This primary season is a point when many political aspirations are chopped off or get renewed, so it may be a useful point to pause and reflect on building impact in politics. There's usually a little innate doubt in this quarter about people who run for high office without having served, or at least run, for lower. It almost suggests, in some cases anyway, a disrespect and disregard for an important and complex line of endeavor. Sometimes people do run for higher office out of the box and do well; but those seem the exception, not the rule.
With that in mind, some comments from an open letter to Idaho congressional candidate Vaughn Ward from state Representative Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian. In it, Hagedorn recalled some comments he made to Ward when Ward was initially seeking support and gathering idea:
I clearly recall our conversations and when you asked for my advice and provided you 3 recommendations:
1) Join the Ada County Republican Party: This would have allowed you to better know the people that you would be working with, their thoughts and ideas that are needed to properly represent them and other Republicans like them throughout the state.
2) Run for a local office: This would have enabled you to learn how to manage communications that must happen between you and your constituents, the media and also the parliamentary procedures and rules that go along with working with the other elected members.
3) Don't overplay your military service: Almost 1/2 of Idahoans have worn a military uniform and are as proud of their service as you are. They know what their service taught them as well as what it did not prepare them for. Overplaying your service, no matter how honorable, risks belittling other's service contributions which is never appropriate. We all entered and served with the same desires of serving our country, the people of Idaho and our nation.
The points Hagedorn makes there, extended out to both parties and backgrounds in addition to the military, are excellent. (Ward, it has to be noted, basically ran afoul of all three, and has been paying for it; that payment may or may not include loss of a primary election he easily could have won.) When the next political cycle starts to crank in - and yes, that will be no so far away - political people of all stripes could give some heed to Hagedorn's advice.