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Posts published in “Day: October 21, 2014”

Reviewing candidates for style

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, a native of Kenya and motivational speaker from Boise, follows Idaho politics closely, but his evaluation of candidates goes beyond their views on the issues.

Kituku wants to know how a person connects with an audience. Does the candidate stumble over words? Speak without a script? Use stories and humor in their presentations? Show passion? Inspire voters?

Kituku’s standards are high. His opening prayers are better than many keynote addresses. He has written books, made recordings and conducted seminars on public speaking. He’d be an outstanding speaking coach for any candidate wanting to sharpen his/her skills.

But he doesn’t get a lot of takers, because most candidates don’t give much thought to presentations – the part that often closes the deal with voters.
Intellectually, everyone wants to put substance ahead of style. But style is crucial, especially for newcomers challenging longtime incumbents. Steve Symms was loaded with style and flash when he ran against, and defeated, longtime Sen. Frank Church in 1980.

Cecil Andrus won two big races for governor, at least partly due to his ability to connect effectively with audiences. Four years ago, Keith Allred had substance in his run for governor against C.L. “Butch” Otter, but few style points and was no match for Otter in the general election.

This year’s Democratic candidate, A.J. Balukoff, a CPA by profession, speaks with Sabout corruption in the Otter administration and lack of focus on education, but without gusto. Balukoff’s bow tie, which was used in his early television ads, probably didn’t help him, according to Kituku. “I tell people they should stand out, but that does not mean looking silly.”

Kituku says Otter is no great speech-maker; the older he gets, the more he tends to ramble. But Otter has not lost a step as far as his ability to work a room. Strong handshakes, beaming smiles and friendly laughs make him as likeable as ever.

“That’s what I mean about connecting with people,” Kituku said. “Mitt Romney had some outstanding ideas and values, but he was not likeable.”

Recently, I was talking with Democratic Senatorial Candidate Nels Mitchell, and offered some first impressions of his speaking style. I hear words coming out of his mouth, but don’t feel anything coming from his heart. He may be a hit with Democrats and those who dislike Sen. Jim Risch, but in politics, lack of heart and soul equals lack of connection with undecided voters. Kituku has a similar view.

“Forget that one,” Kituku said flatly of Mitchell’s style.

He’s no kinder toward Risch, who Kituku says comes across as angry. “He does not connect well.”
Mitchell, a career lawyer, would do well learning from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, another career lawyer who turned to politics. As a candidate, and in his early days in office, Bieter was “horrible” as a speaker. Kituku saw a marked improvement in Bieter’s second state-of-the-city address – speaking without a script, telling stories and blending humor into his presentation.   (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Dangerous synthetic drugs found in Boise (Boise Statesman)
Andrus urges White Cloud monument (Boise Statesman)
Large upscale downtown apartments planned (Boise Statesman)
Looking at Balukoff and his campaign (Lewiston Tribune)
Record-breaking coho found in Idaho rivers (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow allowing lots with tight access (Moscow News)
Reviewing Idaho House race (Moscow News)
New Nampa library will have same hours (Nampa Press Tribune)
COMPASS working on five-year transportation budget (Nampa Press Tribune)
A bunch of legislative forums today in Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislative candidates discuss issues (Pocatello Journal)
Minico students barred from lunch across street (TF TImes News)
ACLU jumps into Declo discrimination case (TF TImes News)

Property taxes in Lane will rise (Eugene Register Guard)
Merkley seems well ahead of Wehby in race (Eugene Register Guard)
Transient rooms tax yields more than expected in Klamath (KF Herald & News)
KF will get a Sportsmans Warehouse (KF Herald & News)
Last governor debate at Medford (Medford Tribune)
Student said SOU rally was misinterpreted (Medford Tribune)
Forest review: Residents want more use (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Drivers license issue backers rally at Hermiston (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton E Oregonian)
UO strategizes on its $2b fundraising plan (Portland Oregonian)

Were student asked to help teacher running for legislator? (Everett Herald)
County death investigator reaches $125k settlement (Everett Herald)
Gas prices dropping in Washington (Longview News)
Reviewing Clallam auditor contest (Port Angeles News)
Risk of child poisoning at shooting ranges, pt 3 (Seattle Times)
Commute in Seattle getting worse (Seattle Times)
Review foster family difficulties, part 3 (Spokane Spokesman)
Liberty Lake passes expansive rule on minors, pot (Spokane Spokesman)
Vancouver Council won’t address Clark charter (Vancouver Columbian)
AGs go after sex trafficking online (Vancouver Columbian)
Write-in for Pierce prosecutor doesn’t want t run (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima pressing for more airlilne traffic (Yakima Herald Republic)