Skip to main content

post-election reflections

This fall, I ran for election to my local Board of Education. All four Democratic incumbents on our board were up for election. Our campaign began in August and continued through November 7th. By the numbers, I

  • made 217 calls
  • wrote 150 postcards
  • knocked on 125 doors
  • attended 8 community events
  • wrote 4 Letters to the Editor
  • won by 3 votes
That last figure is what blew me away -- I will remain on our Board of Education because four people decided to get their ballots and vote. I know these folks:
  • a friend's mom who's critically ill, wasn't planning to vote, but got fired up about issues and decided to make her (& her husband's) wishes known
  • firefighters whom my friend's husband texted, telling them to vote for me 
  • a guy on my husband's basketball league who said it was hard to vote for a Democrat but he did it
While winning by a wide margin would've been nice, winning by a slim margin leaves me with important insights:
  • Every vote matters and counts. 
  • I was elected to represent all residents, including roughly half the voters who didn't vote for me, and I feel the gravity of listening to and acting on what all residents want.
  • Our electorate is divided over issues playing out on the national stage. Issues in local politics are unique from many of the issues playing out nationally. Communicating these differences and what we're working on locally is imperative.
I'm grateful that I get to serve a four-year term and won't have to campaign for myself during that period. Now that I've been through a campaign (I was originally appointed to serve on the board), I encourage anyone thinking about it to run for elected office. Consider whom your running mates will be and what kind of commitment they're making to the campaign. Those are the folks you'll rely on heavily for tactical and emotional support. Make sure they're people you trust whom you are proud to run beside. Make sure they're people who honor their word and show up when they say they will. Make sure they're people who will have your back. On your side, make sure you have the time to commit to campaigning (see list of activities above), to be a strong running mate to your peers. Make sure you're passionate about the position and why you want to serve your community. Listen to what residents say and meaningfully respond.

Even if the election outcome hadn't been what I wanted, I would have been satisfied. I ran alongside stellar individuals. I committed myself fully to the campaign. I grew in my understanding of what constituents are looking for and how to better serve our community. Thankfully, I get to take that learning back into my board role after the swearing in ceremony this evening.


Popular posts from this blog

Rare Disease Day 2024

Today's Rare Disease Day. There's sometimes a particular weightiness to life with a rare disease. All the appointments, emergencies, traumas, doctors, therapists, medicines, opinions, schedules and upset schedules. My touchpoint is being mom to my precious girl with Wiedemann-Steiner Syndrome  (WSS). You'd have to spend a day or week shadowing me to know what it's really like. Doesn't that sound alienating? As though you couldn't possibly imagine if you're not living it? Well, maybe. But think about a time of immense grief you've lived through, or a time when your world seemed to be falling apart around you and it felt like everyone else was completely unaffected. I suppose it's a bit like that. You might have thought that those around you couldn't possibly know how that experience felt to you. A couple weeks ago, I started keeping a list of all the extraordinary things that happened in my life due to my daughter's rare disease. I learned a c

Startup Day 676: MVP coming soon

Hunkering down and revisiting user data consumed much of my last hundred-odd days, resulting in a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Simply built using Softr and Airtable (with tons of gratitude for  INVANTI 's support), I'm testing the willingness of Disability Self-advocates and Caregivers to find and write reviews of providers they recommend. Of the 200+ pain points expressed by Empowered Together's community, 88% can be addressed by the online marketplace simulated in our MVP. Users get to recommend respite providers, social activities, and therapists they love. We're testing a shift from Word of Mouth recommendations to tech-enabled referrals and lead gen, leveraging the collective voice and purchasing power of the disability community. This progress energizes me as a founder. This could be the key to unlock support for families affected by disability. My narrative for a startup bootcamp's application summarizes it best: As Empowered Together’s founder, Sarah has a

Startup Day 703: MVP live...

It's official, you can visit  to see what we've been building! It's been a long journey to get here though this is really just the beginning. Yesterday, I reflected on why I'm doing this ( watch here ). I want to dive a bit deeper around the concept of creating the future I want to live in with my kids. I'm building a marketplace to connect families affected by disability with recommended businesses. I hypothesize that this will increase the rate of excellent customer experiences for People with Disabilities (PwD) -- 80% of their customer experiences are currently FAILURES! I also hypothesize that businesses will see the value in welcome PwD and society will slowly become more inclusive and accessible. Big dreams, I know, but that's the future I'm creating. On the personal side, creating that future would be meaningless to me if my kids and I didn't get to enjoy it together. That means it's equally important for me to engage