What is it? Citizens vote to determine who holds political office in their community. However, in many cases, there are shortages of well qualified candidates along with many potentially worthy citizens who either do not seriously consider public office, or do not readily understand what it means to be a candidate. Many community innovators find that enacting significant changes often means engaging with policy-making in some way. Running for public office or advocating for candidates that support similar community issues are ways to produce meaningful change. Individuals can make change by learning about the political process, supporting like-minded candidates, or becoming a candidate for a county, town or city elected council, a school board or another policymaking body.
How has it been used? The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia has been helping prepare future leaders for office since 1993. The institute strives to improve the quality of political leadership, and thereby the quality of governance in general. To do this it offers an annual program where future leaders are trained in ethics, policy and campaigning over 10 months. Additionally, they offer intensive candidate training over a 4 day period that touches on many of the same issues in less depth. Graduates from these non-partisan programs have filled the halls of the General Assembly in Richmond and a couple graduates have even made it to the US House of Representatives. People like from both sides of the political aisle have come through this program and gone on to share their visions for the state at the highest levels. (Source: Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia)
-Check with your local and state governments for more information