Monday, February 26, 2018

Candidates: There's still time to submit a statement 'in your own words' -- but time is running out

Attention Cook County Judicial Candidates: Ever since the 2008 primary season, I’ve offered candidates an opportunity to have their own post right here -- a chance to get every candidate's 'front porch pitch' out to any voter who accesses this site. A few candidates have already taken me up on this for the current election cycle.

With early voting underway, voters are finding this page and looking for information about you. Your message can be here waiting for the voters when they come.

Here’s what you need to do: Send me an email (that's a link to my email address; there's also a link you can find in the sidebar of this blog) with your essay.

You may be wondering what you should say. I don’t know that there is any “right” answer. You can provide a statement of personal philosophy, the stump speech you’ve always wanted to make, your ‘closing argument’ to the electorate, or whatever else you think appropriate.

I’m not going to tell anyone what to say or how to say it. However, I would suggest, as my mother used to say, that you don’t make your own candle shine brighter by trying to blow out someone else’s. Tell voters why you should be elected, not why your opponent should not be.

Put your statement in the first person (be personal, use “I” and “me”) because I will run your statement as your statement, under your byline, by Sally Smith, by John Jones. I know some of you are paying consultants to help you craft your message and, with all the stuff you have to do right now, there may be a temptation to simply delegate this task. Resist that temptation: Get feedback from your advisers before you send me anything (especially if you're paying for it anyway), but let your voice come through in your essay. I know writing such an essay won’t be an easy task: As lawyers, we’re used to advocating for a client -- for someone else. It’s not as easy to talk about ourselves. But this is an opportunity for you to define yourself, rather than be defined by questionnaire responses.

If I don’t already have your picture, send me a head shot. I’ll run your picture with the post. I will not edit candidate statements. I’ll print what you send. (That’s why I need an email, to verify what was sent, and by whom.) To see what other candidate statements have looked like, click on the “In Their Own Words” tag at the bottom of this post and start scrolling down.

I will only put up one statement per candidate.

I realize some of you already have personal statements posted on your own campaign websites. If you ask me to run a substantially similar statement here, or even the same statement, I will do so. However, I will not pull statements from your site on my own. If you want me to put your statement here, you have to send me the statement.

Your time to get me a statement is running out. The bar evaluations are about to be released; I’ll be devoting a lot of time to getting those published here. Then I’m going to start putting together the Organizing the Data and that will pretty much exhaust all the time I have before the primary. (If you are unfamiliar with the Organizing the Data posts, click on the link in the preceding sentence to see the kind of information I will provide, where available, for every candidate. Among other things, I will link your personal statement if I’ve run it here. So get a move on.

I do not intend to impose any limit on the statement’s length; presumably you won’t want to compose anything overwhelmingly long. For illustration purposes, my word processor advises me that this post is about 660 words long.

No comments: