’t really like politics, running for office isn’t for me
11. 1:01:39 Myth #11: I won’t be able to make a difference in the areas that I care about
12. 1:04:22 Myth #12: People are mean and Local government, or public service, is a thankless job

Additional resources from this video:

Some organizations that may provide leadership development/coaching. Please note I am not recommending any of the following organizations, but rather providing a list to help you get started in your search. You should perform your own due diligence to understand if working with any organization, or person, including any of the below, is right for you and your values and goals.
* General organizations:
* Running Start http://runningstartonline.org/
* All in Together http://aitogether.org/
* Ready to Run – Rutgers
* American U – Campaign Management institute
* Sorenseon Institute (UVA) http://www.sorenseninstitute.org/
* Youth focused: (May be left or right leaning)
* Run for Something: https://runforsomething.net/
* New Leaders Council: http://www.newleaderscouncil.org/
* Left-leaning organizations:
* Launch Progress http://www.launchprogress.org/
* Right-leaning organizations:
* American Majority http://americanmajority.org/
* Leadership institute https://www.leadershipinstitute.org/
* Organizations that help women specifically: (May be left or right leaning)
* Women Count (SA)* https://womencount.org/
* Emerge https://emergeamerica.org/
* VoteRunLead https://voterunlead.org/
* Annie’s List https://annieslist.com/
* She Should Run sheshouldrun.org
* VOICES of Conservative Women: http://voicesofconservativewomen.org/
* Organizations that help underrepresented cultures and ethnicities: (May be left or right leaning)
* Catalyst PAC: https://www.catalystpac.us/
* ROSA PAC: https://rosapac.com/
* Maggie’s List: http://maggieslist.org/
* The Campaign School at Yale: https://tcsyale.org/
* The Collective PAC: https://collectivepac.org/
* Organizations that help LGBT individuals: (may be left or right leaning)
* The Campaign Workshop: https://www.thecampaignworkshop.com/tag/lgbt-candidate-training
* Victory Institute: https://victoryinstitute.org/trainings/candidate-campaign-trainings/
* Organizations that help veterans: (May be left or right leaning)
* Veterans Campaign http://www.veteranscampaign.org/
* Organizations that help people with disabilities: (May be left or right leaning)
* https://ncil.org/elevate/
* Other lists of similar organizations: (May be left or right leaning)
* https://ncil.org/run-for-office/

Check out all of the episodes in this free series:

  • Introduction and Top 12 Myths About Running for Office Busted
  • Should I run for office?
  • Can I make an impact in local government?
  • Starting your campaign
  • Running your campaign Overview
    — Communications and Digital
    — Fundraising
    — Organizing and Stakeholders
    — Field
    — Managing yourself and the campaign
    — GOTV
  • Election Day
  • Post-election day

You can find more at rethinkingwithalextorpey.com! Please subscribe for more or reach out – Are there additional topics I should cover as part of the series on how to get more involved in government?


This is a Special Series from Rethinking. Based on the demand and interest from people who want to learn more about getting involved and becoming more influential, or a decision maker, in government, I decided to create this free, nonpartisan, totally open tutorial. This may be valuable for those who are thinking about running for office, but need a place to start or don’t have access to these sorts of resources already. There will be more episodes on other ways to get involved.

This series provides an overview in the following areas:

  1. Should you run for office?
  2. How to start your campaign from scratch
  3. Running your campaign
  4. GOTV and Election Day
  5. Win or lose – now what?

Each section provides an overview of helpful information. It is not meant to be exhaustive, nor is it meant to be definitive – there are many ways to approach this, and there is lot more detail you can go into. But for those of you who may not have access to partisan resources, or wish to run outside the party/power structure (go you!), I hope this is a helpful starting point.

Do you wish I went into more detail in any area? Let me know! Visit rethinkingwithalextorpey.com or find me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or reach out by email at: alex (at) rethinkingwithalextorpey.com.

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Alex Torpey (Photo: Stephen Voss)
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Alex Torpey

From serving as mayor (non party affiliated) of his hometown of South Orange at age 23, a municipal business administrator, founder of a digital consulting firm, an emergency management director and volunteer EMT, and as a graduate level adjunct professor, management consultant, mentor and speaker, Alex Torpey brings together his uniquely diverse experiences to help provide us a platform to rethink the future of our communities, our republic, and ourselves.

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Bonus Interview: Former Boston City Council candidate Lee Nave

Alex Torpey March 17, 2021

Rethinking with Alex Torpey
Bonus Interview: Former Boston City Council candidate Lee Nave
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Join Alex for this bonus interview as part of the Special Series: On Running for Public office. This interview is with Lee Nave. Alex and Lee met while Lee was […]

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